PhD. thesis: Chemical and mechanical coupling during the hydration of bentonite at high temperature

In the framework of nuclear waste disposal, the hydrological, mineralogical and mechanical behavior of bentonite, when exposed to high temperatures (100 to 150°C) is a major scientific issue. To tackle this scientific issue, the BRGM (Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, Orléans, France) and ISTO (Institut des Sciences de la Terre d'Orléans) offer a Ph.D. position, within the EURAD Horizon 2020 European project, which unite the main European actors of nuclear waste geological storage.

The purpose of the Ph.D. is to assess the overpressure generated by swelling clays when hydrated at high temperature (?100°C). These overpressure result from water-mineral interactions at different scales, from interlayer space within smectite crystallite to pore space between clay aggregates. We will tackle these mechanical and chemical issues using a combined approach of experiments and modelling. Bentonite hydration experiments will consist in monitoring the swelling pressure while following the bentonite pore microstructure evolution over the experiment using nano-tomography and X-ray diffraction techniques. These experiments will be interpreted using numerical codes integrating chemical interactions and mineralogical reactions.

The student should have a master degree in Earth Sciences or geomechanics, with a background in geochemistry and geomechanics, and willing to strengthen his/her expertise in these topics during the Ph.D.. The candidate should be motivated by research work in the lab and by modelling approach. He/she should be independent in his/her work and have a rigorous approach of scientific issues. Fluent english is necessary to publish his/her results in international publications.

Please send your application with a curriculum vitae, a one page statement of research interests, Master academic transcript and rank and names and contact details of three potential references.

Contacts: Joachim TREMOSA ( ; Stéphane GABOREAU ( ; Hugues RAIMBOURG (

published: 20 March 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.