Compacted clay liners (CCLs) are commonly used as hydraulic barriers in several landfill applications to isolate contaminants from the surrounding environment and minimize the escape of leachate from the landfill. Prior to waste placement in landfills, CCLs are often exposed to temperature fluctuations which can affect the hydraulic performance of the liner. Experimental research was carried out to evaluate the effects of daily thermal cycles on the hydraulic performance of CCLs under simulated landfill conditions. Hydraulic conductivity tests were conducted on different soil specimens after being exposed to various thermal and dehydration cycles. An increase in the CCL hydraulic conductivity of up to one order of magnitude was recorded after 30 thermal cycles for soils with low plasticity index (PI=9.5%). However, medium (PI=25%) and high (PI=37.2%) plasticity soils did not show significant hydraulic deviation due to their self-healing potential. Overlaying the CCL with a cover layer minimized the effects of daily thermal cycles, and maintained stable hydraulic performance in the CCLs even after exposure to 60 thermal cycles. Wet-dry cycles had a significant impact on the hydraulic aspect of low plasticity CCLs. However, medium and high plasticity CCLs maintained constant hydraulic performance throughout the test intervals. The study underscores the importance of protecting the CCL from exposure to atmosphere through covering it by a layer of geomembrane or an interim soil layer.

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Keywords Compacted clay liner, Daily thermal cycles, Hydraulic conductivity, Plasticity, SWCC, Volumetric deformation
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Journal Journal of Environmental Management
Aldaeef, A.A., & Rayhani, M.T. (2015). Hydraulic performance of compacted clay liners under simulated daily thermal cycles. Journal of Environmental Management, 162, 171–178. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.07.036