Geomembranes are the most widely used components of liner and cover systems throughout the world. Arguably they are the most critical components of such systems. Millions of square meters of geomembrane have been used as liquid barriers over the past 20 years. However, there is debate over how to properly determine the performance tensile characteristic of these materials. This paper attempts to shed some light on obtaining uniaxial performance responses of commercially available geomembranes via ASTM D 4885, Standard Test Method for Determining Performance Strength of Geomembranes by the Wide Strip Tensile Method.
Over the past ten years since the test method was issued, several inconsistencies have been identified with the method. Such inconsistencies make it difficult for laboratories to generate comparable results while utilizing the standard. Areas of concern are specimen preparation, clamping, strain rates and data reduction. It is hoped that the paper may help promote uniform and consistent wide-width geomembrane testing. This paper contends that wide-width geomembrane testing is a performance test and that it should only be used for the purpose of design and research.
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