An Experimental Microstructural Characterization of High-quality, Load-preserved Fabric 1-D Consolidated Kaolinite Samples
E3S Web of Conferences
This paper describes a microstructural characterizations of high-quality, load-preserved fabric 1-D consolidated kaolinite samples, which covers from the beginning stage of clay sample preparation to the final stage of the microstructural analyses. To achieve this goal, a tailor-made oedometer is produced using the 3-D printing technique. First, a uniform kaolinite sample is prepared from a slurry state and then positioned into the 3-D printed oedometer for 1-D consolidation tests. Then,
... tests. Then, together with the applied loadings, the whole oedometer containing the consolidated kaolinite sample is submerged into the liquid nitrogen. This aims for preparing the dry sample by freeze drying, and at the same time, preserving the fabric associations for the subsequent microstructural characterizations. Afterwards, the sample is cut in half while frozen. An observation plane along the centre with the morphological information preserved is used for the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses, and the remaining section is undergone the mercury intrusion porosimetry to obtain complementary information on the pore-size distribution. By ensuring the position and orientation of the SEM images taken, the number of SEM images, as well as the amount of particles and voids identified are maximized to enhance the statistical representation of the analysed results. In each sample, at least 3000 particles are identified, and the voids are segmented using proper binary images, of which their irregular shapes are further described using an equivalent ellipse. Fabric tensors are used to quantify the directional behaviour of the voids and particles. In addition, the shape evolution of the pores is examined to further understand the associated deformation mechanism. These comprehensive analyses provides quantitative evidences that the loading response of clay under 1-D consolidation is mainly governed by the inter-aggregate pores.