The Chair for Waste Disposal and Geomechanics is associated with the Faculty of Energy and Management Science at the Clausthal University of Technology. As shown in the adjacent illustration, the Institute of Mineral and Waste Processing, Waste Disposal and Geomechanic is one of twelve institutes of faculty 2.


Independent of the integration of lectures, practical applications and seminars into the different courses and emphases of study, it is the target of the Chair for Waste Disposal and Geomechanics to provide the students with a deeper insight into the practical meaning of this field of study regarding the planning and operation of supply and disposal mines, above-surface and subsurface repositories, final repositories, storage, brine and disposal caverns as well as the planning and drilling of tunnels in consolidated and unconsolidated rock. Problems of primary concern are

  • The stability and usability of subsurface bearing systems (mines, caverns, tunnels, galleries, repositories),
  • The predictive simulation of long-term complete and safe sealing of deposited waste from the biosphere,
  • The impact of potential and fictive accident scenarios on the subjects of protection,
  • The mechanical stability of above-surface engineering constructions (banks, dams, strip mines, repositories),
  • The mechanical constructive planning of location-specifically suitable sealing systems,
  • The material (mechanical hydraulic) characteristics of consolidated and unconsolidated rocks, building materials, mineral dam and sealing material as well as waste.

Characteristic for answering and understanding of the above-mentioned questions is always the comparison of the bearable stress of rock mass, support and deposited material determined by means of laboratory and field tests with the stress regularly determined by means of analytical and numerical procedures under consideration of the interaction of support / rock mass (and also deposited material).

The laboratory and field tests, calculations and concepts necessary to answer these questions are taught in lectures, practical classes, calculation classes, seminars and field trips. In view of the complexity of the mentioned problems and based on idealized practical calculation examples and exemplary laboratory tests, the procedure concept for the mechanical constructive planning of above and subsurface bearing systems is introduced. In the form of theses, diploma theses, seminar lectures and financed project studies, interested students will also be offered the possibility to acquire a deeper understanding of the extensive hard and software tools for the predictive planning of bearing systems in the field of deposit technology and geomechanics, in order to gain a doctorate based on the acquired knowledge.

The range of study contents of the chair is transferred in the form of

  • Lectures,
  • Practical studies (calculation classes, laboratory classes),
  • Seminars (seminar lectures on selected problems, field trips) as well as
  • Theses and diploma theses.

Furthermore, there is always the possibility of making an individual or group appointment with a member of the scientific staff of the chair to discuss special questions on the content of lectures and exams. The course is set up as to fulfill the target of introducing individual calculation procedures and investigation technologies in lectures and practical classes of different contents and topics, where lectures tend to introduce the theoretical context, while the laboratory classes and calculation classes emphasize on the practical application of the theoretical approaches. The immediate application of the theoretical context to idealized practical examples shall on the one hand document the connection to field application an on the other hand counteract the understanding and application problems often observed in case of a separation of theoretical basics and practical exercises.

Which of the following classes are to be attended by the student, either compulsory or not, depends on the chosen course of study and on the emphasis. Please see the applicable examination regulations for more details.

Lectures offered:

  • hard rock mechanics
  • soil mechanics and earth statical analysis
  • tunnel statical analysis
  • salt mechanics
  • planning and construction salt cavities
  • natural gas storage in rock caverns
  • basics of above-ground disposal facilities
  • basics of underground disposal facilities
  • safty case in waste disposal
  • geological and geotechnical barriers
  • geomechanical exercises
  • mobilisation and migration of radionuclides

Research emphasis:

  • load-bearing behaviour of salt caverns (brine production, storage, waste disposal)
  • laboratory investigations (hard rock, waste, backfill)
  • development of design and saftey concepts
  • tunnel statical analysis
  • development of software for numerical modelling (FEM)
  • geotechnical safety analysis for above and underground disposal facilities

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