R. Kerry Rowe BSc, BE, PhD, DEng., DSc(hc), FRS, NAE, FREng, FRSC, FCAE, Dist.M.ASCE, FEIC, FIE(Aust), FCSCE, P.Eng, CP.Eng.

Barrington Batchelor Distinguished University Professor

Civil Engineering, Faculty
Phone: 613-533-3113
Fax: 613-533-2128
Ellis Hall, Room: 229B

Expertise: Contaminant migration, landfill design, tailing storage facilities, reinforced embankments and walls, geosynthetics, tunnels in soft ground, anchors, retaining walls and pile foundations
R. Kerry Rowe
Biography Research Publications Awards & Grants Graduate Students

My research projects help to address the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:


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Educated at Fort Street High School (1964-1969) and the University of Sydney in Sydney Australia where he was awarded a BSc (Computer Science) in 1973, BE (Hons I, Civil Engineering) and the University Medal in 1975, a PhD in 1979 and D.Eng in 1993. He was awarded a DSc(hc) by Western University in 2016 in recognition of his contribution to both the advancement of the science and the engineering practice in environmental protection. Dr. Rowe worked as a geotechnical engineer with the Australian Government Department of Construction (1974-1978) prior to emigrating to Canada in December 1978. He spent 22 years as a professor, including 8 years as Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada  (1979-2000). From 2000-2010 he served as Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada where he was responsible for the administration of all research (in Business, Education, Humanities, Law, Social Sciences, Physical and Biological Sciences, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Health Sciences and Medicine) conducted at Queen's. He is presently the Barrington Batchelor Distinguished University Professor and the Canada Research Chair in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at Queen’s. He is the lead author of the book "Barrier Systems for Waste Disposal Facilities", and editor of the Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering Handbook for Kluwer Academic Publishers. He has more than 440 refereed journal papers, 3 books, 20 book chapters, and 360 full conference papers. His research and consulting has been in:

  • Contaminant migration through soil and rock
  • Landfill design
  • Containment of contaminated sites
  • Geosynthetics (including geotextiles, geomembranes, geogrids, geonets etc.)
  • Tailings storage facilities, heap leach pads, and dams
  • Reinforced embankments and walls
  • Tunnels in soft ground
  • Failure of slopes and excavations

A winner of both UWO (1996) and OCUFA (1997) Excellence in Teaching Awards, and the Queen's University Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision (2013), he has supervised over 100 graduate students, many of whom have won prizes for their research. He has been recognized by over 120 awards for his research including an NSERC Steacie Fellowship, Killam Prize, Killam Fellowship, R.F. Legget Medal, Sir John Kennedy Medal, The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee MedalQueen's University Excellence in Research Prize, ICE’s Thomas Telford Gold Medal, and the RSC’s Miroslaw Romanowski Medal. He has presented many prestigious lectures including the Giroud Lecture (2002), Rankine Lecture (2005), Manuel Rocha Lecture (2006), Casagrande Lecture (2011), and the Ferroco-Terzaghi Oration (2012), the Karl Terzaghi Lecture (2017) and the Mercer lecture (2019). In 2013, the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering created the R. Kerry Rowe Lecture to honour his seminal contributions to the development of geoenvironmental engineering and in 2022 the International geosynthetics Society created the IGS Kerry Rowe Lecture to honour his seminal contributions. To barrier system engineering. He has been elected to the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific society recognizing fundamental contributions to science, the Royal Society (of London, UK). He has also been elected a foreign member of the US National Academy of Engineering, a fellow UK Royal Academy of Engineering and both the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering as well as being a fellow of the Engineering Institute of CanadaAustralian Institution of EngineersCanadian Society for Civil Engineering, and a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is past president of the International Geosynthetics Society, the Canadian Geotechnical Society and the Engineering Institute of Canada.

He has been involved in the design and/or peer review of hydrogeology and/or design for more than 60 landfills in Canada, US and other countries, and has performed expert reviews of municipal solid wcaste landfills for the US EPA, US Dept. of Justice, Ontario Ministry of Environment, and Victorian Environmental Protection Authority, and of low-level radioactive waste landfills for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. He has served as an expert witness in numerous cases subject to litigation in USA, Canada, and Australia. He was the only non-US member of the U.S. National Academies Committee appointed to assess the performance of engineered waste containment barriers.  He has is presently serving on the the Scientific Advisory Board for a major NSF-fundedded project.

He was Editor of the highly regarded International Journal Geotextiles and Geomembranes for 25 years, and is subject Editor of Royal Society Open Science, Associate Editor of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal and Waste Management, presently serves on the Editorial Board of 10 other journals, and in the past has served 10 years on the editorial board of ASCE Journal Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering and 4 years on the Board of Geotechnique, amongst others. He was appointed an Office of the Order of Canada (O.C.) “For his seminal contributions to the field of geoenvironmental engineering, notably for his pioneering research in waste barrier systems.” 

Projects (selected cross-section)

  • International Review Board for Peter Sutherland Sr. East and West Dams and Generating Station
  • Evaluation of geomembrane liner options of two pump-storage dams, Israel
  • International Review Board for Caribou Falls Dam 2
  • Evaluation of the long-term performance of HDPE geomembranes used in two dams at the Alumbrera mine, Argentina
  • International Review Board for Sir Adam Beck Pump Storage Scheme Dyke, Niagara Falls
  • Expert review of the failure of a 10m high geosynthetic reinforced segmental block retaining wall
  • Design of a novel oil extraction facility to minimize methane escape
  • Liner report for 5 km2 tailing impoundment to be lined with a 60 mil liner for proposed copper/gold mine tailings
  • Recommendation for the clean up involving the possible use of a on-site landfill at the abandoned Wilkes Station, Antarctica [for Australian Antarctic Division]
  • Design of a liner system for the Northern Treatment Plant Concentrated Brine Pond
  • Peer review of final liner and cover design and construction plans – Port Hope low level nuclear waste landfill [for Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission]
  • Expert review of clean up measures related to the escape of landfill gas
  • Design, construction and monitoring of experimental containment areas to be used for the treatment of fuel contaminated soil at Australia’s Casey Station, Antarctica [together with the Australian Antarctic Division]
  • Peer review of geological and hydrogeological environment technical support document for Darlington nuclear generation station refurbishment and continued operation project Environmental assessment
  • Design of a liner system for a brine pond recovery waters from fracking for natural gas
  • Expert review and report of gas migration from the Cranbourne (Stevenson Road) landfill
  • Expert review of a GCL lined sewage treatment pond failure, report and testimony
  • Assessment of causes of an HDPE geomembrane failure in a water lagoon after less than 5 years
  • Development of guidance documents for use of geosynthetics in landfill design and construction for Victoria Environmental Protection Agency
  • Peer review: Landfill with elevated landfill temperature [for U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency].
  • Assessment liner performance of geomembrane and clay liners used in in four landfill cells to contain PCB contaminated soil for 22-25 years
  • Design of Halton Landfill, Cell 3
  • Peer review of the Boral Western Landfill Works Approval Applications for an Enhanced Biodegradation Facility, Australia, for Victorian Environmental Protection Agency
  • Peer review of Fox Moraine Landfill
  • Peer review of the Tullamarine Monocell for Hazardous waste, Victoria, Australia for Victoria Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Peer review of the Long-term Hazardous waste Containment Facility for the State of Victoria, Australia for Victoria Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Member, Expert Panel on the Taro Landfill, for Ontario Minister of Environment
  • Design and/or peer review for more than 40 landfills including: Halton Landfill; Gallatin National Balefill; Grimsby Landfill; Keele Valley Landfill; Adams Mine; Salem Municipal Landfill; Steetley South Quarry Landfill Development; County of Simcoe Landfill in Tiny Township.
  • Flow and Contaminant Transport Modelling or Modelling review (e.g. Uranium tailings disposal, Rabbit Lake; Unitec industrial disposal site; Warwick, Innisfil , Peel, Edmonton, Elm St., Tom Howe, Cambridge, Canborough Landfills, Devilbend reservoir, Australia etc) .
  • Evaluation of geosynthetics (geotextiles, geomembranes and GCL'Äôs) for use in barrier systems.
  • Revision of the Guidelines for the Landfilling of Hazardous Waste for Environment Canada
  • Development of Design Standards for Ontario Landfills for Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
  • Evaluation of the Service Life of the Engineered Components of Landfills.
  • Evaluation of clogging of granular materials and tire shreds used in leachate collection systems.
  • Evaluation of the stability of a waste placed over a peat bog.
  • Over 20 geosynthetics projects including development of design and construction methods for reinforced embankments.
  • Foundation evaluations for foundations on soft rock in Australia & Canada
  • Evaluation of the performance of the Neebing-McIntyre Tunnel - Thunder Bay
  • Evaluation of the stability and deformations of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel due to condominium construction.
  • Evaluation of the stability and deformations of the Toronto Transit Commission Tunnel due to overlying construction at York and Bloor St.
  • Study of the performance of a very deep tunnel in the Venezuelan Andes: Yacambu-Quibor Project.

