Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 1097–1109 | Cite as

Effect of Stern-layer on the compressibility behaviour of bentonites

  • Snehasis TripathyEmail author
  • Ramakrishna Bag
  • Hywel R. Thomas
Research Paper


The Stern theory as applicable to interacting parallel clay platelet systems was used to study the compressibility behaviour of bentonites. For a constant surface electrical potential, the distribution of the total electrical charge among the Stern-layer and the Gouy-layer was found to have significant influence on the electrical potential at the midplane between clay platelets. Consideration of the Stern-layer was found to reduce the repulsive pressure or the swelling pressure between clay platelets at large platelet spacing, whereas the repulsive pressure increased significantly when the interacting Gouy-layers were pushed aside. A far greater repulsive pressure was noted for Ca-bentonite than that occurred for Na-bentonite at a platelet distance close to 1.0 nm. Similarly, strong interaction between clay platelets was noted due to suppressed Gouy-layers when the bulk fluid concentration was increased. The repulsive pressure generated due to the overlapping of the Stern-layers was found to be sensitive to changes in the specific adsorption potential, the dielectric constant of the pore fluid in the Stern-layer, and the surface electrical potential. Comparisons of the calculated pressure–void ratio relationships from the Stern theory and the Gouy-Chapman diffuse double layer theory with the experimental consolidation test results of Na- and divalent-rich bentonites showed that, in general, the Stern theory improved the predictions of pressure–void ratio relationships, particularly for pressures greater than 100 kPa; however, strong agreements were lacking in all the cases studied.


Bentonite Clays Compressibility Diffuse double layer Stern theory 



The financial assistance provided by Cardiff University for this research work is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Snehasis Tripathy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ramakrishna Bag
    • 1
  • Hywel R. Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiff School of EngineeringCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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