Geomembranes are meant to provide a practically impermeable barrier for large-scale containment of liquids and gasses. Therefore, geomembrane liners are manufactured for the lowest possible permeability, depending on the application and chemicals involved.
However, the amount of seam welding, patching, and other fieldwork that is carried out during their installation can play a significant role in the liner’s long-term performance. So, what are the benefits of using factory prefabricated geomembrane liners?
A note on geomembrane liner installation
At first glance, geomembrane liner installation is a somewhat straightforward process. A properly prepared site surface is lined with the geomembrane material appropriate for the application. However, many conditions in the field can introduce variability, making successful installation more challenging than it initially seems.
Geomembrane liners may arrive at the installation site in smaller pieces to be welded on the spot, or larger pieces pre-welded in the factory (factory fabricated). The latter provides superior results both in terms of leakage prevention, seam testing requirements, time and labor required for installation and lifespan of the geomembrane installation.
Factory vs field fabricated geomembrane liners
Field fabrication of geomembrane liner refers to performing most of the welding of geomembrane seams on the spot at the site during installation. It doesn’t take much to realize that this situation provides less than ideal welding conditions, e.g. terrain morphology, steep slopes, temperature variability, rainfall, wind and dust particles, to name a few. Moreover, this procedure results in greater time and labor required, increasing overall installation costs.
Factory prefabricated geomembrane liners
Contrary to field welding, factory prefabricated liners are welded in controlled environmental conditions, resulting in consistent welding with guaranteed results. Quality vendors take into account factors like temperature ranges, slopes, and membrane expansion or contraction. According to those factors, they take steps to reduce the occurrence of localized stresses and minimize the chances of liner damage or leaks, for example by increasing the width of the seam or adding reinforcements.
Another primary benefit of factory prefabricated geomembrane liners is their low installation time. What’s more, factory-fabricated geomembrane liners transfer most of the quality inspection costs and labor to the manufacturing supplier, rather than the installation site crew. That’s because the larger panels are certified at the factory and arrive on site as a single panel requiring that only the perimeter welds be quality control tested in the field. These factors provide more consistent results, overall cost savings for the installation stage, as well as lifetime increase and maintenance cost reduction of the geomembrane liner.
This article originally appeared in the E Squared blog, https://e2techtextiles.com/blog.