# Geosynthetic clay liner

Geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) are factory manufactured hydraulic barriers consisting of a layer of bentonite or other very low-permeability material supported by geotextiles and/or geomembranes, mechanically held together by needling, stitching, or chemical adhesives.[1] Due to environmental laws, any seepage from landfills must be collected and properly disposed of, otherwise contamination of the surrounding ground water could cause major environmental and/or ecological problems. The lower the hydraulic conductivity the more effective the GCL will be at retaining seepage inside of the landfill. Bentonite composed predominantly (>70%) of montmorillonite or other expansive clays, are preferred and most commonly used in GCLs. A general GCL construction would consist of two layers of geosynthetics stitched together enclosing a layer of natural or processed sodium bentonite. Typically, woven and/or non-woven textile geosynthetics are used, however polyethylene or geomembrane layers or geogrid geotextiles materials have also been incorporated into the design or in place of a textile layer to increase strength. GCLs are produced by several large companies in North America, Europe, and Asia. The United States Environmental Protection Agency currently regulates landfill construction and design in the US through several legislations.[1][2]

Different types of fabric used for geosynthetic clay liners.[1]

## History

The origin of GCLs can be traced back to 1962 when Arthur G. Clem filed a patent for preformed moisture impervious panels which combined bentonite clay with corrugated paperboard.[3] In 1982, Arthur J. Clem filed a patent for a what would today be recognized as a GCL which combined bentonite clay, adhesive, and a geotextile.[4] In that same year, Arthur J. Clem established Clem Environmental Corp to put his invention into production.[5] The use of GCLs as a separate category of geosynthetics appears to have been in the United States in 1988 in solid waste containment as a backup to a geomembrane. The product was Claymax which is bentonite mixed with an adhesive so as to bond the clay between two geotextiles; one below (the carrier textile) and the other above (the cover textile) the bentonite in the center. About the same time a different product in Germany, Bentofix, was manufactured by placing bentonite powder between two geotextiles and then needle punching the three-components system together. The needle punching method of manufacture (US patent filed in 1989) gave the resulting composite material shear strength, a critical feature for installation on slopes.[6]

## Other names

Other names used for GCLs since their initiation are “clay blankets”, “bentonite blankets”, “bentonite mats”, “prefabricated bentonite clay blankets” and “clay geosynthetic barriers”, the latter currently favored by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

## Function

The engineering function of a GCL is containment as a hydraulic barrier to water, leachate or other liquids and sometimes gases. As such, they are used as replacements for either compacted clay liners or geomembranes, or they are used in a composite manner to augment the more traditional liner materials. The ultimate in liner security is probably a three component composite geomembrane/geosynthetic clay liner/compacted clay liner which has seen use as a landfill liner on many occasions.

Differences between geosynthetic clay liners (GCL) and compacted clay liners (CCL)[1]
Characteristic Geosynthetic Clay Liners (GCL) Compacted Clay Liners (CCL)
Material Bentonite clay, adhesives, geotextiles and/or geomembranes Native soils or blends of soil and bentonite clay
Construction Factory manufactured and then installed in the field Construction and/or amended in the field
Thickness ~ 6 mm 300 to 900 mm
Hydraulic conductivity of clay[7] 10−10 to 10−12 m/s 10−9 to 10−10 m/s
Speed and ease of construction Rapid, simple installation Slow, delicate and complicated compaction works
Installed cost $0.05 to$0.10 per m2 Highly variable (estimated range $0.07 to$0.30 per m2)
Experience Construction quality assurance and quality control are critical Highly workforce dependent

## References

1. ^ a b c d Koerner, R. M. (2012). Designing With Geosynthetics (6th ed.). Xlibris Publishing Co., 914 pgs.
2. ^ EPA (2001). "Geosynthetic Clay Liners Used in Municipal Solid Waste Landfills" (PDF). EPA 530-F-97-002 Fact Sheet Revised December 2001.
3. ^ US patent 3186896
4. ^ US patent 4501788
5. ^ "James Clem Corp. 1990 "E" Award". Journal of Commerce. Maritime News. 1990.
6. ^ US patent 5041330
7. ^ Shackelford, C.D.; Sevick, G.W.; Eykholt, G.R. (2010). "Hydraulic conductivity of geosynthetic clay liners to tailings impoundment solutions". Geotextiles and Geomembranes. 28 (2): 149–162. doi:10.1016/j.geotexmem.2009.10.005. ISSN 0266-1144.
Bentonite

