This paper reports the results of one-dimensional compression and swelling tests on an active marine origin clay heavily overconsolidated. The tests were carried out both on undisturbed material and on reconstituted material. Part of the reconstituted material was prepared with distilled water and part with a 1 M NaCl solution. A set of tests was performed by using distilled water as cell liquid and another set by using the salt solution. The results show that volume changes and swelling pressure are strongly influenced by the composition of the pore liquid as well as by the composition of the liquid the clay is exposed to. In particular, exposure to distilled water causes larger swelling than exposure to the salt solution. The difference is particularly high at low stress level, in which case physicochemical processes rather than mechanical processes seem to dominate the clay behaviour. This suggests that the large difference in water content found in situ between the upper layer (a few meters thick) and the lower material is probably due to osmotic processes of rainwater adsorption.
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