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3D-microstructure analysis of compacted Na- and Cs-montmorillonites with nanofocus X-ray computed tomography and correlation with macroscopic transport properties

Takahashi, Hiroaki*; Tachi, Yukio

Microstructural and mass transport properties of compacted Na- and Cs-montmorillonites with different swelling properties were investigated by combining 3D microstructure analysis using nanofocus X-ray CT and diffusion measurement of HDO. The X-ray CT observations indicated that macropores in the dry state of compacted Na-montmorillonite are filled with gel phases, and the grain sizes of clay particles shifted toward smaller values through the saturation and swelling processes. By contrast, no gel phase and no decrease in the grain and pore volumes were observed for saturated Cs-montmorillonite. The geometrical factors of the macropores including tortuosity and geometric constrictivity of saturated Cs-montmorillonite determined by the X-ray CT was consistent with the corresponding values derived in the HDO diffusion test. In the case of Na-montmorillonite, the larger differences between the geometric factors evaluated by the X-ray CT and the diffusion tests can be explained by the electrostatic constrictivity factor and the additional geometrical factors in gel phase and interlayer that are smaller than the detection limit of the X-ray CT.

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