ABSTRACT

Desiccation influences the complex conductivity of porous media with disseminated metallic particles. We expand the mechanistic model developed in the previous papers of this series to include the effect of saturation upon the complex conductivity of mixtures of mineral grains, pyrite, and pore water. During desiccation, the salt is assumed to be segregated in the liquid pore water; therefore, the conductivity of the pore water increases when saturation decreases. We have performed 14 experiments corresponding to 91 complex conductivity spectra. In these experiments, the saturation of the water phase is changed over time by desiccation. The resulting spectra are fitted by a double Cole-Cole model used as the fitting model. We also developed a mechanistic model in which the chargeability and the relaxation time of the low-frequency polarization are expected to change with saturation in a predictable way. We first characterized the properties of the background material made by an illitic clay material. We determine how the Cole-Cole parameters depend on saturation. The Cole-Cole exponent is essentially independent on saturation. When the chargeability of the mixture is dominated by the presence of pyrite, it becomes independent of the saturation but a small effect on the chargeability is observed at low pyrite contents. The instantaneous conductivity of the background decreases with the saturation in a predictable way. The relaxation time depends on the inverse of the instantaneous conductivity and therefore on saturation. This dependence is well-explained through numerical simulations made with the finite-element method. Finally, we analyze the complex conductivity spectra of two clay-rock core samples from the Callovo-Oxfordian formation in the Paris Basin (France). The spectra are shown as a function of their desiccation and explained thanks to the newly developed model.

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