The swelling pressure of bentonite and sand mixtures
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AuthorSánchez González, Sandra
The compacted bentonites are used as buffer and backfill materials for engineering barriers for high-level nuclear waste repositories located underground. For this purpose, it is very important to evaluate the swelling characteristics of this clay.
The swelling capacity is one of the most important properties of the bentonite clay. The swelling behaviour is due two mechanisms, the crystalline swelling and the osmotic swelling. These mechanisms produce an increase in the distance between the layers of montmorillonite which is one component of bentonite.
The result of the swelling capacity is the swelling pressure. It has been studied in several investigations. The results of experimental tests have been collected and compared in this thesis, considering only the Na-dominant bentonite and sand and distilled water as test solution.
The experimental tests show that there is only an unique relation between different bentonites in the Na-dominant bentonite and sand mixture swollen depending on its final dry density. Also, the relation between the swelling pressure and the clay void ratio shows the mechanism of the swelling pressure.
On the other hand, a mechanistic model is used to predict the swelling pressure of fully saturated bentonite and sand mixture in distilled water. Firstly, it has been compared with the results of experimental tests and it should be pointed out that the model gives good predictions.
In addition, the model has been used to make sensitivity analysis with different parameters of bentonite. The most important conclusions in this section show that the swelling pressure mainly depends on the distance among particles. Also, the sensitivity analyses indicate which parameters should be fitted more carefully for future studies to validate this model with different bentonites.