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Design of bentonite/crushed rock seals

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The use of bentonite/crushed rock mixtures to form hydraulic barriers has greatly increased in recent years. To obtain an appropriate composition for such mixture sealants generally requires extensive laboratory work. Bentonite content and gradation of the crushed rock component are two key parameters in the seal design. This study investigates the effect of crushed rock gradation on the bulk porosity and permeability of systems of crushed tuff particles. Five different gradations are selected from the literature. The bulk porosity of systems of crushed tuff in the presence of bentonite is examined. The Fuller-Thompson gradations yield denser particle arrangements. For mixture samples containing 15% bentonite by weight, the amount of clay accounts for only 45 to 56% of the weight required to fill the interparticle pore space. The bentonite occupancy percentage amounts to 65 to 80% and 75 to 86.5% for samples having 25 and 35% bentonite by weight, respectively. The water content of bentonite at saturation is reduced and the resistance to piping and flow of bentonite is enhanced by the addition of clay. To reduce the bulk porosities of the mixtures containing 25% or more bentonite, a compaction energy higher than the standard Proctor compaction is necessary.

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Ouyang, S., Daemen, J.J.K. Design of bentonite/crushed rock seals. Geotech Geol Eng 9, 63–72 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00880984

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  • Bentonite
  • crushed rock
  • permeability
  • piping
  • plug design