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Modelling coupled behaviour of a clay barrier at high temperatures

Sanchez, M. and Gens, A. and Guimarães, L.D.N. and Olivella, S. (2006) Modelling coupled behaviour of a clay barrier at high temperatures. In: GeoProc 2006: Advances on coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical processes in geosystems and engineering. Science Press, Beijing, pp. 75-80. ISBN 9787030187505

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Abstract

The design of repositories for the isolation of radioactive waste generally contemplates the use of expansive clays as a buffer material. In field conditions the clay barrier will be hydrated under confined conditions and will also undergo processes of heating, up to maximum of 100 ° C ( this is according to the Spanish concept for the isolation of high level radioactive waste). Based on experimental data, models have been developed to explain and reproduce the observed thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) behaviour of expansive clays. However, unplanned overheating in a large scale test has provided the opportunity to analyze the clay barrier under conditions quite different from the design ones. A THM formulation and constitutive model have been used to describe and reproduce the main aspects of the observed response of the clay barrier. The analysis provides a unique opportunity to test our current understanding of compacted expansive clay behaviour at temperatures not previously reached.