List of Publications

Awards and Honours

2022:  IGS Kerry Rowe Lecture announced by International Geosynthetics Society (IGS)

2021:   Best paper award, Geotextiles and Geomembranes

2021:   Runner-up for best paper published in Geosynthetics International

2020:  Distinguished Member American Society of Civil Engineers

2020:  Best paper award, Geosynthetics International

2020:   Best paper award, Geotextiles and Geomembranes

2019:  11th Mercer Lecture, International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) and the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) distinguished lecture

2019:  CSCE Donald R. Stanley Award

2019:  Best paper award, Geotextiles and Geomembranes

2019:  125th Anniversary Engineering Excellence Award, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Queen’s  University

2018:  Appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada (O.C.)

2018:  International Geosynthetics Society Award and Gold Medal

2018:  Nonveiller Lecture, annual distinguished lecture for Croatian Geotechnical Society, Zagreb

2018:  Prague Geotechnical Lecturer, annual distinguished lecture to Czech and Slovak Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Prague, Czech Republic

2018:  Honorary Professor, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China “in recognition of his scholarship and outstanding achievements”

2018:  Best paper award, Geotextiles and Geomembranes

2018:  Kersten Lecture

2018:  Australian and New Zealand Geomechanics Society Distinguished Lecture tour,

2017:  Victor Milligan Lecture

2017:  Best paper award, Geosynthetics International

2017:  Runner-up for best paper published in Geosynthetics International

2017:  16th  Croce Lecture – highest award of Italian Geotechnical Society, Rome.

2017:  Honorary Professor, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

2017:  ICE Telford Premium Prize (for best paper in Institution of Civil Engineers (UK)

2017:  Karl Terzaghi Lecture Award – highest award of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geo-Institute.

2016:  Runner-up for best paper published in Geosynthetics International 

2016:   Honourary Doctor of Science (D.Sc.):  Western University, London, Canada

2016:   Elected Foreign Member, US National Academy of Engineering.

2015:   Miroslaw Romanowski Medal, Royal Society of Canada.

2015:   Distinguished Lecturer, Institute of Advanced Study, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong.

2015:   Runner-up for best paper published in Geosynthetics International published in 2014

2015:   R.M. Quigley Award (Honourable Mention)

2015:   Thomas Telford Gold Medal (Best paper of all papers published in the 34 Civil Engineering Journals published by the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK)

2014:   Best Paper Award for best paper, 7th International Congress on Environmental Geotechnics

2014:   Best Paper Award from Geosynthetics International published in 2013

2014:   R.M. Quigley Award (Honourable Mention)

2014:   International Geosynthetics Society Award and Gold Medal for an Outstanding Contribution to the understanding of wrinkling in geomembranes.

2014:   CSCE Donald R. Stanley Award

2013:   International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) holds the first ISSMGE R. Kerry Rowe lecture, named in honour of his contributions to the formation and development of the discipline, at the international conference in Paris

2013:   Best paper award by Geosynthetics International in 2012

2013:   Queen’s University Award for excellence in graduate student supervision

2013:   Queen’s University Prize for excellence in research

2013:   Canadian Society for Civil Engineering: Thomas C. Keefer Medal (Honourable Mention)

2013:   Canadian Geotechnical Society: R.M. Quigley Award (Honourable Mention)

2012:   Canadian Geotechnical Society: R.M. Quigley Award 

2012:   The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal,

2012:   Killam Fellowship

2012:   Sir John Kennedy Medal, Highest award of the Engineering Institute of Canada

2012:   3rd Terzaghi Oration, Indian Geotechnical Society, New Delhi

2012:   7th Authur Casagrande Lecturer

2011:   Canadian Geotechnical Society: R.M. Quigley Award (Honourable Mention)

2011:   Distinguished Geotechnical Lecturer for 2011 ‑ Virginia State University and Polytechnique Institute.

