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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2016-42
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2016-42
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 08 Mar 2016

Research article | 08 Mar 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

Visualization and Quantification of the Penetration Behavior of Bentonite Suspensions into the Pore Network of non-cohesive Media by using μ-CT Imaging

Britta Schoesser1, Atefeh Ghorbanpour2,1, Matthias Halisch3, and Markus Thewes1 Britta Schoesser et al.
  • 1Institute for Tunnelling, Pipeline Construction and Construction Management, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstraße 150, D-44780 Bochum
  • 2LV Baumanagement AG, Banksstraße 4, D-20097 Hamburg
  • 3Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (LIAG), Dept. 5 - Petrophysics & Borehole Geophysics, Stilleweg 2, D-30655 Hannover

Abstract. Bentonite suspensions are an essential tool for different construction techniques in horizontal and vertical drilling, in diaphragm and bored pile walls as well as in pipe jacking and tunneling. One of the main tasks of the suspension is to prevent the surrounding ground from collapsing during the excavation process of trenches, drill holes or tunnels. In order to maintain the soil stability close to the excavation, the bentonite suspension has to counteract against the earth and water pressure. Therefore, the pressure acting in the suspension has to counter the groundwater pressure and to be transferred into an effective stress to support the soil skeleton.

The creation of a pressure transfer mechanism can be achieved in two ways. A direct relation exists between the mechanism of the pressure transfer and the penetration behavior of the bentonite suspension in the subsoil. The relation of the size of the bentonite particles in the suspension and the size of the pores in soft soil is decisive. In addition, the yield strength of the bentonite suspension is a determining factor.

Concerning the penetration behavior two theoretical models exist actually: formation of a filter cake and entire penetration into the pore space. If the pore space is smaller than the size of the bentonite particles, a filtration process takes place. Here, the bentonite particles agglomerate gradually at the entrance of the pore space and create a thin nearly impermeable layer. This membrane is named filter cake. If the pore space is larger than the size of the bentonite particles, the suspension penetrates into the subsoil up to a certain depth.

These models have a more theoretical character due to missing visual evidence concerning the interaction of the bentonite suspension in the pore space. Here, the micro CT technique delivers a valuable contribution to this research.

Britta Schoesser et al.
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Britta Schoesser et al.
Britta Schoesser et al.
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In summary, the µ-CT technique delivers a valuable contribution for the research on the interaction of bentonite suspensions penetration the pore space of non-cohesive media. This study shows the missing visual evidence concerning the theoretical interaction models of the bentonite suspension in the pore space on microscale. The Imaging results have been cross-validated with laboratory experiments and are in good agreement with each other.
In summary, the µ-CT technique delivers a valuable contribution for the research on the...
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