Analysis of key thermal coupled factors in modelling of bentonite barriers
Bentonite is a material considered to be used as a component of a barrier in deep geological repositories for nuclear waste. Its behaviour is affected by temperature, humidity and chemical composition of water saturating its pores. Reproduction of bentonite behaviour in such thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) conditions involves extensive use of empirical and physical coupled relationships. This paper investigates parameters, which influence the bentonite behaviour in THM experiments relevant to the conditions in the repositories. For the study, a numerical investigation is performed based on test simulation computed with the finite element code Thebes (Abed and Sołowski 2017). A numerical simulation by Abed and Sołowski (2017) of a non-isothermal infiltration experiment (Villar and Gomez-Espina 2009) has been taken as a basis for the investigation. The results of this simulation were compared with a series of 7 other simulations that are set up by inactivating the selected thermally coupled variables, one at a time. Presented results identify the key parameters the simulation is sensitive to and provide insights on the relevance of the underlying coupled processes.