2011:   Canadian Society for Civil Engineering: Casimir Gzowski Medal

2010:   Elected Fellow, Royal Academy of Engineering (UK).

2009:   Runner-up for best paper published in Geosynthetics International in 2008

2009:   3rd Zeng Guo-Xi Lecturer, Zhejiang University, China

2009:   5th John Adjeleian Lecturer, Carleton University, Canada

2008:   Best paper award by Geosynthetics International

2008:   Runner-up for best paper published in Geosynthetics International in 2007

2007:   Canadian Society for Civil Engineering:  Thomas C.  Keefer Medal

2007:   6th Lovell Distinguished Lecturer, Purdue University.

2006:   Distinguished Geoengineering Lecturer, 24th Annual Distinguished Lecture in Geoengineering, University of California, Berkeley

2006:   Canadian Geotechnical Society:  Honourable Mention

2006:   Elected Honorary Member, International Geosynthetics Society in recognition of “his exceptional service to the International Geosynthetics Society and his outstanding contribution to the geosynthetics industry”

2006:   Canadian Cross-Canada Lecture Tour

2006:   XXIII Manuel Rocha Lecture, the Portuguese Geotechnical Society, Lisbon.

2006:   Schiffman Lecture, Cornell University, Ithica

2006:   George F. Sowers Lecture, Georgia Section of ASCE and Georgia Tech, Atlanta

2005:   Canadian Geotechnical Society:  Honourable Mention

2005:   Distinguished Geotechnical Lecturer for 2005 Monash University, Melbourne.

2005:   The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Distinguished Lecturer for 2005, Hong Kong.

2005:   Outstanding Contribution Medal, awarded by the International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics for “outstanding and seminal research contributions in geomechanics that have been adopted for basic research and practical applications”.

2005:   45th Rankine Lecture in London (UK) March, 2005

2004:   Killam Prize for Engineering, Canada Council  (Canada’s highest award for engineering)

2004:   Canadian Society for Civil Engineering: Honourable Mention for Thomas C.  Keefer Medal

2004:   International Geosynthetics Society Award and Gold Medal

2003:   Legget Medal, Canadian Geotechnical Society

2003:   K.Y. Lo Medal, Engineering Institute of Canada

2002:   22nd Dineen Memorial Lecturer, University of New Brunswick

2002    Canadian Society for Civil Engineering:  Honourable Mention for Casmir Gzowski Medal

2001:   Elected Fellow, Royal Society of Canada

2001:   Elected Fellow, Canadian Academy of Engineering

2001:   Canadian Society for Civil Engineering: Thomas C.  Keefer Medal

2000:   Canadian Geotechnical Society Geoenvironmental Division Award

2000:   Canadian Geotechnical Society: Honourable Mention

2000:   Canadian Geotechnical Society Geosynthetics Division Award

2000:   Canadian Society for Civil Engineering:  Honourable mention for Keefer Medal

1999:   Canadian Society for Civil Engineering:  Honourable mention for Keefer Medal

1999:   A.G. Stermac Award for Service to the Canadian Geotechnical Society.

1999:   Ontario Ministry of Environment Award of Excellence for Research and Development

1998:   Elected Fellow, Canadian Society for Civil Engineering

1998:   Selected by the IGS Awards Committee to be the Giroud Lecturer (given every four years) at the 7th International Conference on Geosynthetics, in Nice, September 2002.

1998:   Engineering Science Prize for Achievement in Research

1998:   Elected Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers

1997:   Professional Engineers Ontario Engineering Medal - Research and Development.

1997:   Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations Excellence in Teaching Award.

1997:   Canadian Geotechnical Society:  Honourable Mention

1997:   Elected Fellow, Institution of Engineers, Australia.

1996:   Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Western Ontario.

1996:   International Geosynthetics Society Award and Gold Medal

1996:   Canadian Geotechnical Society: Honourable Mention -

1994:   Canadian Geotechnical Society: Honourable Mention

1993:   Finalist in North American Geosynthetic Society Award of Excellence

1993:   Elected Fellow Engineering Institute of Canada.

1993:   Service Plaque of Canadian Geotechnical Society i

1992:   Canadian Geotechnical Society: Honourable Mention

1992:   Shamsher Prakash Research Award.

