A micromechanical model of PVC geomembranes using a Discrete Element Method

  • Akel, Nesrin (INRAE)
  • Stoltz, Guillaume (INRAE)
  • Wautier, Antoine (INRAE)
  • Touze, Nathalie (INRAE)
  • Nicot, Francois (Univ Savoie Mont Blanc)

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Geomembranes play a crucial role in minimizing water loss in irrigation canals and reservoirs, especially in the face of increasing drought crisis caused by climate change. However, they might be subjected to mechanical solicitations, such as traction and punctures, which can compromise their waterproofing, resulting in significant water loss and structural failure. To the best of our knowledge, no prior research has yet proposed to relate the mechanical behaviour of geomembrane (and in particular their failure modes) to their specific microstructure features. To address this gap, this study introduces an original multiscale approach that takes advantage of the discrete element method (DEM) to construct a micromechanical model of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) geomembranes. The DEM model is designed to account for the semi-crystalline assembly of polymers embedded in a matrix of plasticizer. By adopting a multiscale perspective, this approach aims to bridge the existing research gap by examining the mechanical behavior and elucidating the internal mechanisms controlling the macroscopic behavior.