Advantages and Disadvantages Of Commonly Used Synthetic Geomembranes

Advantages & Disadvantages of Common Geomembrane Types

Geomembrane quality begins with base polymer resin selection.  It is important to select or specify high-grade polymer resins that have been manufactured to meet the specific, unique demands encountered by geomembranes.

Polymeric geomembrane properties are a function of the chemical structure of the base polymer resin, the molecular weight, the molecular weight distribution and the polymer morphology (e.g. the crystallinity).  Next, it is necessary to select the right combination of additives to protect the geomembrane, such as premium carbon black as well as antioxidant additives and stabilizer to ensure long life even in exposed conditions.  Finally, it is necessary to select the most appropriate geomembrane manufacturing & installation method.




HDPE Broad chemical resistance
Good weld strength
Good low temperature properties
Relatively inexpensive
Potential for stress cracking
High degree of thermal expansion
Poor puncture resistance
Poor multiaxial strain properties
LLDPE Better flexibility than HDPE
Better layflat than HDPE
Good multiaxial strain properties
Inferior UV resistance to HDPE
Inferior chemical resistance to HDPE
fPP Can be factory fabricated and folded

so fewer field fabricated seams
Excellent multiaxial properties
Good conformability
Broad seaming temperature window

Limited resistance to hydrocarbons

and chlorinated water

PVC Good workability and layflat

Easy to seam
Can be folded so fewer field

fabricated seams

Poor resistance to UV and ozone

unless specially formulated
Poor resistance to weathering

Poor performance at high and low


CSPE Outstanding resistance to UV and

Good performance at low

Good resistance to chemicals, acids

and oils

Cannot be thermally welded after


EPDM Good resistance to UV and ozone
High strength characteristics
Good low temperature performance
Excellent layflat behaviour
Low resistance to oils, hydrocarbons

and solvents
Poor seam quality

Butyl rubber Good resistance to UV and

Good resistance to ozone

Relatively low mechanical properties
Low tear strength
Low resistance to hydrocarbons
Difficult to seam
Nitrile rubber Good resistance to oils and fuels (but

not biodiesel)

Poor ozone resistance unless properly


Poor tear strength


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