1991:   North American Geosynthetics Society Awards of Excellence, Grand Award 

1990:   International Geotextile Society "Special Recognition"

1990:   Canadian Geotechnical Society: Honourable Mention

1989:   Steacie Fellowship (1989-91) by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. 

1987:   Canadian Geotechnical Society Prize

1987:   "Canadian Geotechnical  Colloquium"

1986:   American Society for Testing and Materials Certificate "For an Outstanding Technical and  Scientific Contribution to the Control of Hazardous Waste"

1986:   Distinguished Geotechnical Lecturer for 1986 ‑ Virginia State University and Polytechnique Institute (VPI).

1985:   American Society of Civil Engineers Collingwood Prize

1985:   Canadian Geotechnical Society: Honourable Mention - Runner up for best paper in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal in 1984 (with M.D. MacLean , A.K. Barsvary and K.L. Soderman)

1984:   Canadian Geotechnical Society Prize for best paper in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal in 1983 (with K.Y. Lo and G.J. Kack)

1975:   The John Main Prize

1975:   The Bradfield Memorial Prize

1975:   The A.S. McDonald Prize of the Association of Consulting Structural Engineers of N.S.W.

1975:   Awarded the University Medal (University of Sydney)

1975:   B.E. Degree awarded with 1st Class Honours

Present Graduates


Gennaro, Tanner: The performance of geocomposite drains in simulated landfill conditions.

Past Graduates


Quinn, P.E. PhD, 2009 Journal Papers: 4 Conference Papers: 4
Thesis: Large landslides in sensitive clay in eastern Canada and the associated hazard and risk to linear infrastructure (Co-supervised with M.S. Diederichs & D.J. Hutchinson)
Publication: Quinn, P.E., Diederichs, M.S., Rowe, R.K. and Hutchinson, D.J. (2011). “A new model for large landslides in sensitive clay using a fracture mechanics approach”, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 48(8):1151-1162.

AbdelAtty, K. PhD, 2010 Journal Papers: 3 Conference Papers: 2
Thesis: Evaluation of the Environmental Protection provided by Composite Liner Systems
Publication: Rowe, R.K and Abdelatty, K. (2012). “Modeling contaminant transport through composite liner with a hole in the geomembrane”, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 49 (7): 773-781. 

McWatters, R. PhD, 2010 Journal Papers: 5 Conference Papers: 8
Thesis: Diffusive transport of VOCs through geomembranes
Publication: McWatters, R. and Rowe, R.K. (2010). “Diffusive transport of VOCs through LLDPE and two Co-Extruded Geomembranes”, ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 136(9): 1107-1177.

Taechakumthorn, C. PhD 2010 Journal Papers: 7  Book Chapter: 1 Conference Papers: 8
Thesis: Effects of reinforcement and soil viscosity on the behaviour of embankments over soft soil
Publication: Taechakumthorn, C. and Rowe, R.K. (2012) “Performance of a reinforced embankment on a sensitive Champlain clay deposit”, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 49(8): 917-927.

Hoor, A.  PhD 2011 Journal Papers: 4  Conference Papers: 3
Thesis: Effects of temperature on the service-life of landfill liners and potential temperature control strategies
Publication: Hoor, A. and  Rowe, R.K. (2012)  “Application of tire chips to reduce the temperature of secondary geomembranes in municipal solid waste landfills”, Waste Management , 32:901-911.

Mabrouk, A.  PhD 2012 Journal Papers: 3 Conference Papers: 1
Thesis: Analysis of a deep excavation in a gassy soil
Publication: Mabrouk, A. and Rowe, R.K. (2011) “Effect of gassy sand lenses on a deep excavation in a clayey soil", Engineering Geology, 122(3-4):292-302.

Chappel, M. PhD 2012 Journal Papers: 5 Conference Papers: 3
Thesis: A field scale evaluations of winkles in exposed HDPE geomembrane liners
Publication: Chappel, M.J., Rowe, R.K., Brachman, R.W.I. and Take, W.A. (2012). “A comparison of geomembrane wrinkles for nine field cases”, Geosynthetics International, 19(6): 453-469.

