Effects of the initial granular structure of clay sealing materials on their swelling properties: experiments and DEM simulations

Benjamin Darde, Anh Minh Tang, Jean-Noël Roux, Patrick Dangla, Jean-Michel Pereira, Jean Talandier, Minh Ngoc Vu, R. Garbil, C. Davies, D. Diaconu
2020 EPJ Nuclear Sciences & Technologies  
Pellet-based expansive clay materials are considered as a sealing material for closing the galleries in radioactive waste disposal concepts. In repository conditions, the granular mixture progressively homogenises upon hydration by the host rock pore water. The present study focuses on the material behaviour before homogenisation. A grain-scale experimental characterisation is first performed in the laboratory. A model describing the hydromechanical behaviour of a pellet is proposed based on
more » ... experimental results. Then, suction-controlled swelling pressure tests are performed in the laboratory. Using Discrete Element Method (DEM) and the model proposed for a single pellet, the tests are successfully simulated. It is highlighted that (i) the swelling pressure evolves in two phases in the investigated suction range, controlled by the granular structure of the mixture; (ii) wall effects at the laboratory scale affects the material response; (iii) measurement variability associated to the sensor diameter is non-negligible; (iv) DEM is a valuable tool able to provide insight into the material behaviour.
doi:10.1051/epjn/2019059 fatcat:qyrmubhc6bhnpa7o375kqoqvmi