Hollow Cylinder Tests on Boom Clay: Modelling of Strain Localization in the Anisotropic Excavation Damaged Zone: Special Issue: Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical Effects in Clay Host Rocks for Radioactive Waste Repositories

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  • Bertrand François
  • Vincent Labiouse
  • Arnaud Dizier
  • Ferdinando Marinelli
  • Robert Charlier
  • Frédéric Collin

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Boom Clay is extensively studied as a potential candidate to host underground nuclear waste disposal in Belgium. To guarantee the safety of such a disposal, the mechanical behaviour of the clay during gallery excavation must be properly predicted. In that purpose, a hollow cylinder experiment on Boom Clay has been designed to reproduce, in a small-scale test, the Excavation Damaged Zone (EDZ) as experienced during the excavation of a disposal gallery in the underground. In this article, the focus is made on the hydro-mechanical constitutive interpretation of the displacement (experimentally obtained by medium resolution X-ray tomography scanning). The coupled hydromechanical response of Boom Clay in this experiment is addressed through finite element computations with a constitutive model including strain hardening/softening, elastic and plastic cross-anisotropy and a regularization method for the modelling of strain localization processes. The obtained results evidence the directional dependency of the mechanical response of the clay. The softening behaviour induces transient strain localization processes, addressed through a hydro-mechanical second grade model. The shape of the obtained damaged zone is clearly affected by the anisotropy of the materials, evidencing an eye-shaped EDZ. The modelling results agree with experiments not only qualitatively, but also quantitatively.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-86
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Numerical modelling, Anisotropy, Strain localization, Boom Clay, Hollow cylinder test

ID: 199977