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Study of factors affecting the performance of geosynthetic clay liners under flow of gas and liquid in municipal solid waste landfills

Abstract : Geosynthetic Clay Liners (GCLs) are synthetic materials composed by a core of calcium or sodium bentonite, either in powder or granular, bonded to one or more geosynthetic layers (geotextile or geomembrane, in general). These layers are usually bonded by an adhesive, needle-punching, stitch-bonding or sewing. When hydrated and confined, they fulfil functions of liquid or gas barrier with their hydraulic performance depending in most cases on the hydraulic conductivity of the bentonite. Thanks to their low permeability to water and gases, GCLs are often used in municipal solid waste landfill applications, combined to compacted clay liners (CCL) or with geomembranes (GM) as part of both bottom and cover liners. Previous studies were conducted to investigate the most important factors that influence the gas/liquid flow rate through GCLs or composite liners. Although the nature of bentonite is so important in the permeability of the GCLs there is a lack of data in the literature regarding the influence of the nature of the bentonite on the gas flow through GCLs and liquid flow through composite liners involving GCLs. That is what this thesis aims at clarifying. Furthermore, in conjunction with the nature of the bentonite, the impact of the manufacturing process of the GCL on the flow rate and transmissivity at GM-GCL interfaces was also discussed. Two studies were performed: (i) investigation of the GCL permeability to gas simulating the covering conditions of municipal solid waste landfill; (ii) investigation of liquid transfer through composite liners GM-GCL-CCL due to a defect in the geomembrane, simulating typical conditions of bottom liners in landfills. In the first study, an apparatus recently proposed, based on the falling pressure method, was used in tests to verify the GCL permeability to gas. Three stitch bonded GCLs from the same manufacturer differing by the bentonite nature (natural sodium, natural calcium and activated calcium) were tested. The results showed that the gravimetric water content of the GCL necessary to attain a certain permeability value depends on the bentonite nature, which was not observed in terms of volumetric water content. However, other factors showed to be more important than the nature of bentonite in the GCL permeability to gas: the desiccation due to the gas flow can increase significantly the permeability, which compromise the GCL performance as a gas barrier. The second study focused in investigating the influence of the GCL characteristics in the liquid flow through a composite liner under bottom liners solicitations. Four types of GCLs with two different bonding processes (stitch-bonded or needle-punched) and different bentonites (natural sodium or natural calcium) were tested. The results obtained showed no significant differences among flow rate versus time in most of the tests performed, especially after steady-state conditions of flow having been reached. An analytical solution was employed to estimate the transmissivity of the GM-GCL interfaces. This solution also allowed predictions of flow rates and radius of wetted areas for typical configurations of composite liners in the field. The results obtained showed little influence of the nature of the bentonite and the predominance of influence of the presence of preferential flow paths between the geomembrane and the GCL surface on the transmissivity of GM-GCL interfaces and flow rates through composite liners.
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Contributor : Marianna Jacominy de Amorim Mendes <>
Submitted on : Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 11:34:52 AM
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Marianna Mendes. Study of factors affecting the performance of geosynthetic clay liners under flow of gas and liquid in municipal solid waste landfills. Environmental Engineering. Université de Grenoble; Université de Brasilia, 2010. Portuguese. ⟨tel-00738413⟩

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