The proposed use of crushed salt backfill to stabilize abandoned evaporite openings and to achieve sealing properties has necessitated evaluation of practical construction techniques, fundamental studies of micromechanical consolidation processes, and development of credible constitutive models. This paper summarizes recent developments in each of these three areas. A construction feasibility demonstration using dynamic compaction coupled with permeability and density measurements of a large compacted mass is presented, providing a unique baseline for salt seal applications. Groundbreaking experiments that quantify permeability as a function of density and mechanical response of consolidating granular salt are used to assimilate experimental results into parameters for the constitutive model. An understanding of the physical processes necessary to interpret experimental results and supportive predictive extrapolation is evaluated by microscopic techniques.
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