Coupled Membrane and Diffusion Testing of Active Clays for Barrier Applications

  • Charles D. ShackelfordEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Series in Geomechanics and Geoengineering book series (SSGG)


Highly active clays, such as sodium bentonites, are known to behave as solute restricting, semipermeable membranes under specific physical and chemical conditions. This behavior has important implications for practical applications, including a reduction in solute mass flux due to diffusion. After description of a method for simultaneously measuring membrane behavior and solute diffusion of active clays, the results of experimental studies using the method to test bentonite-based barriers are presented. The effects of effective stress and/or void ratio (dry density) of the specimen, and deviations from anticipated coupled membrane and diffusion behavior resulting from extending the evaluation to the limit where membrane behavior becomes nil are illustrated. The presentation should be of interest to those evaluating the use of bentonite-based barriers for waste containment applications, such as dense bentonite-buffers for high level radioactive waste disposal.


Diffusion Behavior Solute Diffusion Solute Restriction Sodium Bentonite Tortuosity Factor 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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