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Do Powdered Bentonites Seal Better Than Granular Bentonite? Yes!  

Geosynthetic Clay Liners (GCL) are a widely used product that work with compacted clay liners and geomembranes to maximise landfill liner system efficiency. With a number of GCL products available on the market, one noticeable difference between these products is the nature of the raw bentonite material.

In many cases, ELCOSEAL GCLs can completely replace, or significantly reduce, the thickness of the required compacted clay landfill liner, by demonstrating an equivalency in advective leakage rate.
As the first and only GCL to be made in Australia, ELCOSEAL has been at the forefront of environmental, civil and landfill liner applications since 1996.
A world-class GCL, ELCOSEAL is manufactured from a premium powdered bentonite sourced from reputable Australian suppliers. Whereas other low cost GCLs may contain a granular bentonite with a much lower degree of processing and refinement.

Powdered bentonites undergo additional processing in the form of heating and pulverising the raw material, compared to granular bentonites. Research (Churchman et al., 2002; Gates, 2005 and Nzengung et al., 2001) shows that this additional processing increases the specific surface area of the powder which, in turn, enhances the reactivity or swelling to liquids and improves sealing performance.
A YouTube video highlights the superior initial sealing performance of powdered bentonite by showing a comparison of the immediate sealing performance of ELCOSEAL powdered bentonite GCL with a GCL containing granular bentonite.

The video shows that the GCL containing granular bentonite can take up to 30 minutes to form a complete seal. Based on its performance in this test, this GCL could allow up to three litres to flow through the 100 millimetre diameter sample, over this time period. This can be potentially dangerous if liquids that have a negative effect on sealing performance, such as acids, alkalis, hydrocarbons etc, permeate through the granular GCL. The granular bentonite may never completely re-seal because the entire bentonite thickness within the GCL is exposed to these aggressive liquids.

For further information please contact John Buckley at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or on 07 5594 8600

I would like more info.

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