Bentonite () is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite. It was named by Wilbur C. Knight in 1898 after the Cretaceous Benton Shale near Rock River, Wyoming.The different types of bentonite are each named after the respective dominant element, such as potassium (K), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), and aluminium (Al). Experts debate a number of nomenclatorial problems with the classification of bentonite clays. Bentonite usually forms from weathering of volcanic ash, most often in the presence of water. However, the term bentonite, as well as a similar clay called tonstein, has been used to describe clay beds of uncertain origin. For industrial purposes, two main classes of bentonite exist: sodium and calcium bentonite. In stratigraphy and tephrochronology, completely devitrified (weathered volcanic glass) ash-fall beds are commonly referred to as K-bentonites when the dominant clay species is illite. In addition to montmorillonite and illite another common clay species that is sometimes dominant is kaolinite. Kaolinite-dominated clays are commonly referred to as tonsteins and are typically associated with coal.

Borehole

A borehole is a narrow shaft bored in the ground, either vertically or horizontally. A borehole may be constructed for many different purposes, including the extraction of water, other liquids (such as petroleum) or gases (such as natural gas), as part of a geotechnical investigation, environmental site assessment, mineral exploration, temperature measurement, as a pilot hole for installing piers or underground utilities, for geothermal installations, or for underground storage of unwanted substances, e.g. in carbon capture and storage.

Clay

Clay is a finely-grained natural rock or soil material that combines one or more clay minerals with possible traces of quartz (SiO2), metal oxides (Al2O3 , MgO etc.) and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure. Clays are plastic due to particle size and geometry as well as water content, and become hard, brittle and non–plastic upon drying or firing. Depending on the soil's content in which it is found, clay can appear in various colours from white to dull grey or brown to deep orange-red.

Although many naturally occurring deposits include both silts and clay, clays are distinguished from other fine-grained soils by differences in size and mineralogy. Silts, which are fine-grained soils that do not include clay minerals, tend to have larger particle sizes than clays. There is, however, some overlap in particle size and other physical properties. The distinction between silt and clay varies by discipline. Geologists and soil scientists usually consider the separation to occur at a particle size of 2 µm (clays being finer than silts), sedimentologists often use 4–5 μm, and colloid chemists use 1 μm. Geotechnical engineers distinguish between silts and clays based on the plasticity properties of the soil, as measured by the soils' Atterberg limits. ISO 14688 grades clay particles as being smaller than 2 μm and silt particles as being larger.

Mixtures of sand, silt and less than 40% clay are called loam. Loam makes good soil and is used as a building material.

Electrical liner integrity survey

Electrical liner integrity surveys, also known as leak location surveys are a post-installation quality control method of detecting leaks in geomembranes. Geomembranes are typically used for large-scale containment of liquid or solid waste. These electrical survey techniques are widely embraced as the state-of-the-art methods of locating leaks in installed geomembranes, which is imperative for the long-term protection of groundwater and the maintenance of water resources. Increasingly specified by environmental regulations, the methods are also applied voluntarily by many site owners as responsible environmental stewards and to minimize future liability.

Final cover

Final cover is a multilayered system of various materials which are primarily used to reduce the amount of storm water that will enter a landfill after closing. Proper final cover systems will also minimize the surface water on the liner system, resist erosion due to wind or runoff, control the migrations of landfill gases, and improve aesthetics.A final cover system can include a top soil layer composed of nutrient rich soil, a protective layer to reduce the effects of freeze/thaw, a drainage layer which moves storm water, a barrier layer, and a grading layer.

