(Received 15 December 1997; accepted 26 March 1999)
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Bentonite, commonly used for liner constructions in waste containment systems, possesses many limitations. Illite or illite containing bentonite has been proposed as an alternative material for liner construction. Their properties in different types of pore fluids are important to assess the long-term performance of the liner. Further, the illite-bentonite interaction occurs and changes their properties. The effect of these interactions is known when the pore fluid is only water. How their properties are modified in electrolyte solutions has been brought out in this paper. The index properties have been studied since they give an indication of their engineering properties. Due to reduction in the thickness of the diffused double layer and consequent particle aggregation in bentonite, the effect of clay-clay interaction reduces in electrolyte solutions. In electrolyte solutions, the liquid limit, the plasticity index, and free swell index of bentonite are lower than illite. The plasticity index of bentonite is further reduced in KCl solution. Clays with a higher plasticity index perform better to retain pollutants and reduce permeability. Hence, the presence of both illite and bentonite ensures better performance of the liner in different fluids.
Assistant professor, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore,
former research scholar, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore,
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