Geosynthetic Clay Liner Installation Image from Solmax

Geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) have a tremendous record as hydraulic barriers in engineered lining and capping systems. Still, they are not necessarily well understood by the larger geotechnical design community. They require knowledge not only of geosynthetics but of sodium bentonite types, behavior, and suitability in certain applications. Dr. Craig Benson, Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Virginia, is one of the most versed researchers in the world on GCLs and particularly in regards to bentonite and bentonite-polymer composites.

Benson will lead a four-part GCL webinar series to share essential knowledge with the engineering community. The University of Virginia will provide PDH/CEU support for registrants. The series begins 12 August 2020 with new installments coming every three months thereafter. Solmax has signed on as sponsor.


This is important support. Solmax is one of the world’s largest geosynthetics manufacturers and has a strong track record of supporting non-commercial education initiatives that improve the global geosynthetics practice. Benson’s series is particularly notable for its strong focus on GCL use in “aggressive conditions” and chemical compatibility.

Geosynthetica will feature Craig Benson on a forthcoming podcast.


The schedule for the series is as follows:

  • Fundamentals of GCLs as Hydraulic Barriers– 12 August, 2020 at 12:00 pm CDT
  • Bentonite-Polymer Composite GCLs for Aggressive Conditions– November 2020
  • Principles and Procedures for Evaluating GCL Chemical Compatibility– February 2021
  • Practical Lessons Learned from GCL Case Histories– May 2021

In the opening session, Benson will introduce the fundamentals to GCL function and performance, including description on the process by which bentonite transforms to a nearly impermeable gel when hydrated. That transition, the role of the montmorillonite fraction in the bentonite on swelling, and the resulting hydraulic conductivity will set the stage for the webinars to follow.

MORE GEO: The CGS GeoVirtual 2020 Registration Is Open

The opening session will utilize practical examples and the relevant standards (e.g., ASTM) used in the field. Freeze-thaw and wet-dry cycling will be discussed too.

The overall education series from Dr. Benson will give participants numerous tools to support their work in waste management, coal ash, mining, construction, environmental protection, and other critical infrastructure projects.


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Learn more about the University of Virginia College of Engineering