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21 vues12 pagesEvaluation of suitable geomembrane for lining of existing earthen canal, including assessment of ballast requirements to mitigate the risk of uplift pressures on the liner.

Dec 05, 2016

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Evaluation of suitable geomembrane for lining of existing earthen canal, including assessment of ballast requirements to mitigate the risk of uplift pressures on the liner.

© All Rights Reserved

21 vues

Evaluation of suitable geomembrane for lining of existing earthen canal, including assessment of ballast requirements to mitigate the risk of uplift pressures on the liner.

© All Rights Reserved

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analytical techniques

J.P. Giroud1, Neil Jacka2, Christopher Dann3 and Jeremy Eldridge4

1

URS New Zealand Limited, Auckland, New Zealand

3

URS Australia Pty Ltd, Brisbane, Australia

4

Genesis Energy Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand

The remediation of a large hydropower canal included the lining of selected reaches of

the canal with a geomembrane to extend the life of the canal and enhance seismic

resilience. This paper presents a summary of innovative analyses performed to select

and design the geomembrane liner system. Two mechanisms that induce tensile stress

and strain in the geomembrane following the development of cracks in the supporting

subgrade resulting in the deflection of the geomembrane over the cracks under the

applied water pressure were analysed. The analysis uses the concept of co-energy, a

geomembrane property that evaluates its ability to withstand stresses and strains

together. A range of ballast configurations undertaken to assess the tension, strain and

deflection of the geomembrane while evaluating the resistance to hydrodynamic forces

and other loads were analysed. Stability analyses showed that geosynthetic

reinforcement of the ballast over the upper canal slopes was required.

Keywords: Canal, Lining, Geomembrane, Design, Seismic resilience.

Introduction

The canal

A hydropower canal in New Zealand is 25.3 km long and transfers flows from the tailrace of

one power station to the headpond of another. The canal has an invert width between

11.0 m and 11.8 m, a water depth of 5.3 m to 6.0 m and a flow capacity of 120 m3/s. The

side slopes are 1V:2H or 1V:2.5H depending on the canal reach, and the longitudinal slope

is approximately 1/8500. The canal was constructed in the mid-1970s. The canal was lined

with a silty gravel lining from glacial till deposits, which is 0.8 m thick across the invert and

3 m wide (measured horizontally) on the side slopes.

The remediation

The remediation includes lining three reaches of the canal with a geomembrane liner to

improve the overall durability and longevity of the canal, to manage deterioration of the

existing soil liner system and to enhance seismic resilience. The total length of the three

geomembrane-lined reaches is 7.155 km.

Design challenges

The main design challenges regarding the geomembrane liner were: (i) selection of the type

of geomembrane based on its ability to maintain its integrity in the event of cracks

developing in the supporting subgrade; and (ii) evaluation of the resistance of the selected

geomembrane liner to hydraulic forces induced by the canal flows.

This paper presents a summary of the analytical techniques used to address the above

design challenges. The paper describes the analyses undertaken by presenting the

methodology and the main results, without presenting the numerous equations. In the future,

other publications will provide the detailed calculations.

Lining selection process

The lining selection process was the result of a series of logical steps.

selected canal reaches to address the deterioration of the original canal lining in specific

locations. In these locations the development of discrete defects in the original lining

required staunching. These defects were a result of incompatible material characteristics

between the original lining and supporting soil at these locations.

Second, a list of options for remediating the lining was reviewed and assessed on

technical merit and the ability to meet the project performance requirements. This

included all the systems and materials listed in the ICOLD (2010) Bulletin 135 and other

common systems used in canals. The assessment criteria included durability, longevity,

seismic resilience and environmental factors such as chemical stability. For instance

fresh concrete could elevate the pH of the canal water for a prolonged period, which

would be detrimental to fish in the canal.

Third, it was recognized that a geomembrane provides distinct advantages over other

lining materials (e.g., compacted clay and concrete), including the ability to deform while

maintaining its integrity, low hydraulic friction, and speed of installation.

