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Network Modelling of the Influence of Swelling on the Transport Behaviour of Bentonite

School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G128LT, UK
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Academic Editors: Rebecca Lunn, Simon Harley, Simon Norris and Jesus Martinez-Frias
Geosciences 2016, 6(4), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6040055
Received: 27 September 2016 / Revised: 24 November 2016 / Accepted: 28 November 2016 / Published: 8 December 2016
Wetting of bentonite is a complex hydro-mechanical process that involves swelling and, if confined, significant structural changes in its void structure. A coupled structural transport network model is proposed to investigate the effect of wetting of bentonite on retention conductivity and swelling pressure response. The transport network of spheres and pipes, representing voids and throats, respectively, relies on Laplace–Young’s equation to model the wetting process. The structural network uses a simple elasto-plastic approach without hardening to model the rearrangement of the fabric. Swelling is introduced in the form of an eigenstrain in the structural elements, which are adjacent to water filled spheres. For a constrained cell, swelling is shown to produce plastic strains, which result in a reduction of pipe and sphere spaces and, therefore, influence the conductivity and retention behaviour. View Full-Text
Keywords: bentonite; swelling; network model; conductivity; non-monotonic bentonite; swelling; network model; conductivity; non-monotonic
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Athanasiadis, I.; Wheeler, S.; Grassl, P. Network Modelling of the Influence of Swelling on the Transport Behaviour of Bentonite. Geosciences 2016, 6, 55.

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