Online Database of Bentonite Experiments Published

As part of the Euratom Beacon (Bentonite Mechanical Evolution) project, Quintessa have compiled a database of experiments relevant to the mechanical evolution of bentonite that is now available on the Beacon website in a searchable webpage format.

The Beacon project involves 25 partners from 10 European countries including radioactive waste management organisations, universities and national research centres. The project has been running since 2017 with the aim of developing and testing the tools necessary for the assessment of the mechanical evolution and homogenisation of an installed bentonite barrier. Many radioactive waste disposal programmes plan to use bentonite in buffers, seals or backfills as part of their disposal concept. Therefore developing an associated understanding of bentonite homogenisation and predictive capabilities is key to building confidence in the long-term performance of bentonite barriers.

Quintessa have been involved in three of the Beacon Work Packages. It has participated in the modelling tasks of Beacon by developing thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) coupled models of different laboratory experiments and in-situ experiments, including the FEBEX in-situ experiment and a model of bentonite seals in Andra's assessment case. Quintessa has also produced two overview reports for the Beacon project: one summarising the initial state-of-the-art understanding of bentonite mechanical behaviour at the start of the project, and a recent report summarising the key knowledge gained in the Beacon project.

As part of this final report, Quintessa has also compiled a database of experiments relevant to the mechanical evolution of bentonite. This has been compiled using inputs from all Beacon partners and includes experiments undertaken prior to the Beacon project, as well as experiments conducted during Beacon. The database includes experiments on a range of scales (laboratory, mock-up, and full-scale in-situ) and those which explicitly studied the homogenisation of bentonite, as well as those which collected information on key THM properties of bentonite. The database provides key information on each of the experiments, including the type and form of bentonite considered, the variables measured, and the scale and duration of the experiment.

Quintessa's software development team have designed a user-friendly, searchable format to present the information. This allows users to filter the rows and columns, search for keywords, and export the database in JSON, CSV or XLSX formats. Each experiment links to a PDF with further information about the experimental aims, methods and key results provided by the Beacon partners.

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This project receives funding from the Euratom research and training programme 2014-2018 under grant agreement No 745942.