Fourth, of the various geomembranes available, two were identified as worthy for

progressing further in the projects development: the HDPE geomembrane and the

composite PVC geomembrane. The reasons are discussed below.

Fifth, the composite PVC geomembrane was preferred to the HDPE geomembrane as a

result of the analysis presented in the first part of this paper.

For the selection of the geomembrane liner material, two candidates were considered: a

2.5 mm thick polyvinyl chloride (PVC) geomembrane thermally bonded to a polyester

needle-punched nonwoven geotextile having a mass per unit area of 500 g/m2, herein

referred to as composite PVC geomembrane, and a 2 mm thick high density polyethylene

(HDPE) geomembrane. The tension-strain curves of these two liner materials play an

important role in the analysis. These curves are presented in Figure 1.

(Note: A tension-strain curve is used to represent the tensile behavior of a composite

geomembrane because stress cannot be defined in the case of a composite material.

Tension is force per unit width of geomembrane. Stress is tension divided by geomembrane

thickness; but this is applicable only in the case of homogeneous geomembranes, such as

HDPE geomembranes.)

Figure 1. Tension-strain

curves of the candidate

geomembranes.

Figure 1 shows that the tension-strain curve of the HDPE geomembrane has a yield peak at

a strain of 12% to 15%. After the peak, the HDPE geomembrane strength decreases and the

strain increases to about 500% without applying any additional load. Thus, beyond the yield

peak, an HDPE geomembrane ceases to function from a mechanical standpoint (Giroud

1984). Therefore, HDPE geomembranes are typically used only where the geomembrane

strain is well below the yield strain, with a substantial factor of safety.

In contrast, Figure 1 shows that the tension-strain curve of a composite PVC geomembrane

has a peak at a strain of about 70% due to the rupture of the geotextile component of the

composite geomembrane. Beyond this peak, the PVC geomembrane component of the

composite geomembrane still maintains its integrity and the tension-strain curve of the

composite geomembrane becomes identical to the tension-strain curve of the PVC

geomembrane alone. In conclusion, after the peak at 70% strain, the PVC geomembrane

component of the composite PVC geomembrane maintains its strength characteristics.

Therefore PVC geomembranes can be used in situations where the geomembrane will

experience considerable strain.

tension-strain curves of the

candidate geomembranes.

(This is essentially the left

part of Figure 1shown with

a different scale.)

Figure 2 shows the first parts of the tension-strain curves presented in Figure 1. The first part

of the tension-strain curve of the composite PVC geomembrane is linear until approximately

70% strain. The first part of the tension-strain curve of the HDPE geomembrane has the

shape of a parabola with a 3.5 power (y = x3.5 with the origin of xy axes at the yield peak)

(Giroud 1994). Only these first parts are used in the analyses presented in subsequent

sections.

A variety of geomembranes are available and many have been used in canal lining projects

internationally; and the performance of some were evaluated for the project. However, two

candidate geomembranes were selected for further consideration for the following reasons.

HDPE geomembranes are relatively inexpensive and, taking account of all applications, they

are the most widely used geomembranes. They are used in most modern waste disposal

landfills (in great part due to their excellent chemical resistance), but they are less frequently

used in hydraulic applications (where chemical resistance is not required and other

properties are less favorable). PVC geomembranes, in particular composite PVC

geomembranes, are the most frequently used geomembranes in large dams. In summary,

composite PVC geomembranes have a dominant position in highly demanding technical

hydraulic applications, while HDPE geomembranes have a dominant position in waste

disposal landfills. No other geomembranes have such dominant positions. In addition both

geomembrane materials can be demonstrated to meet the 50 year design life requirement

for the project. For these primary reasons HDPE and composite PVC geomembranes were

selected for further project evaluation.

