Compacted bentonite is the main candidate for buffer material in several plans for spent nuclear fuel repositories. One of its important properties is high swelling capacity, which is caused by interaction between water molecules and exchangeable cations. This interaction makes bentonite behave differently from capillary materials. In this article, a model for thermo-hydro-mechanical state of partially water saturated bentonite is presented. It couples the water retention and swelling properties with introduction of the swelling factor in effective strain. The Helmholz energy density determines the state with a relatively small set of independent parameters: swelling pressure, swelling factor, maximum confined water content and the reference state. The model parameters are determined from experimental data for FEBEX bentonite, and as a simple consistency check, confined suction curves are calculated and compared to test results. Consistency of the model with observations on nano- and microscale of bentonite is also discussed.
- continuum thermodynamics,
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