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Characterization of water retention, compressibility and swelling properties of a pellet/powder bentonite mixture

Abstract : The water retention, compressibility and swelling properties of a pellet/powder bentonite mixture were investigated in the laboratory. The water retention capacity was determined under constant-volume condition using a specially designed cell allowing vapor exchange in all directions; suction controlled oedometer tests were carried out for the compressibility investigation; both constant-volume and swell-consolidation methods were applied for the swelling pressure determination. The vapor equilibrium technique was used for suction control. Comparable results were found for the water retention capacity of the pellet/powder mixture determined under constant-volume condition and one single pellet under free swelling condition for suctions higher than 4 MPa, suggesting that the suction was mainly controlled by the micro-pores inside the pellets/powder grains and the swelling of the clay particles was accommodated by the existing macro-pores. On the contrary, at lower suctions, the constant-volume conditions gave rise to a lower water retention capacity for the mixture, indicating the restricted clay particle swelling after the filling-up of the existing macro-pores. Oedometer compression curves revealed a different behavior for low and high suctions: at high suctions, the volume change behavior was governed by the pellets rearrangement combined with possible pellets crushing upon loading. By contrast, at low suctions, the mixture lost its initial granular structure during suction decrease; thus, the volume change behavior became similar to that of compacted bentonite. Compared to compacted bentonite, the pellet/powder mixture showed a lower yield stress. A lower value of swelling pressure was found with the constant-volume method, confirming the limitation of the swell-consolidation method in determining soil swelling pressure.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01982177
Contributor : Yu-Jun Cui <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 2:43:45 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 5:10:06 PM

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Agustín Molinero Guerra, Yu-Jun Cui, Yong He, Pierre Delage, Nadia Mokni, et al.. Characterization of water retention, compressibility and swelling properties of a pellet/powder bentonite mixture. Engineering Geology, Elsevier, 2019, 248, pp.14-21. ⟨10.1016/j.enggeo.2018.11.005⟩. ⟨hal-01982177⟩

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