Performance-based indicators for controlling geosynthetic clay liners in landfill applications - BRGM - Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières Access content directly
Journal Articles Geotextiles and Geomembranes Year : 2009

Performance-based indicators for controlling geosynthetic clay liners in landfill applications


The results of a project aimed at identifying performance-based indicators that can be used by landfill operators to check the suitability of GCLs for bottom barrier applications are presented. The general methodology consisted of performing detailed characterization of the prevalent GCLs used in France for landfill barrier applications, before and after prolonged contact with several fluids during oedo-permeameter tests. Results of mineralogical analysis illustrate the variety of composition of the tested bentonites, which in addition to smectite clay contain a large number of accessory minerals. For one of the GCLs tested, the proportion of smectite was lower than 30 wt%, which highlights the limitations of the generic designation “bentonite” when referring to GCLs destined to landfill applications. Results also underline the correlation between cation exchange capacity (CEC) and smectite content, the correlation between free swell volume and proportion of exchangeable sodium and the influence of the bentonite's calcium carbonate fraction on hydraulic conductivity. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) photographs illustrate the effect of cation exchange on clay microstructure, with the formation of clay particles which lead to increased hydraulic conductivity. The exchange is also documented by exchangeable cation analyses. Results of isotopic analyses indicate that information provided by suppliers with respect to the “natural” versus “activated” nature of the bentonite, may sometimes be arbitrary and related to factors that are very difficult to check in practice, even by the suppliers themselves. This further underlines the need for performance-based indicators, rather than generic designations, to provide objective information regarding GCL suitability for landfill applications. Several performance-based indicators are selected in order to provide practical tools for checking the suitability of sodium-bentonite GCLs in bottom barrier applications and limit values are proposed.

Dates and versions

hal-00512709 , version 1 (31-08-2010)



Dominique Guyonnet, Nathalie Touze, Véronique Norotte, Catherine Pothier, Gérard Didier, et al.. Performance-based indicators for controlling geosynthetic clay liners in landfill applications. Geotextiles and Geomembranes, 2009, 27 (5), p. 321-331. ⟨10.1016/j.geotexmem.2009.02.002⟩. ⟨hal-00512709⟩
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