Laboratory experiments are reported that were aimed at assessing the physicochemical interactions occurring between chemically sensitive rocks and aqueous fluids. It is principally motivated by the need to assess the capacity of stabilizing a borehole drilled in a reactive shale formation by increasing the salt concentration of the water-based drilling mud. By analyzing the experiments within the framework of the Biot theory of poroelasticity, extended to include physico-chemical interactions, and by studying the parameters that are influencing the fluid pressure response in the downstream reservoir, we show the conditions under which determination of R from the maximum pore pressure drop is virtually independent of the specific experimental setup. In fact, we show that the equivalence of R and the membrane efficiency hinges on the existence of an intermediate time asymptotic solution of the experiment, linked to a separation of time scales. A combined experimental and theoretical workflow dedicated to the assessment of shale/drilling fluid interactions has been developed in order to improve: (i) the experimental setup used in the laboratory; (ii) the experimental protocol for running the pressure transmission stages; and (iii) the quantitative interpretation of the output experimental data in terms of well-defined reactivity parameters.


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