Shear strength of HDPE geomembrane/geosynthetic clay liner interfaces

Eric J. Triplett, Patrick J. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


A study of interface shear strengths between smooth and textured high density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes (GMs) and a woven/nonwoven needle-punched geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) is presented. Tests were performed using a large direct shear machine capable of measuring peak and large displacement (200 mm) shear strengths. The failure surface was located at the GM/GCL interface for all tests conducted, corresponding to a normal stress range of 1-486 kPa. Small positive pore pressures were measured for all interfaces at peak shear strength. Thus, the practice of preparing failure envelopes using total normal stress, instead of effective normal stress, appears to be conservative. Interface shear strengths for textured GMs placed against the nonwoven side of the GCL were higher than those corresponding to the woven side. By comparison, differences in peak shear strength for laminated and coextruded GM interfaces were relatively less. Limited tests showed that peak and large displacement shear strengths were independent of displacement rate and dependent on the shear direction of the GM. The quantity of extruded bentonite at the interfaces generally increased with normal stress and was less for nonwoven geotextile interfaces than for woven geotextile interfaces. Implications of the findings to the testing of GM/GCL interfaces and the characterization of GM/GCL interface shear strength are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-552
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Environmental Science


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