Over the past two years we have been developing a series of models of the dissolution of evaporite deposits, typically composed of two or more salts, in the context of solution mining, in collaboration with engineers from Rio Tinto. The work has focussed on the diffusion and convection controlled dissolution [Hatton and Woods(2007)] of such salt deposits, together with a series of laboratory experiments to model some of the controls on dissolution. As well as being of fundamental scientific interest, owing to the complex interaction of convection and phase change, insights from the research are being used to inform some of the principles of solution mining as applied in the field.
Hatton, D.C. and Woods, A.W. (2007) On the dissolution of a solid into a ternary melt. Proc. Roy. Soc. A 463, 1211-1229.