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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Experimental study of the electrokinetic behaviour of kaolinite–smectite mixtures

M. Ben Salah A B , H. Souli A , P. Dubujet A , M. Hattab C and M. Trabelsi Ayadi B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Université de Lyon, Ecole Nationale d’Ingénieurs de Saint Etienne (ENISE), Laboratoire de Tribologie et Dynamique des Systèmes (LTDS), UM5513, 58 rue Jean Parot, 42023 Saint-Etienne, France.

B Laboratoire d’Application de la Chimie aux Ressources et Substances Naturelles et à l’Environnement (LACReSNE), Faculté des Sciences de Bizerte, 7021 Zarzouna, Bizerte, Tunisia.

C Université de Lorraine, Laboratoire d’Etude des Microstructures et de Mécanique des Matériaux (LEM3), UMR CNRS 7239, Ile du Saulcy, Metz Cedex 1, France.

D Corresponding author. Email: hanene.souli@enise.fr

Soil Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/SR16267
Submitted: 6 October 2016  Accepted: 4 April 2017   Published online: 4 May 2017

Abstract

The evolution of the behaviour of kaolinite–smectite mixtures was studied using mechanical and electrokinetic tests. Oedometric tests showed that the compression index of the mixtures increases with increasing smectite percentage and that the curves feature a double slope in the [log σv,e] (where σv is the vertical mechanical stress and e is the void ratio) coordinate system when the percentage of smectite is strictly higher than 25%. Electrokinetic tests show that, of smectite the electrical conductivity and electro-osmotic flow tend towards that of the smectite. Measurements performed after the electrokinetic tests showed that the pH and conductivity are constant when the amount of smectite is lower than 25%. For higher smectite content, acidification of the medium is not totally obtained and the electrical conductivity is higher near the anode because of the slow diffusion of H+ ions in the structure. The tests also highlight that the electro-osmotic permeability is affected by the hydraulic permeability, although the variation in electro-osmotic permeability remains small compared with that of hydraulic permeability.

Additional keywords: electrical conductivity, electro-osmotic flow, pH.


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