Performance of Soil-Bentonite Cutoff Wall considering Defects and Formation of Bentonite Cake

  • Nguyen, The Bao (School of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Korea University) ;
  • Lee, Chul-Ho (School of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Korea University) ;
  • Lim, Jee-Hee (School of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Korea University) ;
  • Jeoung, Jae-Hyeung (Underground Structure Research Division, KICT) ;
  • Choi, Hang-Seok (School of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Korea University)
  • Published : 2010.09.09

Abstract

Soil-bentonite cutoff walls are widely recognized to be the effective barrier for containment of wastes and groundwater. Bentonite cake is usually found remaining on the trench surface due to the use of bentonite slurry during the excavation for the cutoff wall construction. Defects also inevitably take place due to the inappropriate construction procedures or improperly mixed soil-bentonite backfill. The defects include insufficient keys and windows in the soilbentonite cutoff wall. In this study, the performance of the soil-bentonite cutoff wall is evaluated based on the flow rates through the wall. Three-dimensional numerical models were applied to simulate the groundwater flow through the soil-bentonite cutoff walls of typical geometries with consideration of the defects and bentonite cake. Results of the simulations showed that the bentonite cake has no effect in the insufficient key cases. In the keyed wall cases, the bentonite cake with very low hydraulic conductivity significantly impedes the flow of groundwater through the wall. The presence of the bentonite cake not only compromises the window defect but also renders the wall construction more effective in blocking the groundwater flow. These findings show the significance of the bentonite cake in a soil-bentonite cutoff wall construction.

Acknowledgement

Supported by : Korea Research Foundation