The selection between HDPE geomembrane and composite PVC geomembrane was done

in part on the basis of practical considerations. The type of composite PVC geomembrane

considered for this project includes a compelling track record of 50 years of installation by

the same company on large dams and other large hydraulic structures. Other practical

considerations included: (1) HDPE geomembranes are not easy to install because high

wrinkles often occur in the geomembrane as a result of its high coefficient of thermal

expansion and its high stiffness. The development of high wrinkles makes the geomembrane

susceptible to stress concentrations and mechanical damage, both of which are detrimental

to integrity, longevity and the hydraulic performance of the canal. (2) The selection also

considered the ability of the liner material to accommodate the presence of large stones and

other irregularities in the supporting material, and to resist differential settlement at

connections with concrete structures; from this viewpoint, test results demonstrated the

superiority of the composite PVC geomembranes. (3) When HDPE geomembranes are

used, it is necessary to prepare a relatively smooth surface, which is costly and timeconsuming (an important consideration since rapid installation was required in this project).

The main factor in the selection of the geomembrane for the project was the analysis of the

ability of a geomembrane to span a crack in the supporting subgrade that might develop

while in service. In this analysis, the tension-strain curve of the geomembrane plays a key

role. From this viewpoint, there is a major difference between the HDPE geomembrane and

the composite PVC geomembrane, as illustrated in Figures 1 and 2.

A theoretical analysis was performed to evaluate the performance of the geomembrane in

case of development of a crack. The following sequence of events was assumed: (1) the

geomembrane is installed on a subgrade free of cracks; (2) the canal is put in service; (3)

during canal operation, a crack develops in the material underlying the geomembrane. The

analysis addresses the two mechanisms that induce tensile stress and strain in the

geomembrane: the development of the crack and the deflection of the geomembrane over

the crack under the applied water pressure.

The liner system is required to accommodate two crack widths; a serviceability crack width

of 30 mm and a maximum design crack width of 80 mm (Mejia and Dawson 2013). The

analysis demonstrates that the performance of the geomembrane and the calculated factor

of safety are dependent on the geomembranes co-energy rather than on the geomembrane

tension or geomembrane strain. The co-energy is a geomembrane property that represents

its ability to withstand stresses and strains together. The concept of co-energy is described

in a subsequent section. The resulting calculated factor of safety was found to be adequate

in the case of the considered composite PVC geomembrane but was insufficient in the case

of the HDPE geomembrane.

A schematic cross section of a geomembrane located on a supporting material where cracks

develop is presented in Figure 3. The geomembrane is subjected to a pressure, p, applied

by the overlying water. When cracks develop, shear stresses are applied on the lower face

of the geomembrane on each side of the cracks being formed. These shear stresses are

transmitted from the supporting material to the geomembrane through interface friction. At

the same time, the geomembrane deflects over the cracks. As a result, the geomembrane is

subjected to tensile stresses over the cracks and over a length L on each side of a crack.

The maximum tension in the geomembrane, T c , occurs in the portion of geomembrane

located over a crack. The analysis shows that the geomembrane tension decreases linearly

over a distance L from the edge of a crack. This distance depends on the following

parameters: the interface friction between the geomembrane and the supporting material,

IPENZ Proceedings of Technical Groups 39 (LD)

the pressure applied by water on top of the geomembrane, and the tension-strain curve of

the geomembrane. The tension in the geomembrane is zero beyond the distance L from the

edge of a crack. While the tension in the geomembrane is linearly distributed over the length

L, the strain in the geomembrane is generally not linearly distributed as it is related to the

tension through the tension-strain curve, which is generally not linear. The strain in the

geomembrane is linearly distributed over the length L only if the tension-strain curve is

linear.

Figure 3. Schematic cross section of a geomembrane subjected to shear stresses due to the

formation of cracks and deflecting over the cracks due to pressure applied by water on top of

the geomembrane. (Not to scale)

The above analysis shows that the tension in the geomembrane is the result of two

mechanisms: shear stresses applied to the lower face of the geomembrane by the

supporting material during the opening of the crack; and strain of the geomembrane as it

deflects over the open crack. The two mechanisms were analyzed together, and the analysis

provides a quantification of the tension in the geomembrane, the strain in the geomembrane,

and the length, L, over which the geomembrane is subjected to tension and elongates.

