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Service-life expectancy of waterproofing membranes

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The results of an accelerated aging test program to evaluate the effect of thickness on the depletion of antioxidants from high-density polyethylene HDPE geomembranes and subsequent degradation of the physical properties are reported. Three commer-cially available HDPE geomembranes having nominal thicknesses of 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5 mm were examined. The geomembranes were immersed in a synthetic leachate at 85, 70, 55, and 22° C and tested for oxidative induction time, crystallinity, melt index MI, tensile properties, and stress-crack resistance. The antioxidant depletion rate for the 1.5 mm geomembrane was faster than for the 2.0 and 2.5 mm geomembranes. Antioxidant depletion time was predicted at representative landfill temperatures of 20– 60° C using Arrhenius modeling and was found to increase with geomembrane thickness for the three geomembranes examined. Based on the results of crystallinity, MI, and stress-crack resistance, the degradation of the geomembrane was slowest for the thickest geomembrane. These results suggest that a thicker geomembrane may have a longer service life other things being equal.