Geotechnical properties of Kaolinite contaminated with a non-aqueous phase liquid
Contaminated sites are found all around the world. In order to contain these contaminants, engineers propose capping the contaminated sediments with a sand cap. When capping these contaminants, the sand causes consolidation to occur and could cause a slope failure if the contaminants were on a slope. Investigating the properties of these contaminated sediments allows for proper analysis of a slope failure. The primary objective of this research was to determine the shear strength of contaminated sediments. Since soil samples from actual contaminated sites are highly variable and difficult to explain, the soil used in this research project was mixed and controlled in the lab. A mixture of Kaolinite, water and mineral oil (NAPL, non-aqueous phase liquid) was used for the specimens. Different oil amounts were placed into the specimens to create different scenarios. The different oil combinations included: 100% water, 100% oil, 90% oil, 70% oil, and 50% oil. All of the specimens were fully saturated, and the specimens that had less than 100% oil contained water in the remaining percentage. Consolidated Undrained and Consolidated Drained triaxial tests were performed on the specimens. The constructed specimens were subjected to consolidation stages ranging from 0.6psi to 29psi in confining pressure. The main focus of the study was on low confining pressures. After consolidation the specimens were sheared either undrained or drained. Both tests were utilized in order to see the difference in the pore pressures generated. Failure envelopes were developed for the different oil contents that contained three dimensions included the shear strength, the effective stress, and the pore pressure difference between the pore oil pressures and the pore water pressures. Also, the behavior of oil-dominated versus water-dominated was determined. Results from the 100% water specimens were comparable to previous data. The shear strength for the 100% oil specimens was higher than the 100% water specimens, but lower than the 90% oil and 70% oil specimens. The 50% oil specimens resulted in a great deal of variability on whether the specimen was water-dominated or oil-dominated. The main conclusion was that the Kaolinite had an increase in strength with the introduction of mineral oil.