Geomembranes and Their Applications

Geomembranes and Their Applications

Half-Day Short Course on:

Introduction to Geomembranes and their Applications
in Reservoirs, Dams, Canals and Waste Storage Landfills

By J.P. Giroud

Geomembranes are materials, with quasi-zero permeability, that belong to the geosynthetics family. Today, geomembranes are the material of choice to create waterproof liners in geotechnical structures that contain liquids. This short course will be divided into six modules: (1) Types and properties of geomembranes, and comparison with traditional materials; (2) Leakage control and concept of liner systems; (3) Challenges associated with the use of geomembranes (e.g. risk of uplift, protection against damage, stability of liner systems, long-term performance, etc.); (4) Uses of geomembranes in reservoirs; (5) Uses of geomembranes in embankment dams and concrete dams; (6) Uses of geomembranes in waste storage landfills. The use of geomembranes in canals will be mentioned only briefly, because this is the subject of a keynote lecture.

Learning outcomes: At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Select a geomembrane for a given application based on performance and durability.
  • Select a geomembrane for a given application based on performance and durability.
  • Compare geomembranes to other low-permeability materials (e.g. clay, concrete).
  • Understand the leakage mechanisms and the leakage control methods.
  • Evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of materials associated with geomembranes.
  • Be aware of the wide range of applications of geomembranes..

Short Bio


Dr. Giroud, Chevalier in the Order of the Légion d’Honneur and a former professor of geotechnical engineering, is a consulting engineer, member of the US National Academy of Engineering, Doctor Honoris Causa of the Technical University of Bucharest, Past President of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS), Chairman Emeritus and founder of Geosyntec Consultants, and Chairman of the Editorial Board of Geosynthetics International. Dr. Giroud has authored over 400 publications. He coined the terms “geotextile” and “geomembrane” in 1977. He has developed many of the design methods used in geosynthetics engineering and has originated a number of geosynthetics applications. In 1994, the IGS named its highest award “The Giroud Lecture”, “in recognition of the invaluable contributions of Dr. J.P. Giroud to the technical advancement of the geosynthetics discipline”; a Giroud Lecture is presented at the opening of each International Conference on Geosynthetics. In 2002, Dr. Giroud became Honorary Member of the IGS with the citation “Dr. Giroud is truly the father of the International Geosynthetics Society and the geosynthetics discipline”. In 2005, Dr. Giroud has been awarded the status of “hero” of the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and has delivered the prestigious Vienna Terzaghi Lecture. In 2005-2006 he presented the Mercer Lectures, a prestigious lecture series endorsed jointly by the IGS and the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE). In 2008, J.P. Giroud delivered the prestigious Terzaghi Lecture of the ASCE. In 2016, Dr. Giroud delivered the prestigious Victor de Mello Lecture of the ISSMGE and, in 2017, the prestigious Széchy Lecture, in Budapest. Dr. Giroud has 56 years of experience in geotechnical engineering, including 48 years on geosynthetics.