The solution of the analysis depends on the following integral:

Tc

E = dT

0

(1)

the portion of geomembrane that bridges the crack, is the strain in the geomembrane, and

T is the geomembrane tension. This integral is the surface between the vertical axis (i.e., the

tension axis) and the tension-strain curve from the tension zero to the tension T c (i.e., the

tension in the geomembrane over a crack, which is the maximum tension in the

geomembrane). This is the shaded area in Figure 4 (i.e., area ABC). This area is the

required co-energy (Giroud and Soderman 1995; Giroud 2005).

The analysis shows that the factor of safety is the square root of the ratio of the ultimate coenergy and the required co-energy. The ultimate co-energy is the maximum amount of coenergy associated with a given geomembrane. This is the area hatched in red in Figure 4

(i.e., area ADE, with E being the end of the portion of the tension-strain curve considered in

design). [The square root mentioned above can be briefly explained as follows: Co-energy

has the dimension of tension multiplied by strain. Therefore, if the traditional factor of safety

is defined as tension ratio or strain ratio, the co-energy factor of safety must be defined as a

square root.]

Figure

4. 4.

Co-energy

of of a

Figure

Co-energy

a geomembrane.

(Note:

geomembrane.

(Note:

The

energy

is the

The

energy

is the area

area

below

the

tensionbelow the tension-strain

strain curve, hence the

curve, hence the term

term co-energy for the

co-energy forarea.)

the

complementary

complementary area.)

As illustrated in Figure 4, the factor of safety (which is the square root of the ratio of the

hatched area and the shaded area, as indicated above) can be determined graphically. It

can also be determined analytically if the equation of the portion of the geomembrane

tension-strain curve used in the design is known. This is the case for the composite PVC

geomembrane (linear portion considered in design) and for the HDPE geomembrane (3.5

order parabola). Lengthy calculations are not presented here. Only results are presented.

Numerical calculations were performed for a range of values of the relevant parameters.

Thus, for each of the two geomembranes, the range of calculated factors of safety is due to

different property values considered in the calculations: i.e., different interface friction angles,

the presence or not of a seam (i.e., a joint between panels of liner, which affects the tensionstrain curve), and the geomembrane direction with respect to the crack direction (as

geomembranes are not perfectly isotropic). Regarding interface friction, the HDPE

geomembrane was assumed to be textured on both faces to ensure similar values of

interface friction angle, hence the same level of slope stability, as with the composite PVC

geomembrane. The following results were obtained:

For a crack width of 30 mm (serviceability crack width), the factor of safety is from 3.64

to 4.70 for the composite PVC geomembrane, and 1.06 to 1.45 for the HDPE

geomembrane.

For a crack width of 80 mm (maximum design crack width), the factor of safety is from

2.32 to 2.98 for the composite PVC geomembrane, and for all parameter values is below

1 for the HDPE geomembrane.

The above results show that, in the conditions considered for the design of the canal

remediation project, the considered composite PVC geomembrane meets the performance

objectives and has an adequate factor of safety, whereas a typical 2 mm thick textured

HDPE geomembrane does not have a sufficient factor of safety and thus does not meet the

projects performance objectives. As a result of this analysis the composite PVC

geomembrane was selected. Therefore, the design, presented in the second part of this

paper, was progressed on the basis of the composite PVC geomembrane.

Applied forces and the need for geomembrane ballasting

A geomembrane liner in a canal is exposed to hydraulic drag forces and uplift forces by the

flowing water. The project design analysis shows that the drag forces are relatively low,

whereas the risk of geomembrane uplift requires significant ballasting of the geomembrane.

Furthermore, the project required that the portion of geomembrane above water be protected

from potential mechanical damage and exposure to sunlight and atmospheric agents. To

maintain the hydraulic performance of the canal, protection and ballasting were selected

such that a significant fraction of the geomembrane remains in direct contact with water.

Several types and geometries of protection and ballasting were considered: mats of

articulated concrete blocks, cobbles, gabions, and sand-filled tubes. Numerous calculations

were performed for the evaluation of exposed geomembrane tension, strain and deflection;

required thickness or mass per unit area of ballasting materials (cobbles, articulated

concrete blocks); stability of various components of the liner system and associated ballast

(cobble zones in upper and lower parts of side slopes, mat of articulated concrete blocks);

required anchorage at the crest of geosynthetics (geomembrane; geotextile supporting the

mat of articulated concrete blocks; geogrid reinforcement used for the stability of the upper

slope ballast cobble zone), etc. A summary of the design methods used is presented in the

following sections.

Configurations considered

Several configurations were considered for the ballasting of the geomembrane, such as:

Ballasting at the invert: (i) gabions (or other longitudinal structures such as sand-filled

geosynthetic tubes) near the toes of the side slopes (Figure 5); (ii) uniform layer of

cobbles at the invert (Figure 6).

Ballasting at the lower part of the side slopes: (i) wedges of cobbles between the gabions

and the side slopes (Figure 5); (ii) cobble buttresses at toes of side slopes (Figure 6).

Ballasting at the upper part of the side slopes: (i) articulated concrete blocks of various

types attached to a geotextile anchored at the crest (Figure 5); (ii) zone of cobbles (with

uniform or non-uniform thickness) resting on a bench and reinforced or not by a geogrid

anchored at the crest (Figure 6).

Figure 5. Schematic cross section with gabions ballasting the geomembrane at the invert,

cobble wedges ballasting the geomembrane on lower parts of the side slopes, and articulated

concrete blocks ballasting the geomembrane on the upper parts of the side slopes. (Not to

scale)

Figure 6. Schematic cross section with cobbles ballasting the geomembrane at the invert and

on the lower and upper parts of the slopes. (Not to scale) (Note: This is the configuration that

was actually selected and that is being constructed, with the geomembrane being a composite

PVC geomembrane installed with the PVC component up.) (Note: The geotextile protection

between geomembrane and cobbles is not shown; and the geogrid used to reinforce the upper

slope ballast is not shown.)

It should be noted that the ballasting of the geomembrane in the upper part of the slope had

several functions: ballasting the geomembrane against uplift and drag forces; protecting the

geomembrane from sun-generated heat and ultraviolet radiation that accelerate

geomembrane aging; and allowing safe egress should people fall into the canal.

Several combinations of the invert and side slope ballast were considered. In all considered

configurations, the geomembrane was left exposed on a portion of the side slopes.

For all configurations, a hydrodynamic evaluation was performed to determine if the

hydraulic performance of the canal would be acceptable. Also, the resistance of cobbles to

erosion by water flowing in the canal was evaluated. These design aspects are not

discussed herein. The focus of this part of the paper is on original analyses conducted for

evaluating the geomembrane resistance to uplift and the geomembrane ballasting.

Water flowing in a canal applies a static pressure on the geomembrane, which tends to

stabilize the geomembrane. At the same time two actions from the flowing water tend to

displace the geomembrane: (i) the dynamic pressure tends to uplift the geomembrane; and

(ii) the shear stresses (generally referred to as hydraulic drag forces) tend to displace the

geomembrane in the direction of the flow.

Drag forces result from the friction of water on the geomembrane. This type of action is easy

to understand and calculations show the drag forces are small. Furthermore, shear stresses

due to interface friction between the geomembrane and the underlying soil are significantly

greater than the shear stresses due to flowing water. Therefore, as long as the

geomembrane is in contact with the supporting soil (i.e., as long as the geomembrane is not

uplifted by the dynamic pressure), it is not displaced by drag forces. Therefore, drag forces

are not further discussed in this paper.

While drag forces are easy to understand, uplift of geomembrane by dynamic pressure of

the flowing water is a subtle mechanism that requires explanation.

If the geomembrane has no hole and the soil is not saturated under the geomembrane, the

static pressure of water applies a normal stress on the geomembrane. This normal stress,

associated with interface friction between the geomembrane and the underlying material,

prevents the geomembrane from moving.

If the geomembrane has a hole, and if the underlying soil is not effectively drained, the static

pressure of the water is established on both sides of the geomembrane.

According to Bernoullis equation, at a given location in the canal:

V2

p +

=

constant

2

(2)

where p is the water pressure, is the water density, and V is the water velocity. The term

(V2/2) is the kinetic energy of water. This term may be converted into pressure under

certain circumstances as discussed below.

In the case of steady flow (i.e., with no liner irregularity disturbing the flow), the pressure is

the static pressure. If an obstacle tends to decrease the velocity, the pressure increases in

accordance with Equation 2. If the geomembrane has a hole, and if the soil underlying the

geomembrane is not drained, water tends to accumulate in the soil. The worst case is when

the hole faces the flow. This may happen, for example, if the hole is located in a wrinkle of

the geomembrane or if the hole is an open geomembrane seam facing the flow (a

configuration which should be avoided when possible). If all these conditions are met, the

velocity of water at the hole is abruptly decreased from V to zero. In accordance with

Equation 2, the pressure under the geomembrane is then the total pressure given by:

V2

2

(3)

where p stat is the static pressure in the water at the geomembrane level. The geomembrane

is then uplifted by the difference between the total pressure, which exists under the

geomembrane, and the static pressure, which exists above the geomembrane. The

difference is the dynamic pressure:

pdyn =

1

V 2

2

(4)

From a theoretical standpoint, one may consider the ideal case where the geomembrane is

perfectly flat (i.e., no wrinkles) and parallel to the flow of water. In this ideal case, the hole in

the geomembrane does not disturb the flow and does not cause any change in the velocity

of flow. Therefore, in this ideal case, the kinetic energy of water is not converted into

pressure and the pressure under the geomembrane is the static pressure, as it is above the

geomembrane. In this ideal case the only force that tends to uplift the geomembrane is the

buoyant force on the geomembrane, which is extremely small and negligible. This ideal case

is highly unlikely because geomembranes are never perfectly flat and, therefore, a hole in

the geomembrane will locally cause a drastic decrease in flow velocity, which will cause a

conversion of kinetic energy of water into dynamic pressure applied under the

geomembrane, hence geomembrane uplift.

In spite of the theoretical evidence presented above, the uplift of geomembranes by dynamic

pressure of water has sometimes been considered unlikely. However, this mechanism is real

and it has been demonstrated experimentally by model tests at the Technical University of

Munich (2005).

Since this mechanism is linked to the presence of a hole (or holes) in the geomembrane, it is

clear that portions of the geomembrane may be uplifted when others are not. Therefore, the

analysis presented herein considers cases where the entire geomembrane is uplifted as well

as cases where only certain areas of the geomembrane are uplifted, in order to determine

the worst case.

Based on the above discussions, geomembrane uplift by dynamic pressure would be

impossible with a geomembrane that has no hole. However, assuming at the design stage

that a geomembrane will never have a hole is unrealistic. It has been clearly established in

the 1980s (Giroud and Goldstein 1982), and it has been the state of practice since then, that,

in all applications, lined facilities should always be designed assuming there will be holes in

the geomembrane.

The above discussions also indicate that effective drainage beneath the geomembrane

would minimize the risk of uplifting. However, at the canal, the existing earth liner (which is

located beneath the geomembrane) does not have the capacity to rapidly drain potential

leakage and dissipate water pressure beneath the geomembrane. Therefore, the

geomembrane liner needs to be anchored and/or ballasted against uplift by dynamic

pressure and the exposed portion of the geomembrane has to be able to withstand stresses

generated by uplifting.

