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Geomembrane Seam Strain Concentrations in Landfill Liners

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This dissertation details an attempt to experimentally evaluate the Giroud et al. (1995) concentration factors for geomembranes loaded in tension perpendicular to a seam by laboratory measurement. Field observations of

This dissertation details an attempt to experimentally evaluate the Giroud et al. (1995) concentration factors for geomembranes loaded in tension perpendicular to a seam by laboratory measurement. Field observations of the performance of geomembrane liner systems indicates that tears occur at average strains well below the yield criteria. These observations have been attributed, in part, to localized strain concentrations in the geomembrane loaded in tension in a direction perpendicular to the seam. Giroud et al. (1995) has presented theoretical strain concentration factors for geomembrane seams loaded in tension when the seam is perpendicular to the applied tensile strain. However, these factors have never been verified. This dissertation was prepared in fulfillment of the requirements for graduation from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. The work described herein was sponsored by the National Science Foundation as a part of a larger research project entitled "NEESR: Performance Based Design of Geomembrane Liner Systems Subject to Extreme Loading." The work is motivated by geomembrane tears observed at the Chiquita Canyon landfill following the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Numerical analysis of the strains in the Chiquita Canyon landfill liner induced by the earthquake indicated that the tensile strains, were well below the yield strain of the geomembrane material. In order to explain why the membrane did fail, strain concentration factors due to bending at seams perpendicular to the load in the model proposed by Giroud et al. (1995) had to be applied to the geomembrane (Arab, 2011). Due to the localized nature of seam strain concentrations, digital image correlation (DIC) was used. The high resolution attained with DIC had a sufficient resolution to capture the localized strain concentrations. High density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembrane samples prepared by a leading geomembrane manufacturer were used in the testing described herein. The samples included both extrusion fillet and dual hot wedge fusion seams. The samples were loaded in tension in a standard triaxial test apparatus. to the seams in the samples including both extrusion fillet and dual hot wedge seams. DIC was used to capture the deformation field and strain fields were subsequently created by computer analysis.

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  • 2016-05

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Validation of a numerical model for design of geomembranes subject to extreme loads

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A numerical model for design of the geomembrane elements of waste containment systems has been validated by laboratory testing. Due to the absence of any instrumented case histories of seismic

A numerical model for design of the geomembrane elements of waste containment systems has been validated by laboratory testing. Due to the absence of any instrumented case histories of seismic performance of geomembrane liner systems, a large scale centrifuge test of a model geomembrane-lined landfill subject to seismic loading was conducted at the University of California at Davis Centrifuge Test facility as part of National Science Foundation Network for Earthquake the Engineering Simulation Research (NEESR) program. Data collected in the large scale centrifuge test included waste settlement, liner strains and earthquake accelerations at various locations throughout the model. This data on landfill and liner seismic performance has been supplemented with additional laboratory and small scale centrifuge tests to determine the parameters required for the numerical model, including strength and stiffness of the model materials, interface shear strengths, and interface stiffness. The numerical model explicitly assesses the forces and strains in the geomembrane elements of a containment system to subject to both static and seismic loads the computer code FLACTM, a finite difference program for non-linear analysis of continua. The model employs a beam element with zero moment of inertia and with interface elements on both sides to model to represent the geomembrane elements in the liner system. The model also includes non-linear constitutive models for the stress-strain behavior of geomembrane beam elements and an elastic-perfectly plastic model for the load-displacement behavior of the beam interfaces. Parametric studies are conducted with the validated numerical model to develop recommendations for landfill design, construction, and construction quality assurance.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Strain concentrations in polyethylene geomembranes adjacent to seams and scratches

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Laboratory testing was conducted to quantify strain concentrations adjacent to seams and scratches in high density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes. The tensile strain profile of remnants meeting the ASTM criteria for

Laboratory testing was conducted to quantify strain concentrations adjacent to seams and scratches in high density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes. The tensile strain profile of remnants meeting the ASTM criteria for wide-width tensile testing from samples of field seams recovered for construction quality assurance testing was evaluated using digital image correlation (DIC). Strains adjacent to scratches on laboratory prepared samples loaded in tension were also measured using DIC. The tensile strain in the zone adjacent to a seam and the tensile strain adjacent to a scratch were compared to the tensile strains calculated using theoretical strain concentration factors. The relationship between the maximum tensile strain adjacent to a seam and the global nominal strain in the sample was quantified for textured and smooth geomembranes of common thicknesses. Using statistical analysis of the data, bounds were developed for the allowable nominal tensile strain expected to induce maximum tensile strains adjacent to the seam less than or equal to the typical yield strain of HDPE geomembranes, at several confidence levels. Where nominal strain is the global or average strain applied to the sample and maximum strain is the largest tensile strain induced in the sample.

The reduction in the nominal yield strain due to a scratch in a HDPE geomembrane was also quantified. The yield strain was approximately the same as predicted using theoretical strain concentration factors. The difference in the average measured maximum strains adjacent to the seams of textured and smooth HDPE geomembranes was found to be statistically insignificant. However, maximum strains adjacent to extrusion welded seams were somewhat greater than adjacent to fusion welded seams for nominal strains on the order of 3% to 4%. The results of the testing program suggest that the nominal tensile strain should be limited to 4% around dual hot wedge seams and 3% around extrusion fillet seams to avoid maximum strains equal to 11%, a typical yield strain for HDPE geomembranes.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Experimental evaluation of the performance of geomembrane liners subject to downdrag and seismic loading

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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

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.

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Date Created
  • 2016