Publication Abstract

Proceedings of DFI of India 2015 Conference, Bengaluru, India, (DFI)

The Use of Bentonite in Underground Construction
Hector Simchas

Suspensions of bentonite and water are used in a variety of applications in underground engineering. For the construction of underground elements like slurry walls or piles, bentonite slurries offer support to the excavation of loose soils and counter pressure against hydrostatic pressure of ground water, especially where soil permeability is high. In addition, for the construction of tunnels by the slurry-shield method or when hydromills are used for excavation, bentonite suspensions transfer the loosened soil to the surface. In applications like pipe jacking and microtunneling, or where high revolution drilling is required, bentonite also provides lubrication and cooling. To fulfill these functions, the properties of a bentonite slurry need to remain stable, or at least predictable, during the course of construction. Unfortunately, when a suspension mixes with earth, ground water and/or impurities, its properties may be compromised resulting to reduced performance, which would in turn lead to increased construction costs and the risk of the excavation collapsing. Our experience in the lab and onsite is presented herewith.

 article #2186; publication #1015 (India2015)