Geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) have gained popularity as a barrier system in modern landfill construction. As such, it is depended upon to provide a level of impermeability to prevent the escape of contaminants into the surrounding soil and groundwater. It has been proven that a GCL's hydraulic conductivity is closely related to its moisture content. GCLs are known to absorb moisture from the underlying soil after installation. In a landfill, temperatures near the liner can reach upwards of 55°C. The effect of these elevated temperatures on the hydration process of the GCL was determined for two types of GCL over two types of subsoil: sand and clay. It was found that elevated temperatures prevented the GCL from reaching moisture content levels that would be acceptable in a real-life scenario. Temperatures in landfills could be expected to cause a GCL to reach a moisture equilibrium at roughly 16% gravimetric moisture content, where GCL at room temperature would reach higher than 100% gravimetric moisture content. The significant difference in moisture equilibrium of GCLs at different temperatures may suggest that the heat naturally produced in landfills could negatively affect the liner's hydraulic performance. The importance of allowing a GCL to properly hydrate before heat exposure must be better understood in order to minimize the potential negative effect of a landfill on our environment and our livelihood. This study also confirmed that the hydration potential of GCL depends on the method of GCL manufacture and the subsoil characteristics.

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Keywords Geosynthetic clay liners (GCL), hydration, landfill barrier system, temperature
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Journal Waste Management and Research
Barclay, A. (Arden), & Rayhani, M.T. (2013). Effect of temperature on hydration of geosynthetic clay liners in landfills. Waste Management and Research, 31(3), 265–272. doi:10.1177/0734242X12471153