Geosynthetics June/July 2021 - 40

By Barbara J. Connett
HDPE Geomembranes provide a low permeability barrier between contained materials and
the outside environment. The barrier function is related to the design life of the facility. Over
the past five decades, polyethylene geomembranes have been used successfully in numerous
waste containment applications. Performance is derived largely from the quality of the
material, good installation, and proper design. The purpose of this presentation is to clarify
critical issues with regard to polyethylene HDPE geomembrane manufacturing that are the
focus of ongoing discussions within the waste containment industry and contained in GRIGM13.
This generic specification, currently provides designers guidance as to specific values
and testing for mechanical, physical, and endurance properties required for performance, as
published by GSI on its website,
Although the geomembrane containment industry is mature, there still exists (and most
probably always will) several quality issues related to the long-term performance of
geomembranes. The fact that HDPE polyethylene geomembranes have become somewhat
standard for environmental containment projects, the issues presented in this paper consider
only polyethylene geomembranes.
In addtion to a review of the properties within GRI-GM13, this presentation will illustrate two
case histories of exhumed geomembranes beneath MSW subtitle D landfills. The
geomembranes taken from these landfills have been in service for the over 20 years insitu.
Both of the liners were exhumed due to a lateral expansion at the site. The owner plans to tie
the new cell's constiuction into the existing liner system. Hence the opportunity arose to
exhume a section of smooth and textured 1.5 mm (60 mil) HDPE geomembranes from the
two sites. These geomembranes that were in service since their installation and were
experiencing actual field conditions of compression, actual site temperatures and leachate
Feb. 22-25, 2021
Title: Case Histories Illustating How ASTM Test Methods are Used to Demonstrate
Performance and Compliance with GRI-GM13 Specification for HDPE Geomembranes
Geosynthetics Conference
proceedings archive expands
and announcing GeoNashville
Fig 1- Overview Photograph of Site #1
Fig 2- GM sample being taken from Site #1
he Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), the Geosynthetics
Materials Association (GMA) and Geosynthetics magazine are taking steps
to make geosynthetics education and research widely available to the industry.
The proceedings from all geosynthetics conferences published by IFAI (except
for Geotechnical Frontiers events) are currently available back to 2008 (including
the proceedings from GeoAmericas 2008), and those proceedings will soon
include papers all the way back to 1982 (the 2nd International Conference on
Geotextiles). This means hundreds of published technical papers are available
on demand for downloading and printing at no cost. For more information,
or to view the proceedings archive, visit
2021 Geosynthetics Virtual Conference educational videos
It is not just technical papers in the archive either. With the switch to virtual this
year, all technical sessions at the 2021 Virtual Geosynthetics Conference were
recorded and archived. These videos will be added to the proceedings archive
for viewing on demand by the end of summer 2021. We will announce when the
videos are available for viewing.
Announcing GeoNashville: Geotechnical innovations,
renewed connections | Nov. 4-5, 2021
The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) and the Geosynthetics
Materials Association (GMA) are answering the need to reconnect face-to-face.
GeoNashville is a 1.5-day, all-plenary conference focused on the future of geosynthetics.
Program development is currently underway but expected to feature
several agencies and spotlight the latest material innovations. Tabletop exhibits
are also available. Check out for the latest
news on this chance to reconnect. G
Educational videos from the presentations at the 2021
Geosynthetics Virtual Conference can be viewed for free
Geosynthetics | June July 2021
The First Pan American Geosynthetics Conference & Exhibition
2-5 March 2008, Cancun, Mexico
The Geosynthetics Discipline: Achievements and Challenges
J. P. Giroud, JP GIROUD, INC., Chairman Emeritus of Geosyntec Consultants, Florida, USA
This paper presents achievements of the geosynthetics discipline and challenges facing the discipline. The paper
discusses the impact of geosynthetics on geotechnical engineering and shows that one of the main achievements of
geosynthetics is that they have pervaded most branches of geotechnical engineering to the point where it is almost
impossible to practice geotechnical engineering without geosynthetics. Then, the paper addresses the challenges facing
the discipline. Two major types of challenges are identified: education challenges and technical challenges. Regarding
technical challenges, it is recommended that researchers focus on behaviors that are not traditionally considered in
geotechnical engineering in order to use geosynthetics to their full potential.
The geosynthetics discipline has been developed around a family of products, the geosynthetics. This family includes
various types of products: geotextiles, geomembranes, geogrids, geomats, geonets, geocomposites (including bentonite
geocomposites and drainage geocomposites), geocells, geomattresses, geocontainers, geofoam, etc. These various
types of geosynthetics have a variety of properties. Some geosynthetics can convey liquid and gas, some are strong and
can carry loads or reinforce soils, some can retain soil particles, some are quasi-impermeable and can retain liquid and
gas, etc. A comprehensive set of tests has been developed to evaluate the properties of geosynthetics. These tests
include physical tests, hydraulic tests, mechanical tests, and tests to evaluate durability.
Having a variety of properties, geosynthetics can perform a variety of functions. Four (now classical) functions were first
identified for geotextiles: fluid transmission, filtration, separation and reinforcement. Today, it is known that geosynthetics
can perform more functions. Thus, geomembranes and bentonite geocomposites act as fluid barriers. Furthermore, there
are other functions that may be less obvious but have a growing importance as uses of geosynthetics become more
sophisticated. For example, functions other than the five functions mentioned above are performed in the following
applications: geotextiles used in road pavements against reflective cracking; geotextile cushions used to protect
geomembranes; geomembranes or geotextiles used to decrease or increase friction between two materials; geomats
used to provide erosion control through micro-confinement of soil particles; and geocells or geocontainers used to
confine soil or waste.
Since geosynthetics perform a variety of functions, they can be used in a variety of applications. It should be noted that,
in a given application, a given geosynthetic may perform several functions. This consideration is important when
designing structures incorporating geosynthetics. To date, more than 20 billion square meters of geosynthetics have
been used in several million projects. These projects were made possible because design methods specially developed
for geosynthetics engineering were available as a result of extensive research studies in the past three decades.
Good design and good research must be complemented by good materials and good construction. Geosynthetics
applications are successfully implemented in the field because the geosynthetics discipline has developed strict
procedures to address both the quality of materials and the quality of construction.
The quality of materials is first addressed by manufacturing quality control. The quality of materials is also addressed by
comprehensive specifications and standard test methods. From this viewpoint, international cooperation between various
organizations plays a key role. The quality of materials is accounted for in design not only through the properties of
materials as specified and as measured in standard tests, but also through the quantification of the effect of time using
reduction factors (for example, for durability or creep) and through the quantification of potential damage during
construction. Field tests for evaluating potential construction damage are becoming more and more frequent.
The quality of construction has benefited from a major effort in the 1980s to develop the concept and codify the practice
of construction quality assurance, in particular for geomembrane installation. In addition, equipment for monitoring
construction quality has been developed (for example, the electric leak detection technique).
Geotechnical engineers have played a key role in developing design,
testing and construction methods
geosynthetics. Clearly, geotechnical engineers have been instrumental in the development of the geosynthetics
discipline. At the same time, geosynthetics have had a significant impact on geotechnical engineering.

Geosynthetics June/July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Geosynthetics June/July 2021

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