Temperature Monitoring and Strength Testing during Construction of a Cement Bentonite Slurry Cut-Off Wall

A cement bentonite slurry cut-off wall was constructed within a subsurface alluvial channel in Northern Alberta, Canada. The wall was composed of a mixture of Portland cement, blast furnace slag and bentonite, to produce a strong but ductile, low permeability cut-off barrier. During the slurry mix design process an analysis of the effect of using cold water and curing the samples at similar cold temperatures was conducted. The laboratory program found that the cold conditions decreased the rate of slurry strength increase. Therefore, detailed monitoring of the in-situ slurry temperature as it cured was undertaken and enabled slurry samples to be stored at temperatures which mimicked the slurry temperature of the wall as it cured. This temperature monitoring and controlled storage process provided lower strength results than standard ambient temperature testing and may represent more realistic slurry growth gains in the field. Although delays were encountered to allow for slurry strengths to be achieved, field based temperature and slurry strength studies successfully enabled construction to proceed in an active mine environment.

Lea, J., M. Richardson, B. Stephens and R. Cameron. 2013. “Temperature Monitoring and Strength Testing during Construction of a Cement Bentonite Slurry Cut-Off Wall,” in: GeoMontreal, Geoscience for Sustainability, 66th Canadian Geotechnical Conference and 11th Joint CGS/IAH-CNC Groundwater Conference, Montreal, Quebec, September 29-October 3, 2013. Montreal: Canadian Geotechnical Society.

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