As indicated earlier in this paper, to minimize the impact on the canals hydraulic

performance, the geomembrane is left exposed in a part of the side slopes (Figure 6). Prior

to designing the ballasting, it was necessary to analyze the uplifting of the exposed portion of

the geomembrane by the dynamic pressure to determine: (i) the factor of safety of the

geomembrane; and (ii) the amount and direction of the geomembrane tensions that the

ballast will have to resist. The uplifting of the geomembrane is governed by the tensioned

membrane theory (Giroud 1981). This theory gives a relationship between geomembrane

tension and strain for a given dynamic pressure and a given geomembrane span (i.e., width

of exposed geomembrane). This relationship, which is independent of the tensile

characteristics of the geomembrane, is represented in Figure 7 by the uplift curve.

analytically from the dynamic

pressure and the exposed

geomembrane span; and

geomembrane tension-strain

curve obtained from test on a

geomembrane specimen.

The point that represents the geomembrane tension and strain must obviously be on the

tension-strain curve of the geomembrane. Therefore, the tension and strain of the uplifted

geomembrane must be at the intersection of the two curves, the uplift curve and the tensionstrain curve, as shown on Figure 7. The method, presented graphically in Figure 7, can be

implemented analytically if the equation of the tension-strain curve of the geomembrane is

known. This is the case with the composite PVC geomembrane adopted for the project. In

fact, with this composite geomembrane, the tension-strain curve is linear, which greatly

simplifies the calculations.

Then, there is a relationship between geomembrane strain and deflection, which depends on

the shape of the uplifted geomembrane. If the dynamic pressure is assumed to be uniformly

distributed over a certain portion of the geomembrane, this portion deflects with a circular

shape (Giroud 1981), and the relationship between geomembrane strain and deflection is

then given by a simple equation. Therefore, the shape of the uplifted geomembrane can be

determined once the geomembrane strain is known.

10

As a result of the analysis described above, the magnitude and the direction of the tension at

the edge of the exposed geomembrane (i.e., at the edge of the ballast zone) are determined.

These two parameters are needed for the design of the ballast.

Ballast design

When the geomembrane tension at the edge of the ballast is known in magnitude and

direction, then the ballast can be designed. Ballast should be stable in case of a seismic

event and able to resist tensile forces applied by the uplifted geomembrane. However,

geomembrane uplift and seismic event were not assumed to occur at the same time.

Stability analyses conducted for all types of ballast resulted in the sizing of the ballast (e.g.,

mass per unit area of articulated concrete blocks, cross section of gabions, cross section of

cobble zones). Thus:

The articulated concrete blocks (Figure 5) had to be sufficiently heavy to resist the

maximum tensile forces that may be applied by the exposed portion of geomembrane

and sufficiently heavy to resist uplifting by dynamic pressure applied directly under the

articulated concrete block mat. The potential deformation of the articulated concrete

block mat by the uplifted geomembrane was taken into account in the analyses.

The gabions (Figure 5) were subjected to stability analyses for uplifting, sliding and

overturning.

The cobble buttresses ballasting the lower part of the side slopes (Figure 6) were

subjected to stability analyses taking into account the tensile forces exerted by the

uplifted geomembrane and the potential deformation of the buttress by these forces. A

tapered cross section was adopted to enhance stability.

The upper slope ballast cobble zone (Figure 6) stability analyses showed that

reinforcement is needed to meet the dynamic and static stability criteria for this zone

(Jacka et al. 2013). Accordingly, the upper slope ballast cobble zone was constructed on

a geogrid anchored at the crest.

