Loughborough University
Thesis-2007-Fowmes.pdf (3.26 MB)

Analysis of steep sided landfill lining systems

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posted on 2008-08-04, 14:02 authored by Gary John Fowmes
The EC Landfill Directive (1999), which is enforced in England and Wales through the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations (2002), has increased the technical challenge associated with the design and construction of landfill containment systems, in particular those on steep side slopes. Increased numbers of lining system components, varied configurations, and complex loading scenarios require advanced analysis tools to facilitate design. This project involved the development of advanced numerical modelling techniques, based on the FLAC finite difference modelling code. The analysis toolbox can be used to predict the behaviour of multilayered geosynthetic and soil lining systems, during and after staged construction. The model can include non-linear interface and geosynthetic axial properties, represent complex loading, including downdrag from the waste mass, whilst retaining the flexibility to represent varied geometries and include engineered support structures. Whilst numerical modelling is becoming increasingly commonplace in commercial design, there is little evidence of the validation of numerical models with field or experimental data. Validation of the analysis toolbox described in this document was conducted by back analysis of published data, modelling of landfill failure mechanisms, and comparisons to large scale laboratory testing. Design of field scale instrumentation has also been carried out as part of this project. The influence of interface shear strength variability has been assessed through the compilation of a comprehensive database, and the effect of this variability on lining system behaviour assessed through reliability based analyses. This has shown probability of failures may be higher than proposed limiting values when adopting traditional accepted factors of safety. A key area of interest identified during the project was the requirement for support, potentially through reinforcement, of the geological barrier. The inclusion of randomly reinforced fibres in bentonite enhanced soil has shown the potential for increased strength, without adverse effects on hydraulic barrier performance. ii Additionally, the influence of geomembrane seams on lining system integrity has been investigated, showing that fusion welded seams can result in stress concentration and extruded seams can cause significant stress concentration.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Engineering (CICE)


© Gary John Fowmes

Publication date



A dissertation thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Engineering Doctorate (EngD) degree at Loughborough University.


  • en

Qualification name

  • EngD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral