At RSRCI, we believe that ongoing research and development is a vital part of understanding technical issues and current technology and new applications of technology to different sectors of industry. In addition to the development of state-of-the-art geohazard assessment software, our current research and development efforts are focused on identifying common issues and new applications of technologies from the nuclear, civil, petroleum and mining sectors.
Geohazard assessment for pipelines and other long, linear infrastructure is becoming an increasingly important requirement for major new green-field and existing systems. RSRead Consulting Inc. is engaged with several collaborative partners to develop state-of-the-art geohazard assessment software. The software incorporates key elements described in the 2008 ASME publication entitled “Pipeline Geo-Environmental Design and Geohazard Management” (Rizkalla, ed.), as well as project experience from North and South America.
Development of the software and associated data conversion and management protocols has benefited from the combined experience of Dr. Rod Read, Moness Rizkalla (via+), and others on projects in a variety of challenging environments. A full suite of geohazards and their relative influence on system integrity are being considered as part of the development project.
Fundamental research into rock mechanics and geomechanical behaviour for nuclear waste management has cross-over applications for other sectors, such as petroleum production. Some examples include:
- Studying stress-induced changes in near-field permeability around underground openings (boreholes, tunnels, shafts) to assess the implications for petroleum applications
- Exploring the limitations of mechanical excavation techniques in pipeline applications based on mining experience
- Investigating thermally-generated borehole breakouts in large-diameter boreholes in granite to understand the implications for petroleum applications
Fundamental research into soil-pipe interaction in permafrost conditions is required to account for environmental loading of pipelines due to thaw settlement and frost heave. RSRead Consulting Inc. has been engaged as a sub-consultant in numerical modelling of uplift resistance and associated geomechanical testing of frozen soils. Extensive work using FLAC (Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.) has been undertaken to model the behaviour of a pipe in frozen soil subjected to frost heave. There are similarities in this research and other work on rock shearing effects on containment system integrity conducted by RSRead Consulting Inc. for international nuclear waste management agencies. Further investigation of these commonalities is planned.