This course covers basic principles related to design and evaluation of conventional covers for waste containment systems. Barrier systems covered include compacted clays, geomembranes, and geosynthetic clay liners. Issues include impacts of wetting and drying and freezing and thawing on barriers, drainage layer design, basic principles of veneer stability.
Craig H. Benson, PHD, PE, NAE
Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science
Dr. Benson’s expertise falls broadly in the discipline referred to as geoenvironmental engineering. This discipline is at the interface of the built and natural environments, and deals with issues in the subsurface or interactions between conditions at the earth’s surface and the subsurface. In most cases, the important objectives are protecting soil and ground water or engineering systems that reduce emissions or save energy. Achieving these objectives requires knowledge of the mechanisms controlling energy and mass transfer in the subsurface and development of creative approaches to control the rate at which energy and/or mass is transferred. These principles are applied to controlling contaminant migration in the unsaturated zone and ground water, managing the movement of heat and water in near-surface soils, and assessing energy usage and emissions associated with geological engineering structures at the interface of the earth’s surface.
His research in geoenvironmental engineering fits in three broad classes: sustainability assessment of geological and civil engineering systems, reuse and recycling of industrial byproducts for sustainable construction applications, and design and assessment of environmental containment systems for municipal, hazardous, and radioactive wastes. In each of these areas, we emphasize a full range of study from basic theory to practice and address energy and mass transfer issues. Our research includes fundamental laboratory studies, development of computer models, and practical field demonstration of new technologies. In many cases, our research findings are validated at full-scale in operating facilities or infrastructure in collaboration with industry and/or government agencies.