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Geomembrane Comparisons: Why Thicker Is Not Always Better

Jun. 21, 2022

There are many misconceptions across the geomembrane industry about what constitutes an optimally manufactured geomembrane. One of the most prominent relates to their required thickness, which often leads to a common topic of deliberation among geomembrane experts and engineers: “Is a thicker membrane actually better?”


The Status Quo

A typical geomembrane has the consistency of a thicker garbage bag and is measured to be 60 mils thick. This material, known as 60 mil HDPE, is the industry standard. Many engineers are conditioned to believe that a thicker geomembrane will be a better geomembrane, which is not always the case.


Geomembrane Comparisons: Why Thicker Is Not Always Better


Life Expectancy and Environmental Stress 

One would think a thicker geomembrane would have a longer life expectancy. In reality, the thickness of a geomembrane has little impact on its life expectancy. The actual lifespan of a geomembrane is more dependent upon its strength and manufacturing process. And when it comes to environmental stress, many conclude a thicker geomembrane is a better choice. However, Luyuan Geomembrane is more puncture resistant and less likely to succumb to wear and tear.


Tensile Strength and Puncture Strength

The tensile strength of an Luyuan Geomembrane is mainly influenced by its base fabric or “scrim”. A typical HDPE geomembrane can stretch up to 200–300 percent, while the Luyuan Geomembrane will only stretch up to 20–25 percent. The HDPE geomembrane yields very quickly, where as a reinforced product such as an Luyuan Geomembrane takes a much higher tensile load where both the yield and breaking point are around 25% elongation.


Puncture Pack Proof

The facts and numbers behind this geomembrane thickness dispute are crucial when evaluating and comparing geomembrane materials. However, having physical proof that supports this “less is more” mentality is much more effective when demonstrating the ultimate strength of HDPE Geomembrane. This is why Luyuan Geomembranes developed a puncture pack that includes three samples of different geomembranes: a 60 mil HDPE sample and a 45 mil Polypropylene sample.

When choosing between the geomembranes, the puncture pack’s physical demonstration of the Geomembrane’s superior tensile and puncture strengths can ultimately prove that a thicker geomembrane is not always the better choice for your needs.


Geomembrane Comparisons: Why Thicker Is Not Always Better


Luyuan Geomembrane

Engineers are generally impressed with the chemical and UV resistance that Luyuan geomembranes provide, but often request the geomembrane be 60 mils thick rather than 30 mils, which is thin for a geomembrane. The reason the typical Luyuan Geomembrane material used for lining projects is 30 mils thick is because they’re enhanced with an internal reinforcing base fabric that adds extreme strength and puncture resistance. By comparison, unreinforced geomembranes such as HDPE become incrementally more puncture resistant with increased thickness. The difference is in the unique manufacturing process of Luyuan Geomembranes—it’s what allows them to be thin but extremely durable.


What other factors do you consider when comparing geomembranes? Contact us and tell us about them!