Effect of alkaline solutions on bentonite properties

Ha Ngoc Anh, Hyangsig Ahn, Ho Young Jo, Geon Young Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of alkaline aqueous solutions on the properties of bentonite was investigated to evaluate the performance of bentonitic engineered barriers when contacted with alkaline groundwater. Batch and hydraulic conductivity tests were conducted on Na-bentonite using six different alkaline aqueous solutions. For the batch tests, almost no change in the montmorillonite fraction of the bentonite was observed after reacting with alkaline solutions (pH = 8.4–13.1), regardless of the solution type. On the other hand, aluminosilicate minerals (e.g., albite) were dissolved and secondary minerals (e.g., anorthite) were formed in alkaline NaOH solutions (pH > 13). The cation (Ca or Na) concentration primarily affected the swelling properties of bentonite rather than the pH of the solution, which was comparable to the results of the hydraulic conductivity tests. For the Ca solutions, the hydraulic conductivity of the bentonite specimen to the 0.02 mol/L Ca(OH)2 solution (6.5 × 10−9 cm/s) was approximately an order of magnitude lower than that of the bentonite specimen to the 0.02 mol/L Ca(OH)2 + 1 mol/L CaCl2 solution (5.0 × 10−8 cm/s), whereas the hydraulic conductivity to the 0.02 mol/L Ca(OH)2 + 1 mol/L CaCl2 solution (pH = 11.3) (5.0 × 10−8 cm/s) was slightly higher than that to the 1 mol/L CaCl2 solution (pHi = 8.4) (4.4 × 10−8 cm/s). For the NaOH solutions with pH > 13, the hydraulic conductivity of the bentonite specimen decreased with increasing Na concentration, suggesting that the effect of Na concentration was more dominant than that of permeant pH.

Original languageEnglish
Article number374
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Korean Nuclear Energy R&D program (NRF-2015M2A8A5021871) and the National Research Foundation (NRF-2017R1A2B4008238) of the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Panning, Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Alkaline solution
  • Bentonite
  • Dissolution
  • Hydraulic conductivity
  • Precipitation
  • Swelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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