Manufacturing of buffer components using isostatic compression method has been studied in small scale in 2008 (Laaksonen 2010). These tests included manufacturing of buffer blocks using different bentonite materials and different compression pressures. Isostatic mould technology was also tested, along with different methods to fill the mould, such as vibration and partial vacuum, as well as a stepwise compression of the blocks. The development of manufacturing techniques has continued with small-scale (30 %) blocks (diameter 600 mm) in 2009. This was done in a separate project: Isostatic compression, manufacturing and testing of small scale (D = 600 mm) buffer blocks. The research on the isostatic compression method continued in 2010 in a project aimed to test and examine the isostatic manufacturing process of buffer blocks at 70 % scale (block diameter 1200 to 1300 mm), and the aim was to continue in 2011 with full-scale blocks (diameter 1700 mm). A total of nine bentonite blocks were manufactured at 70 % scale, of which four were ring-shaped and the rest were cylindrical. It is currently not possible to manufacture full-scale blocks, because there is no sufficiently large isostatic press available. However, such a compression unit is expected to be possible to use in the near future. The test results of bentonite blocks, produced with an isostatic pressing method at different presses and at different sizes, suggest that the technical characteristics, for example bulk density and strength values, are somewhat independent of the size of the block, and that the blocks have fairly homogenous characteristics. Water content and compression pressure are the two most important properties determining the characteristics of the compressed blocks. By adjusting these two properties it is fairly easy to produce blocks at a desired density. The commonly used compression pressure in the manufacturing of bentonite blocks is 100 MPa, which compresses bentonite to approximately half its original volume, doubling its density.
|Place of Publication||Olkiluoto, Eurajoki|
|Number of pages||70|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|
|MoE publication type||D4 Published development or research report or study|
|Series||Posiva Working Report|