Wetting hydraulic functions and infiltration characteristics of bentonites: Influence of plasticity and compaction density

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Knowledge of water movement through unsaturated bentonite clays is important in numerous geotechnical engineering applications such as landfills, mine tailings, buffer and backfill material in high–level nuclear waste (HLNW) repositories. Theoretical infiltration analysis in these studies requires an estimation of hydraulic functions of the compacted bentonites viz. soil water characteristic curve (SWCC) and hydraulic conductivity function (HCF). Available studies on the estimation of hydraulic functions of compacted bentonites are scarce due to difficulties associated in controlling/measuring the suction over a wide range of saturation. Lack of independently estimated hydraulic functions of the compacted bentonites, further, limits the validation of existing infiltration models. Therefore, the main objective of this research work is to study the influence of soil plasticity and compaction density on the SWCC, HCFs, and infiltration characteristics of compacted Indian bentonites under the volume-restrained conditions. Four commercially available bentonites of different quality (i.e., plasticity) were used in the present study.
Supervisor: T V Bharat