All of the above ballast solutions were technically viable, but there were significant

differences in cost and constructability. For example, articulated concrete blocks require

specialized equipment imported from overseas whereas cobbles are abundant close to the

site. However, the placement of cobbles requires heavy equipment that might, if left

unprotected, damage the geomembrane. A field test was conducted to evaluate the

placement of cobbles (Eldridge et al. 2013; Jacka et al. 2013). As a result of this field test: (i)

a nonwoven geotextile protection with a mass per unit area of 2000 g/m2 was used between

the composite PVC geomembrane and the cobble layer at the invert of the canal and

between the composite PVC geomembrane and the cobble buttresses in the lower part of

the side slopes of the canal; and (ii) a nonwoven geotextile protection with a mass per unit

area of 1000 g/m2 was used between the composite PVC geomembrane and the cobbles in

the upper part of the side slopes of the canal. Another construction consideration is the size

of the toe buttresses such that they could be constructed by equipment resting on the cobble

layer at the invert. These examples show that constructability was considered throughout the

projects design phase.

In conclusion, the cobble solution (Figure 6) was adopted based on cost, and ease and

rapidity of construction. In January-April 2013, construction of two of the three remediated

reaches has proceeded in accordance with the design and was completed ahead of

schedule. Thus, 5.73 km of the canal were lined in 12 weeks (84 days) including 66 working

days, which included approximately 14 working days for installation of cofferdams,

dewatering, re-watering and removal of cofferdams.

11

Conclusion

The design procedure for the geomembrane liner on a large hydropower canal in New

Zealand is more sophisticated than many designs for canal liners using geomembranes. The

procedure allowed the project to differentiate between potential performance characteristics

of different geomembranes and included a detailed design of various systems for the

protection and anchorage of the geomembrane. As a result, the project objectives could be

met with confidence. This paper provides a general description of the methodology used and

subsequent publications will provide greater detail of the design procedure.

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the owner of the canal for authorization and encouragement to

prepare this paper, and to D. Cazzuffi, J. Cowland, I.D. Peggs, A. Scuero, G. Vaschetti, and

J. Wilkes, for valuable comments.

References

Eldridge, J.J.; Scuero, A.; Vaschetti, G.; Cowland, J. 2013. Advance planning for the

installation of the geomembrane liner for the Tekapo Canal Remediation Works.

Proceedings of the NZSOLD/ANCOLD Conference: Multiple Use of Dams and Reservoirs,

Rotorua, New Zealand.

Giroud, J.P. 1981. Designing with Geotextiles. Matriaux et Constructions 14(82), 257-272.

Giroud, J.P.; Goldstein, J.S. 1982. Geomembrane Liner Design. Waste Age 13(9), 27-30.

Giroud, J.P. 1984. Analysis of Stresses and Elongations in Geomembranes. Proceedings of

the International Conference on Geomembranes, Vol. 2, Denver, Colorado, USA, June

1984, pp. 481-486.

Giroud, J.P. 1994. Mathematical Model for Geomembrane Stress-Strain Curve with a Yield

Peak. Geotextiles & Geomembranes13(1), 1-22.

Giroud, J.P.; Soderman, K.L. 1995. Comparison of Geomembranes Subjected to Differential

Settlement. Geosynthetics International 2(6), 953-969.

Giroud, J.P. 2005. Quantification of Geosynthetics Behavior. Geosynthetics International

12(1), Special Issue on Giroud Lectures, 2-27.

ICOLD 2010. Geomembrane sealing systems for dams, Bulletin 135.

Jacka, N.; Dann, C.; Eldridge, J.J. 2013. Remediation of the Tekapo Canal. Proceedings of

the NZSOLD/ANCOLD Conference: Multiple Use of Dams and Reservoirs, Rotorua, New

Zealand.

Mejia, L.; Dawson, E. 2013. Seismic evaluation of embankments for the Tekapo Canal

Upgrade Project, Proceedings of the NZSOLD/ANCOLD Conference: Multiple Use of Dams

and Reservoirs, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Technical University Munich 2005. Exposed Thermoplastic Geomembranes for Sealing of

Water Conveyance Canals, Guidelines for Design, Supply, Installation, No. 103.

12

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