Gravel

Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel is classified by particle size range and includes size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. In the Udden-Wentworth scale gravel is categorized into granular gravel (2 to 4 mm or 0.079 to 0.157 in) and pebble gravel (4 to 64 mm or 0.2 to 2.5 in). ISO 14688 grades gravels as fine, medium, and coarse with ranges 2 mm to 6.3 mm to 20 mm to 63 mm. One cubic metre of gravel typically weighs about 1,800 kg (or a cubic yard weighs about 3,000 pounds).

Gravel is an important commercial product, with a number of applications. Many roadways are surfaced with gravel, especially in rural areas where there is little traffic. Globally, far more roads are surfaced with gravel than with concrete or asphalt; Russia alone has over 400,000 km (250,000 mi) of gravel roads. Both sand and small gravel are also important for the manufacture of concrete.

Landfill liner

A landfill liner, or composite liner, is intended to be a low permeable barrier, which is laid down under engineered landfill sites. Until it deteriorates, the liner retards migration of leachate, and its toxic constituents, into underlying aquifers or nearby rivers, causing spoliation of the local water.

Modern landfills generally require a layer of compacted clay with a minimum required thickness and a maximum allowable hydraulic conductivity, overlaid by a high-density polyethylene geomembrane.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has stated that the barriers "will ultimately fail," while the site remains a threat for "thousands of years," suggesting that modern landfill designs delay but do not prevent ground and surface water pollution.Chipped or waste tires are used to support and insulate the liner.

Mass wasting

Mass wasting, also known as slope movement or mass movement, is the geomorphic process by which soil, sand, regolith, and rock move downslope typically as a solid, continuous or discontinuous mass, largely under the force of gravity, frequently with characteristics of a flow as in debris flows and mudflows. Types of mass wasting include creep, slides, flows, topples, and falls, each with its own characteristic features, and taking place over timescales from seconds to hundreds of years. Mass wasting occurs on both terrestrial and submarine slopes, and has been observed on Earth, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter's moon Io.

When the gravitational force acting on a slope exceeds its resisting force, slope failure (mass wasting) occurs. The slope material's strength and cohesion and the amount of internal friction within the material help maintain the slope's stability and are known collectively as the slope's shear strength. The steepest angle that a cohesionless slope can maintain without losing its stability is known as its angle of repose. When a slope made of loose material possesses this angle, its shear strength counterbalances the force of gravity acting upon it.

Mass wasting may occur at a very slow rate, particularly in areas that are very dry or those areas that receive sufficient rainfall such that vegetation has stabilized the surface. It may also occur at very high speed, such as in rockslides or landslides, with disastrous consequences, both immediate and delayed, e.g., resulting from the formation of landslide dams. Factors that change the potential of mass wasting include: change in slope angle, weakening of material by weathering, increased water content; changes in vegetation cover, and overloading.

Volcano flanks can become over-steep resulting in instability and mass wasting. This is now a recognised part of the growth of all active volcanoes. It is seen on submarine as well as surface volcanoes: Loihi in the Hawaiian volcanic chain and Kick 'em Jenny in the Caribbean volcanic arc are two submarine volcanoes that are known to undergo mass wasting. The failure of the northern flank of Mount St Helens in 1980 showed how rapidly volcanic flanks can deform and fail.

Natchez silt loam

In 1988, the Professional Soil Classifiers Association of Mississippi selected Natchez silt loam soil to represent the soil resources of the State. These soils exist on 171,559 acres (0.56% of state) of landscape in Mississippi.

Permeability (earth sciences)

Permeability in fluid mechanics and the earth sciences (commonly symbolized as k) is a measure of the ability of a porous material (often, a rock or an unconsolidated material) to allow fluids to pass through it.

The permeability of a medium is related to the porosity, but also to the shapes of the pores in the medium and their level of connectedness.

Response spectrum

A response spectrum is a plot of the peak or steady-state response (displacement, velocity or acceleration) of a series of oscillators of varying natural frequency, that are forced into motion by the same base vibration or shock. The resulting plot can then be used to pick off the response of any linear system, given its natural frequency of oscillation. One such use is in assessing the peak response of buildings to earthquakes. The science of strong ground motion may use some values from the ground response spectrum (calculated from recordings of surface ground motion from seismographs) for correlation with seismic damage.

