Evaluating the thermal performance of unsaturated bentonitesandgraphite as buffer material for waste repository using an improved prediction model Academic Article uri icon


  • Buffer materials that are used to isolate heat-emitting waste canisters must bear a strong thermal load and have good thermal conductivity and stability. This study investigated the strengthening of internal thermal conduction via bentonite sealing. An admixture of quartz and graphite accelerated the heat transfer into the host rock. Samples containing different bentonitesandgraphite (BSG) mixtures were prepared. The influence of the volumetric water content, degree of saturation, dry density, porosity, sand content, and particle size on the thermal conductivity of the BSG mixtures was analyzed by conducting a series of thermal needle tests. Electrical resistivity tests were conducted to examine the electrical resistivity of the BSG mixtures, and the dependency of soil thermal conductivity on the volumetric water content based on electrical resistivity data. The results indicated that the dependency of thermal conductivity on the volumetric water content was closely related to electrical resistivity. Based on the thermal conductivity inflection point as determined by the volumetric water content corresponding to the electrical resistivity inflection point, an improved seriesparallel thermal conductivity prediction model and the method to determine model parameters for the unsaturated BSG mixtures were proposed. The precision of the proposed prediction model was verified based on laboratory data.

published proceedings

  • Canadian Geotechnical Journal

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, X., Congress, S., Cai, G., Liu, L., & Puppala, A. J.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Xiaoyan||Congress, Surya Sarat Chandra||Cai, Guojun||Liu, Lulu||Puppala, Anand J

publication date

  • March 2023