Yu, Y.  PhD 2012 Journal Papers:  7 Conference Papers: 7
Thesis: Modelling MSW leachate characteristics and clogging
Publication: Yu, Y. and Rowe, R.K. (2012) “Modelling leachate-induced clogging of porous media”, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 49(8): 877-890.

Abdelaal, F.B. PhD 2013 Journal Papers:  9 Conference Papers: 7
Thesis: Durability of HDPE geomembranes for municipal solid waste landfill applications
Publication: Abdelaal, F.B., Rowe, R.K. and Brachman, R.W.I. (2014) “Brittle rupture of an aged HDPE geomembrane at local gravel indentations under simulated field conditions”, Geosynthetics International, 21 (1): 1-23.

Ewais, A.M.R. PhD 2013 Journal Papers: 7 Conference Papers: 4
Thesis: Longevity of HDPE geomembranes in geoenviromental applications
Publication: Ewais, A.M.R. and Rowe, R.K. (2014) “Effects of blown film process on initial properties of HDPE geomembranes of different thicknesses”, Geosynthetics International, 21(1): 62-82.

Hosney, MS PhD 2014 Journal Papers: 6 Conference Papers: 6
Thesis: Performance of geosynthetic clay liners in cover, subsurface barrier, and basal liner applications
Publication: Hosney, M.S. and Rowe, R.K. (2013) “Changes in GCL properties after two years in a cover over arsenic-rich tailings” Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 50(3): 326-342.

Liu, K-W. PhD 2015 Journal Papers: 5  Book Chapter; 1 Conference Papers: 1
Thesis: Time-dependent performance of column-supported embankments involving viscous reinforcement and prefabricated vertical drains
Publication: Liu, K-W. and Rowe, R.K. (2015) “Numerical modelling of prefabricated vertical drains and surcharge on reinforced floating column-supported embankment behaviour”, Geotextiles and Geomembranes, 43(6): 493-505.

Rentz, A. PhD 2015 Journal Papers: 5 Conference Papers: 2
Thesis: Field performance of exposed composite liner systems
Publication: Rentz, A., Take W.A., Brachman, R.W.I.  and Rowe,  R.K., (2016) “Effect of geomembrane colour and cover soil on solar-driven down slope bentonite erosion from a GCL”, Geosynthetics International,  http://dx.doi.org/10.1680/jgein.15.00050

Saheli, P.T.  PhD 2016 Journal Papers:  4 Conference Papers:  4
Thesis: Transport of contaminants emerging of concern through geomembranes and GCLs
Publication: Saheli, P.T., Rowe, R.K. and Rutter, A. (2016) “Diffusion of bisphenol-A (BPA) through an HDPE geomembrane”, Geosynthetics International, http://dx.doi.org/10.1680/jgein.16.00009

Joshi, P. PhD 2016 Journal Papers: 7  Conference Papers: 3
Thesis: Hydraulic performance of geosynthetic liners in landfills and tailings storage facilities
Publication: Joshi, P., Rowe, R.K. and Brachman, R.W.I (2016) “Physical and hydraulic response of geomembrane wrinkles underlying saturated fine tailings", Geosynthetics International.

Jones, D.D. PhD 2016 Journal Papers: 4  Conference Papers: 7
Thesis: Containment of organic contaminants using geosynthetics
Publication: Jones, D.D. and Rowe, R.K. (2016) “BTEX migration through various geomembranes and vapour barriers”,  ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001502 

Francey, William: Analysis of geomembrane welding parameter on long and short-term seam integrity

High density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembrane is the most commonly used material for containment of contaminated fluids, soils, and waste. The geomembrane sheets are bonded together using a hot wedge welder or extrusion gun to melt and fuse overlapping sheets. Installation quality is largely determined by the experience of the welding technician, as there are currently few guidelines on how to adjust welding parameters, especially to suit harsh environmental conditions.  Welding speed, temperature, and pressure are welding parameters which are controlled by the technician and need to be correctly balanced to produce an weld which meets field acceptance criteria. However, uncontrollable parameters such as extreme hot or cold ambient temperatures, intense sun exposure, and the presence of moisture can lead to complications during installation. In particular, installation of HDPE geomembrane during extreme cold condition (ambient temperature <-25°C) is known to cause stress cracking along HDPE seams. Laboratory studies are being conducted to examine the effects of the welding parameters have on the various short and long-term properties of a geomembrane. Emphasis will be put on optimizing welding procedures to mitigate stress cracking failures during cold weather installation.