If the input used in calculating a response spectrum is steady-state periodic, then the steady-state result is recorded. Damping must be present, or else the response will be infinite. For transient input (such as seismic ground motion), the peak response is reported. Some level of damping is generally assumed, but a value will be obtained even with no damping.

Response spectra can also be used in assessing the response of linear systems with multiple modes of oscillation (multi-degree of freedom systems), although they are only accurate for low levels of damping. Modal analysis is performed to identify the modes, and the response in that mode can be picked from the response spectrum. These peak responses are then combined to estimate a total response. A typical combination method is the square root of the sum of the squares (SRSS) if the modal frequencies are not close. The result is typically different from that which would be calculated directly from an input, since phase information is lost in the process of generating the response spectrum.

The main limitation of response spectra is that they are only universally applicable for linear systems. Response spectra can be generated for non-linear systems, but are only applicable to systems with the same non-linearity, although attempts have been made to develop non-linear seismic design spectra with wider structural application. The results of this cannot be directly combined for multi-mode response.

Seismic hazard

A seismic hazard is the probability that an earthquake will occur in a given geographic area, within a given window of time, and with ground motion intensity exceeding a given threshold. With a hazard thus estimated, risk can be assessed and included in such areas as building codes for standard buildings, designing larger buildings and infrastructure projects, land use planning and determining insurance rates. The seismic hazard studies also may generate two standard measures of anticipated ground motion, both confusingly abbreviated MCE; the simpler probabilistic Maximum Considered Earthquake (or Event ), used in standard building codes, and the more detailed and deterministic Maximum Credible Earthquake incorporated in the design of larger buildings and civil infrastructure like dams or bridges. It is important to clarify which MCE is being discussed.

Calculations for determining seismic hazard were first formulated by C. Allin Cornell in 1968 and, depending on their level of importance and use, can be quite complex. The regional geology and seismology setting is first examined for sources and patterns of earthquake occurrence, both in depth and at the surface from seismometer records; secondly, the impacts from these sources are assessed relative to local geologic rock and soil types, slope angle and groundwater conditions. Zones of similar potential earthquake shaking are thus determined and drawn on maps. The well known San Andreas Fault is illustrated as a long narrow elliptical zone of greater potential motion, like many areas along continental margins associated with the Pacific ring of fire. Zones of higher seismicity in the continental interior may be the site for intraplate earthquakes) and tend to be drawn as broad areas, based on historic records, like the 1812 New Madrid earthquake, since specific causative faults are generally not identified as earthquake sources.

Each zone is given properties associated with source potential: how many earthquakes per year, the maximum size of earthquakes (maximum magnitude), etc. Finally, the calculations require formulae that give the required hazard indicators for a given earthquake size and distance. For example, some districts prefer to use peak acceleration, others use peak velocity, and more sophisticated uses require response spectral ordinates.

The computer program then integrates over all the zones and produces probability curves for the key ground motion parameter. The final result gives a 'chance' of exceeding a given value over a specified amount of time. Standard building codes for homeowners might be concerned with a 1 in 500 years chance, while nuclear plants look at the 10,000 year time frame. A longer-term seismic history can be obtained through paleoseismology. The results may be in the form of a ground response spectrum for use in seismic analysis.

More elaborate variations on the theme also look at the soil conditions. Higher ground motions are likely to be experienced on a soft swamp compared to a hard rock site. The standard seismic hazard calculations become adjusted upwards when postulating characteristic earthquakes. Areas with high ground motion due to soil conditions are also often subject to soil failure due to liquefaction. Soil failure can also occur due to earthquake-induced landslides in steep terrain. Large area landsliding can also occur on rather gentle slopes as was seen in the Good Friday earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska, March 28, 1964.

Seismoelectrical method

The seismoelectrical method (which is different from the electroseismic physical principle) is based on the generation of electromagnetic fields in soils and rocks by seismic waves. This technique is still under development and in the future it may have applications like detecting and characterizing fluids in the underground by their electrical properties, among others, usually related to fluids (porosity, transmissivity, physical properties).

