Chemo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of compacted Boom Clay: joint effects of osmotic and matric suctions
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An experimental programme involving osmotic and matric suction controlled tests is carried out to investigate the effects of increasing pore fluid concentration, chemical cycling (salinisation/dilution) and matric suction on the liquid retention properties, shear strength and volume change behaviour of Boom Clay. This Tertiary Clay formation has been thoroughly investigated as a possible host material for the disposal of Eurobitum bituminised radioactive waste (BW) in Belgium. Within this context chemical impact and partially saturated conditions are studied in a combined way to cover a wide range of in-situ states induced by underground construction, ventilation and diffusion of a large amount of sodium nitrate (NaNO3) (contained in the bituminised waste). Statically compacted specimens are prepared at different sodium nitrate concentrations or are exposed, at constant vertical stress, to sodium nitrate salinisation or pore water dilution. An aggregated structure with a double porosity network is induced on salinisation and subsequent compaction even at high water contents. An increase in pore fluid concentration enhances the aggregation of the microstructure and reduces the liquid retention properties of the material. Results of oedometer tests performed under constant matric suction and increasing osmotic suction show shrinkage of the sample, a decrease of the compressibility and an increase in the preconsolidation stress. Shear strength results have been interpreted using a single constitutive stress (average skeleton stress) to take into account matric suction and chemical effects on degree of saturation and on microstructural changes. A unique linear shear strength failure envelope has been obtained for the tests performed at different osmotic and matric suctions. The modification of the liquid retention behaviour of the material induced by salinisation has proven to be a crucial aspect for the interpretation of the obtained results.
CitationMokni, N.; Romero, E.; Olivella, S. Chemo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of compacted Boom Clay: joint effects of osmotic and matric suctions. "Géotechnique", Juliol 2014, vol. 64, núm. 9, p. 681-693.
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