AbdelRazek, Ahmed: Interface transmissivity and hydraulic performance of GCLs in mining and landfill applications

The interface transmissivity between GCL and GMB under various laboratory conditions are being evaluated together with the hydraulic performance of GCL when permeated with solutions representing synthetic mining fluid and MSW leachates. The effect of GMB stiffness and texture, polymer enhancement of bentonite, permeant salt concentration and GCL prehydration conditions are examined for both traditional and multicomponent GCL types. In addition, numerical simulation of leakage in composite liners is also adopted to get a better estimate of leakage rates for various leakage scenarios.

Awad, Ramy: Long-term performance of HDPE and LLDPE geomembranes liners in brine containment and other applications

Accelerated ageing techniques are used to thoroughly investigate the service life stages of HDPE and LLDPE geomembrane liners used in to contain brine solution by monitoring the antioxidants depletion and the induction of mechanical properties degradation ultimately to the geomembrane nominal failure. Different brine solutions are used to monitor their effect on the geomembrane life stages. Another part of the research focuses on a 25-year-old geomembrane used in the containment of PCB contaminated waste. This part will give an insight on geomembranes produced in that period of time, how being in service for that period has affected their performance and how they compare to modern day geomembranes. The effect of initial stress crack resistance on the service life of the geomembrane is also investigated through physical simulation of a landfill liner profile where geomembrane liners are pre-aged to specific stress crack resistance values. A study on double liners is performed through physical simulations which will give insight into the long-term performance of the various components in the composite liner.

Baral, Anil: Performance of highly compacted bentonite and bentonite-sand mixture as sealing material for nuclear waste repositories in a highly saline environment 

Bentonite has been considered as a barrier for nuclear waste repositories for a long time. These barriers are constructed between canister and host rock to isolate the nuclear waste material which is placed inside deep repositories several hundred meters below ground level. Therefore, it is very important to understand the behaviour of under hydro-mechanical loading. This research involves laboratory experiments on bentonite and bentonite sand mixture under various test conditions. The Cobourg formation brine model water is consider as a testing fluid to understand how bentonite sealing materials perform when exposed to highly saline groundwater (200-300 g/L). Consideration is being given to compressibility, swelling pressure, water retention behavior, hydraulic conductivity, microstructure observation, sealing of technological voids subjected to pore fluid under different loading conditions.

Di Battista, Vanessa: Performance of Geosynthetic Barriers in Extreme Cold Climates 

The performance of geosynthetics is dependent on the installation environment; it is not uncommon for geosynthetics to be used in extreme environments such as the Canadian Arctic or Antarctica. Thus, understanding the impact of external factors, such as freeze-thaw cycles and extreme groundwater fluctuations, on the performance of geosynthetics is necessary to predict their practical viability. Using exhumed samples from Antarctica, various methods, such as x-ray images and permeability tests, are used to qualitative and quantitatively characterize differences in GCLs. Diffusion testing is also being performed on coextruded geomembranes for common groundwater contaminants. 

Li, Ti-Kang: Factors affecting GCL hydration and its subsequent performance - especially when damaged

Geosynthetic Clay Liners (GCLs) used as part of composite liner systems typically have a very low hydraulic conductivity when permeated with deionized water or tap water under a certain stress. However, the hydraulic performance of GCL is dependent on the extent to which it is hydrated in hydraulic containment applications. Laboratory experiments are being conducted to investigate the level of moisture uptake by GCL when it is in direct contact with permeant or subgrade. Different types of GCLs either with or without defects are placed in a permeant or on a subgrade to subject them to hydration and the variation of moisture content is being monitored periodically. Hydraulic conductivity tests are performed at the end of test in flexible wall permeameter. Consideration is being given to a range of stresses from low to high and subgrade with different initial moisture contents and grain size distribution are being examined.

Morsy, Mohamed: Performance of HDPE, LLDPE, and BPE Geomembranes in Various Geoenvironmental Applications

Geomembranes (GMBs) are used in various applications including landfills, mining facilities, and potable water reservoirs. In this study, accelerated aging tests will examine: (1) The effect of texturing on antioxidant depletion rate and degradation of physical properties of a high density polyethylene GMB, (2) The effect of morphological changes on the stress crack resistance of a wide range of GMBs, (3) The performance of high density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), and blended polyolefin (BPE) GMBs in chlorinated water, and (4) The service life of LLDPE and BPE GMBs in heap leach pad applications.

