The swelling properties of buffer material for high level radioactive waste repository in a near-field environment are of particular importance for achieving the low permeability sealing function. In this study, the free swelling behavior of a potential buffer material Zhisin clay is evaluated under simulated groundwater conditions such as immersion in NaCl, CaCl2, and Na2SO4 solutions at various concentrations. Experimental results indicate that Zhisin clay, being a Ca-bentonite, exhibits reduced swelling strain in salt solutions. The amount of decrease in swelling strain upon saline water intrusion is affected by both the type and concentration of electrolyte. At the same concentration, the swelling strains in CaCl2 solution are lower than those in NaCl solution due to the quasi-crystals formed in the presence of calcium ions. Also, the swells in Na2SO4 solution are found to be lower than those in NaCl solution. This is attributed to the precipitation of CaSO4, which acts as binding agent and results in aggregation of clay particles.
- Geological repository
- Groundwater chemistry