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The status of water in swelling shales: an insight from the water retention properties of the Callovo-Oxfordian claystone

Abstract : The Callovo-Oxfordian (COx) claystone is considered in France as a possible host rock for the disposal of high level long lived radioactive waste at great depth. During the operational phase, the walls of the galleries and of the disposal cells will be successively subjected to desaturation induced by ventilation followed by resaturation once the galleries are closed. To better understand this phenomenon, a sound understanding of the water retention properties of the COx claystone is necessary. Following a previous study by the same group, this paper presents an investigation of microstructure changes of COx claystone under suction changes. Microstructure was investigated by means of mercury intrusion porosimetry tests on freeze-dried specimens previously submitted to various suctions. Along the drying path, the initial microstructure, characterised by a well classified unimodal pore population around a mean diameter value of 32 nm, slightly changed with the same shape of the PSD curve slightly moved towards smaller diameters (27-28 nm) at suctions of 150 and 331 MPa, respectively. The infra-porosity too small to be intruded by mercury (diameter smaller than 5.5 nm) reduced from 4.3% to 3.3%. Oven-drying reduced the mean diameter to 20 nm and the infra-porosity to 1%. Wetting up to 9 MPa suction leads to saturation with no significant change of the PSD curve, whereas wetting at zero suction gave rise to the appearance of a large pore population resulting from the development of cracks with width of several micrometers, together with an enlargement of the initial pore population above the mean diameter. The concepts describing the step hydration of smectites (by the successive placement within the clay platelets along the smectite faces of 1, 2, 3 and 4 layers of water molecules with respect to the suction applied) appeared relevant to better understand the changes in microstructure of the COx claystone under suction changes. This also allowed to better define the status of water in claystones and shales containing smectite, with a distinction made between the water adsorbed within the clay platelets and the free inter-platelet water, involved in hydro-mechanical couplings through changes in pore pressure and water transfers.
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Contributeur : Pierre Delage Connectez-vous pour contacter le contributeur
Soumis le : mardi 15 mai 2018 - 14:51:10
Dernière modification le : samedi 15 janvier 2022 - 03:49:17
Archivage à long terme le : : mardi 25 septembre 2018 - 01:25:04


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Hamza Menaceur, Pierre Delage, Anh Minh A.M. Tang, Jean Talandier. The status of water in swelling shales: an insight from the water retention properties of the Callovo-Oxfordian claystone. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, 2016, ⟨10.1007/s00603-016-1065-2⟩. ⟨hal-01774681⟩



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