Technical Report NTB 87-26

Final Report of the Borehole, Shaft, and Tunnel Sealing Test –Volume II: Shaft plugging

Shaft sealing by use of highly compacted bentonite was investigated in a 14 m long shaft in which two plugs were constructed with a central sand-filled central space for injecting water. A first reference test with concrete plugs was followed by a main test in which the plug material consisted of blocks of highly compacted sodium bentonite powder. In the latter test, the outflow from the injection chamber was only a few percent of that with the concrete plugs, which demonstrates the excellent sealing properties of the clay. The main effect was that practically no water flow took place along the rock/clay interface. The longevity of smectite clay in crystalline rock is sufficient to make bentonite plugs operative for several thousand years.