What Is Bentonite Slurry?

by Frederick S. Blackmon; Updated September 26, 2017

Bentonite is a useful material in the creation of slurry walls, commonly used to divert the flow of groundwater in urban areas. Bentonite slurry is quite versatile and can be combined with stronger materials for several applications in waste management and urban development.

Identification

Bentonite is a clay phyllosilicate, usually found in combination with other materials and metals. When bentonite is mixed with water by a colloidal mixer, it forms an insoluble slurry that proves useful in construction and engineering applications.

Function

Bentonite slurry is primarily used to create slurry walls that impede the flow of groundwater. These walls provide their own counterweight by exerting hydraulic pressure against their support structures. According to the TekTracker website, the U.S. has thousands of slurry walls in place to control the flow of groundwater.

Considerations

Bentonite slurry must be properly tested for compatibility with surrounding conditions before being implemented at a groundwater site. The Portland Cement Association recommends combining the bentonite slurry with cement and other materials in certain cases. This helps the slurry wall maintain a low level of permeability and withstand chemical erosion.

About the Author

Frederick S. Blackmon's love for fiction and theater eventually led to a career writing screenplays for the film and television industry. While living in Florida, Blackmon began exploring issues on global warming, health and environmental science. He spent two years as a Parkour and free-running instructor as well. Now he writes everything from how-to blogs to horror films.

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