Journal article

An experimental and constitutive investigation on the chemo-mechanical behaviour of a clay

Engineering issues for which the understanding of the chemo-mechanical behaviour of soils is relevant include wellbore stability problems, the sali-nification of groundwater and nuclear waste storage, etc. However, despite the vast number of situations in which couplings between chemistry and mechanics occur, the available constitutive models rely on limited experimental evidence. This paper presents the results of an experimental program on the chemo-mechanical behaviour of a non-swelling illite. The osmotic suction is controlled through the ion concentration of sodium chloride in the pore water. Stress paths include mechanical loading at a constant osmotic suction and an increasing osmotic suction at a constant mechanical stress. The experimental results point out a correlation between the osmotic suction and initial oedometric modulus, as well as between the osmotic suction and yield stress. A constitutive framework for soils is extended to take the observed chemo-mechanical couplings into account. The numerical model has been calibrated for the illite using the parameters obtained through the tests under mechanical loading at a constant concentration and validated using more elaborate stress paths. The presented experimental and constitutive investigation builds a basis for the assessment of engineering issues in which pore liquid chemistry plays a major role.

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