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Experiments were conducted to study the effect of desiccation on backfill materials consisting of a sodium bentonite, kaolinite, and sand. The permeant consisted of water, aniline, phenol, and hydrochloric acid solutions. Soil specimens subjected to drying and wetting cycles snowed considerable cracking. The largest cracks were formed with phenol and the smallest with water. With increased kaolinite contents, the width and frequency of the cracks decreased. No cracks were formed with hydrochloric acid. The tests on cracked specimens indicated higher initial permeability which decreased with time and reached the same order of magnitude as uncracked specimens. Essentially all the cracks closed during the permeability tests. In the field, cracks are not likely to close and permeability is inclined to remain high or even increase if the soil in the cracks erodes.
permeability, flexible wall cell, backfill, kaolinite, bentonite, swelling, cracking, contaminants, desiccation
Professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ
Project Engineer, Peregrine Building Corp., West Peterson, NJ