Shoaib, Mohamad: Durability and long-term strength of HDPE geomembrane and its seams in landfill, brine ponds and mining applications

The durability and long-term performance of high density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembrane (GMB) sheet and duel wedge welds are being examined in MSW landfill leachate and brine are being investigated. The research is examining (a) the GMB sheet away from the weld (SAW); (b) the heat affected zone beside the weld (HAZ); and (c) the welded zone (Weld), to investigate (i) the long term performance of geomembranes used as a component of the liner system and (ii) provide new insight regarding the long-term performance of wedge welded HDPE GMB seams. In  addition, consideration is being given to the long-term performance of GMB sheet in high and low pH mining solutions and GMB exposed to solar radiation.



Chou, Alan: Effect of geomembrane defects at Tailings Storage Facilities

Geomembrane have been widely regarded as an effective tool in reducing seepage and hydraulic gradient at Tailings Storage Facilities. However, geomembranes are prone to bear defects (holes) from installation, and their eventual degradation. Through past research, it has been shown that tailings can partially clog up these defects, and limit leakage through the defects. However, this clogging is predicated on several possible conditions: filter compatibility of tailings to the underliner materials, size of defect, and the stress condition. This study explores how sensitive the clogging effect is to the aforementioned conditions through large scale testing via Geosynthetic Liner Longevity Simulators developed at Queen's. The study aims to empirically define performance limits of geomembranes used as barriers in tailings storage applications, in challenging foundation conditions. 

Garcia, Jelica: Hydration of GCLs under isothermal and thermal cycling conditions

In landfill composite liner systems, GCLs are initially hydrated by moisture from underlying soil prior to exposure to waste leachate in order to reduce its hydraulic conductivity and improve performance. As a follow-up to Hosney et al’s (2016) research findings on the isothermal hydration of GCLs with powdered bentonite, this study comprises a series of laboratory experiments that monitors the performance of six different types of isothermally hydrated GCLs. The effects of varying subgrade water content, effective stress, bentonite grain size and polyethylene coating on the woven carrier geotextile on the performance of the prehydrated specimens are also investigated. In addition, three GCL types are tested for moisture uptake under thermal cycles and compared to the isothermally hydrated specimens.

Bostwick, L.E.  MASc, 2009 Journal Papers: 3 Conference Papers: 4
Thesis: Laboratory study of geosynthetic clay line shrinkage when subjected to wet/dry cycles
Publication: Bostwick, L.E., Rowe, R.K., Take, W.A. and Brachman, R.W.I. (2010). “Anisotropy and directional shrinkage of geosynthetic clay liners”, Geosynthetics International, 17(3): 1-14.

Beddoe, R. MASc, 2009 Journal Papers: 2 Conference Papers: 1
Thesis: Evaluation of the water retention behaviour for GCLs (Co-supervised with A. Take)
Publication: Beddoe, R.A., Take, W.A. and Rowe, R.K. (2011). “Water retention behaviour of geosynthetic clay liners”, ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 137(11): 1028-1038.

Verge, A. MASc, 2012 Journal Papers: 2  Conference Papers: 1
Thesis: Considerations in the design of barrier systems for landfills and lagoons
Publication: Verge, A.E. and Rowe, R.K. (2013) “A framework for a decision support system for municipal solid waste landfill design”, Waste Management & Research, 31(12): 1217-1227.

Irfan, H. MASc, 2013 Journal Papers: 2  Conference Papers: 1
Thesis: Physical performance of geomembranes used in heap leach pad applications
Publication: Rowe, R.K, Brachman, R.R.W., Irfan, H., Smith, M.E., and Thiel, R. (2013) “Effect of underliner on geomembrane strains in heap leach applications”, Geotextiles and Geomembranes, 40: 37-47.

Ashe, L.E. MASc, 2014 Journal Papers: 4  Conference Papers: 2
Thesis: An laboratory examination of down-slope bentonite erosion from GCLs
Publication: Ashe, L. Rowe, R.K., Brachman, R.W.I. and Take, W.A. (2014). “Laboratory simulation of bentonite erosion by downslope flow on a GCL”, ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 140 (8): 04014044-1 to 04014044-9

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