Hydro-mechanical behaviour of bentonite-based materials used for high-level radioactive waste disposal

Abstract : This study deals with the hydro-mechanical behaviour of compacted bentonite-based materials used as sealing materials in high-level radioactive waste repositories. The pure MX80 bentontie, mixtures of MX80/crushed claystone and MX80/sand were used in the investigation. An experimental study on the swelling pressure of the bentonite-based materials was first performed. The results evidenced the effects of water chemistry, hydration procedure and duration, pre-existing technological void and experimental methods. Emphasis was put on the relationship between the swelling pressure and the final dry density of bentonite. Afterwards, the water retention test, hydration test and suction controlled oedometer test were conducted on samples with different voids including the technological void and the void inside the soil. By introducing the parameters as bentonite void ratio and water volume ratio, an overall analysis of the effects of voids on the hydro-mechanical response of the compacted material was performed. To get better insight into the seal evolution in case of technological void, the effects of final dry density and hydration time on the microstructure features were also characterized. Then, the hydraulic properties under unsaturated state were investigated by carrying out water retention test and infiltration test as well as the microstructure observation. The results obtained allowed relating the variation of hydraulic conductivity to the microstructure changes. A small scale (1/10) mock up test of the SEALEX in situ experiment was also performed to study the recovery capacity of bentonite-based material with consideration of a technological void. The results were used for interpreting the in-situ observations. With a reduced time scale, it provides useful information for estimating the saturation duration and sealing effectiveness of the field design. Finally, the experimental data obtained in the laboratory on bentonite/sand mixture were interpreted in the framework of the Barcelona Expansive Model (BExM). By comparing the model with the experimental results, the performance and limitation of the model were analyzed
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Qiong Wang. Hydro-mechanical behaviour of bentonite-based materials used for high-level radioactive waste disposal. Other. Université Paris-Est, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012PEST1170⟩. ⟨pastel-00806392⟩

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