Silt

Silt is granular material of a size between sand and clay, whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil (often mixed with sand or clay) or as sediment mixed in suspension with water (also known as a suspended load) and soil in a body of water such as a river. It may also exist as soil deposited at the bottom of a water body, like mudflows from landslides. Silt has a moderate specific area with a typically non-sticky, plastic feel. Silt usually has a floury feel when dry, and a slippery feel when wet. Silt can be visually observed with a hand lens, exhibiting a sparkly appearance. It also can be felt by the tongue as granular when placed on the front teeth (even when mixed with clay particles).

Specific storage

In the field of hydrogeology, storage properties are physical properties that characterize the capacity of an aquifer to release groundwater. These properties are storativity (S), specific storage (Ss) and specific yield (Sy).

They are often determined using some combination of field tests (e.g., aquifer tests) and laboratory tests on aquifer material samples. Recently, these properties have been also determined using remote sensing data derived from Interferometric synthetic-aperture radar.

Thixotropy

Thixotropy is a time-dependent shear thinning property. Certain gels or fluids that are thick or viscous under static conditions will flow (become thin, less viscous) over time when shaken, agitated, sheared or otherwise stressed (time dependent viscosity). They then take a fixed time to return to a more viscous state.

Some non-Newtonian pseudoplastic fluids show a time-dependent change in viscosity; the longer the fluid undergoes shear stress, the lower its viscosity. A thixotropic fluid is a fluid which takes a finite time to attain equilibrium viscosity when introduced to a steep change in shear rate. Some thixotropic fluids return to a gel state almost instantly, such as ketchup, and are called pseudoplastic fluids. Others such as yogurt take much longer and can become nearly solid. Many gels and colloids are thixotropic materials, exhibiting a stable form at rest but becoming fluid when agitated. Thixotropy arises because particles or structured solutes require time to organize. An excellent overview of thixotropy has been provided by Mewis and Wagner.Some fluids are anti-thixotropic: constant shear stress for a time causes an increase in viscosity or even solidification. Fluids which exhibit this property are sometimes called rheopectic. Anti-thixotropic fluids are less well documented than thixotropic fluids.

Trench

A trench is a type of excavation or depression in the ground that is generally deeper than it is wide (as opposed to a wider gully, or ditch), and narrow compared with its length (as opposed to a simple hole).In geology, trenches are created as a result of erosion by rivers or by geological movement of tectonic plates. In the civil engineering field, trenches are often created to install underground infrastructure or utilities (such as gas mains, water mains or telephone lines), or later to access these installations. Trenches have also often been dug for military defensive purposes. In archaeology, the "trench method" is used for searching and excavating ancient ruins or to dig into strata of sedimented material.

Void ratio

The void ratio of a mixture is the ratio of the volume of voids to volume of solids.

It is a dimensionless quantity in materials science, and is closely related to porosity as follows:

${\displaystyle e={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{S}}}={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{T}-V_{V}}}={\frac {\phi }{1-\phi }}}$

and

${\displaystyle \phi ={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{T}}}={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{S}+V_{V}}}={\frac {e}{1+e}}}$

where ${\displaystyle e}$ is void ratio, ${\displaystyle \phi }$ is porosity, VV is the volume of void-space (such as fluids), VS is the volume of solids, and VT is the total or bulk volume. This figure is relevant in composites, in mining (particular with regard to the properties of tailings), and in soil science. In geotechnical engineering, it is considered as one of the state variables of soils and represented by the symbol e.

Note that in geotechnical engineering, the symbol ${\displaystyle \phi }$ usually represents the angle of shearing resistance, a shear strength (soil) parameter. Because of this, the equation is usually rewritten using ${\displaystyle n}$ for porosity:

${\displaystyle e={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{S}}}={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{T}-V_{V}}}={\frac {n}{1-n}}}$

and

${\displaystyle n={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{T}}}={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{S}+V_{V}}}={\frac {e}{1+e}}}$

where ${\displaystyle e}$ is void ratio, ${\displaystyle n}$ is porosity, VV is the volume of void-space (air and water), VS is the volume of solids, and VT is the total or bulk volume.

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