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What is bentonite?

Bentonite is a sodium based clay with its main mineral component being montmorillonite, mined primarily in the northern plains states. Bentonite expands when wet, absorbing several times its dry mass in water. When dried bentonite powder is mixed with water, it forms a colloidal suspension, having the consistency of a thick milk shake. Slurry walls, slurry trenches, LBEs, and drilled shafts are constructed by excavating under bentonite slurry. The slurry stabilizes the excavation and prevents it from collapsing, even below the water table.

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