Diffusion in Crystalline Rocks


Laboratory experiments to determine the sorption and the rate of diffusion of cesium and strontium in pieces of granite have been performed. The effective diffusivity, Dp · εp was found to be 1-2 · 10−12 m2/2 for both cesium and strontium.

The diffusion of non-sorbing species in granites and other rock materials have been studied in laboratory scale. The non-sorbing species were iodide, tritiated water, Cr-EDTA and Uranine. In granites the effective diffusivities were determined to be 0.7–1.3 · 10−13 m2/s for iodide and 1.3–1.8 · 10−13 m2/s for tritiated water.

Electrical resistivity measurements in salt water saturated rock cores have been performed. The resistivity is measured in the saturated core and in the salt solution with which the core has been saturated. The ratio between these two resistivities has a direct relation to the ratio of the effective diffusivity for a component in the rock material and the diffusivity in free water for the same component.

The results from the electrical resistivity measurements and the experiments with diffusion of non-sorbing species are in fair agreement. The effective diffusivity for cesium and strontium (sorbing species) are, however, more than ten times higher than expected from the results of diffusion of non-sorbing species and the electrical resistivity measurements. This is interpreted as an effect of surface diffusion.



diffusion area m2


concentration in bulk fluid mol/ℓ, cpm/ℓ, mg/ℓ


concentration in pore fluid mg/ℓ


diffusion coefficient m2/s


effective diffusion coefficient m2/s


pore diffusivity m2/s


diffusivity in water m2/s


parameter in Freundlich isotherm


thickness or length of a piece mm


rate of transfer mol/s, cpm/s, mg/s


concentration in the solid material mg/kg


electrical resistivity in salt water Ωm


electrical resistivity in salt water saturated rock sample Ωm


time seconds, hours


length coordinate


exponent in Freundlich isotherm


constrictivity for diffusion


porosity of the materials


density of the solid material kg/m3




formation factor


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Correspondence to K. Skagius.

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Skagius, K., Neretnieks, I. Diffusion in Crystalline Rocks. MRS Online Proceedings Library 11, 509 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-11-509

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