Experimental evaluation of the performance of geomembrane liners subject to downdrag and seismic loading
A series of experiments were conducted to support validation of a numerical model for the performance of geomembrane liners subject to waste settlement and seismic loading. These experiments included large scale centrifuge model testing of a geomembrane-lined landfill, small scale laboratory testing to get the relevant properties of the materials used in the large scale centrifuge model, and tensile tests on seamed geomembrane coupons. The landfill model in the large scale centrifuge test was built with a cemented sand base, a thin film NafionTM geomembrane liner, and a mixture of sand and peat for model waste. The centrifuge model was spun up to 60 g, allowed to settle, and then subjected to seismic loading at three different peak ground accelerations (PGA). Strain on the liner and settlement of the waste during model spin-up and subsequent seismic loading and accelerations throughout the model due to seismic loading were acquired from sensors within the model. Laboratory testing conducted to evaluate the properties of the materials used in the model included triaxial compression tests on the cemented sand base, wide-width tensile testing of the thin film geomembrane, interface shear testing between the thin film geomembrane and the waste material, and one dimensional compression and cyclic direct simple shear testing of the sand-peat mixture used to simulate the waste. The tensile tests on seamed high-density polyethylene (HDPE) coupons were conducted to evaluate strain concentration associated with seams oriented perpendicular to an applied tensile load. Digital image correlation (DIC) was employed to evaluate the strain field, and hence seam strain concentrations, in these tensile tests. One-dimensional compression tests were also conducted on composite sand and HDPE samples to evaluate the compressive modulus of HDPE. The large scale centrifuge model and small scale laboratory tests provide the necessary data for numerical model validation. The tensile tests on seamed HDPE specimens show that maximum tensile strain due to strain concentrations at a seam is greater than previously suggested, a finding with profound implications for landfill liner design and construction quality control/quality assurance (QC/QA) practices. The results of the one-dimensional compression tests on composite sand-HDPE specimens were inconclusive.