The measuring instruments in and around the PRACLAY gallery measure not just temperature, but also water pressure in the clay pores, total pressure and the clay’s chemical properties.
To install these sensors, boreholes were drilled into the clay, sometimes as much as 45 metres deep, from inside the underground laboratory. The instruments are connected to the laboratory via thin cables, and the measurements are recorded and transferred to the surface for processing. Scientists then use these measurements under semi-realistic conditions to validate, fine-tune and – if necessary – improve their models of clay behaviour.
Click here to find out about what will happen after the heating phase of the PRACLAY experiment.