The Transport Properties Research Laboratory conducts research into the processes and mechanisms controlling the movement of fluids (gas, water and solutes) in low permeability materials using custom designed experimental apparatus. Research includes process understanding associated with single/multiphase flow and accompanied rock deformation, the behaviour of fractures and faults plus the development of tracer methodologies for the identification and characterisation of flow pathways.
The Hydrothermal Laboratory studies chemical reactions between fluids and rocks under conditions found in the top few kilometres of the Earth’s crust. It is an experimental facility that can reproduce well-controlled conditions to study reaction processes under in-situ conditions i.e. pressures equivalent to depths of 2-3 kilometres (50MPa) and temperatures equivalent to depths of 20km (400°C).
The Hydrates and Ice Facility has two research capabilities; investigating the behaviour of gas hydrates within sediments under conditions found in relatively shallow sediments in deep water, and ice-related processes such as those found in permafrost conditions. Research areas include gas hydrate dissociation within sediments and its impact on slope stability and global climate, alongside investigation of carbon dioxide (CO2) hydrate within sediments and its potential importance for underground storage of CO2. The facility can also undertake cryogenic scanning electron microscopy (cryo-SEM) and cryogenic X-ray diffraction (cryo-XRD) for analysis of cryo-preserved samples of hydrates or ice.
The Geomicrobiology Facility measures the processes and effects of microbes on contaminant breakdown, transport and containment in a range of geological settings. Specialised equipment is used to study the effects of microbes on radioactive waste disposal, geological storage and environmental issues of carbon dioxide, mineral dissolution and precipitation, groundwater quality and potentially hazardous elements in soils.
The Gas Monitoring Facility specialises in field measurements for a range of gas concentrations and fluxes in the near surface environment including soil, gas and atmospheric observations and those of the flow of gas across the soil/air boundary. Research includes geological storage of CO2, radon, landfill gases, volcanic gases and geothermal.