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Combined thermal and saline effects on the swelling pressure of densely compacted GMZ bentonite

Abstract : Sufficient swelling pressure of compacted bentonite upon wetting is necessary to provide long-term stability to an engineered barrier system under conditions of thermal gradient and variable water chemistry in a high-level radioactive waste repository. To investigate the combined thermal and saline effects on the swelling pressure of Gaomiaozi (GMZ) bentonite, constant-volume swelling pressure tests were performed on densely compacted specimens inundated with deionized water, NaCl, and CaCl2 solutions at 20 °C and 60 °C. The results indicate that high temperature and saline solutions decrease the swelling pressure. Crystalline swelling dominates the constant-volume swelling of densely compacted bentonite. For a given cation type, a higher temperature or higher solution concentration resulted in a lower swelling pressure. The decreasing surface potential and increasing osmotic suction with solution concentration both weaken the clay swelling. The effects of temperature on the swelling pressure are explained by the role of the lattice contraction. The degeneration of the interlamellar adsorbed water at high temperature weakens the crystalline swelling. The effects of cation types are interpreted by their difference in chemical activity. Ca2+ ions possess higher exchange capacity and larger hydrated radius than those of the Na+ ions. When densely compacted Na-bentonite is wetted with CaCl2 solution, the possible change of the interlamellar cations from Na+ to Ca2+ ions would promote the crystalline swelling. The osmotic suction imposed by CaCl2 solution may offset the role of the cation exchange to a small extent. The effect of temperature on the swelling pressure exceeds that of the cation types. For a given solution concentration, the specimen wetted with NaCl solution developed lower swelling pressure than that with CaCl2 solution at 20 °C, whereas the opposite tendency appeared at 60 °C. In addition, specimens saturated with deionized water and NaCl solution at 20 °C obtained insignificant difference in pore size distribution, whereas identifiable differences in pore size distribution occured at 60 °C. The combined thermal and saline effects on the swelling pressure may be explained by the role of the lattice contraction at varied clay structure. When CaCl2 solution is used, the quasicrystals contain more montmorillonite layers than the case of the NaCl solution. The role of the lattice contraction at high temperature is expected to decrease the swelling pressure to a greater degree in the case of the CaCl2 solution. The remarkable increase in the osmotic suction at high temperature and high solution concentration could also enlarge the decrease in the swelling pressure. These conjectures, however, still require quantitative interpretations via microscopic tests such as X-ray powder diffraction tests on bulk samples.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01982170
Contributor : Yu-Jun Cui <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 2:40:41 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 10:20:38 AM

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Yong-Gui Chen, Xin-Xin Dong, Xu-Dong Dong, Wei-Min Ye, Yu-Jun Cui. Combined thermal and saline effects on the swelling pressure of densely compacted GMZ bentonite. Applied Clay Science, Elsevier, 2018, 166, pp.318-326. ⟨10.1016/j.clay.2018.10.001⟩. ⟨hal-01982170⟩

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