How AquaBlok Works

This demonstration – now affectionately referred to as “the bottle test” – begins to hint at the capability and versatility of AquaBlok. Material needs: (1) an empty plastic bottle with cap [20-oz. Gatorade bottles work best], (2) clean water, and (3) a 5-oz sample of product.

Step 1 Illustration

Add AquaBlok to the source of the leak

AquaBlok can be added through standing water, but for the purposes of this demo add the 5-oz. sample of AquaBlok to the bottle while it is empty and dry. 

In this example, the mouth of the bottle is the problem area (i.e. the source of the leak).

Step 2 Illustration

Add Water To The AquaBlok

Add water to the very top, cap the bottle, and quickly invert it to level the AquaBlok in the bottle’s mouth.

The self-compaction from the density of the stone fights the expansion of the bentonite to begin building a seal quickly.

Step 3 Illustration

Let Sit Once the Aquablok And Water are in Place

Leave the bottle inverted (standing on its cap end) for at least 6 hours. Full hydration can take 24 hours depending on water chemistry, but the vast majority of swell will take place in the first 4 – 8 hours after contact with water.

Step 4 Illustration

The seal is formed and no water will leak

With the bottle still inverted, remove the cap and note that you are dry and haven’t made a mess!

Squeeze the top of the bottle and test AquaBlok’s resilience and holding power. A reliable and durable seal has formed.

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Demo Tips:

  • Remove the label, rinse, and air dry the bottle before adding the product (this way particles don’t stick to the sides of the bottle before you can fill it completely with water).
  • Tap any individual particles that do stick so that they settle as evenly as possible on the material surface of the inverted bottle, mimicking an even coverage in the field.
  • Draw a line at the particle/water interface with a permanent black marker so that vertical swell can be visually measured.
  • Using the marker, note the date and time that water was added.

Useful Take-Away Observations:

  • Note that as the clay surrounding individual particles swells and hydrates the overall body of material expands beyond the original fill line. Also notice the in-filling of the interior void space between particles and the tight seal that results.
  • Note the ability to squeeze the water-filled portion of the bottle and the effort necessary to try to extrude the hydrated clay/stone composite through the bottle opening. (If you tried this with plain bentonite, be prepared for some clean-up!)
  • Note the individual stones visibly interspersed throughout the hydrated product (as seen against the sidewalls of the bottle and from the material visible through the open cap).
  • Note the flexibility of the product by pushing the sides of the bottle in, then allowing the bottle to return to form – AquaBlok “self-keys” to complex shapes (think irregular soils, structural components, corrugation on HDPE pipe), yet the material will never “set up” like concrete.
  • Note the texture of hydrated product (once accurately described as “very crunchy peanut butter”) by pushing on the exposed material at the bottom of the bottle.
  • When disturbed after hydration, note the suspension of tiny clay particles into the water. This is a result of unrestricted hydration from the top-most bentonite (not confined by stone as is the material below it). This is not an issue in deep water environments where there is minimal energy (wind, waves, current, etc.) working on the surface of the AquaBlok. It is also not a factor when AquaBlok is buried (i.e. covered with sand, soil, stone, etc.). This observation actually shows one of the shortcomings of raw bentonite; if left unincorporated with native soil and uncompacted, it does little to provide a consistent seal.

Download PDF Printable AquaBlok Demonstration Instructions

Download Literature on AquaBlok