The FGI is proud to highlight our members' projects utilizing fabricated flexible geosynthetics. Check out some
of the creative projects, understand why certain products were selected, and read the project descriptions
as well as the important lessons learned.
The Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) grew out of the PVC Geomembrane Institute (PGI), which was an industry-based research center based in Michigan that focused on the appropriate use of PVC geomembranes in containment applications. In 1998, the PGI sought proposals from various universities to establish a technical collaboration and liaison to increase research and technology transfer related to PVC geomembranes. In 1998, the PGI accepted Dr. Timothy D. Stark’s proposal to collaborate with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). From 1998 to 2009 the PGI operated from the UIUC and conducted various short courses, developed and promulgated material specifications for PVC geomembranes, and conducted research on geomembrane durability, minimum plasticizer molecular weight needed for long-term durability, constructing and monitoring a long-term field test section in Hibbing, Minnesota, and various other topics related to PVC geomembranes.
In 2009, Dr. Stark proposed to broaden the PGI to include other flexible geomembranes that could be factory-fabricated into large panels, transported to a project site, and quickly installed. This expanded the PGI to include other geomembrane polymers, such as, flexible polypropylene, Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE), Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM),Chlorosulphonated Polythylene (CSPE), Ethylene Interpolymer Alloy (EIA),Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH), and others. After about four years of discussion from 2009 to 2013, the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) was founded in Illinois and based at the UIUC. In 2013 Dr. Stark and the first FGI President(Andrew Mills) launched the FGI with an innovative dues structure. The initial operating budget was estimated and it was proposed that the more members that joined the FGI, the lower the annual dues would be. This resulted in a large number of companies joining the FGI and a simple dues annual structure of$2,000 per manufacturer and fabricator/installer members, which is still in operation today.
The FGI focuses on the research of flexible geomembrane or geosynthetic materials that can be prefabricated in a controlled factory environment resulting in more constant, uniform, and predictable completed seams than in the field and less installation damage because of the shorter installation time.
The FGI now offers monthly webinars, short courses, and podcasts all over the world and supervises research on fabricated flexible geosynthetic materials using graduate and undergraduate students from the UIUC. The FGI website provides various resources, including, calculators to estimate pond leakage with and without geomembrane wrinkles, cost comparison between factory and field seam fabrication, panel weights for shipping, anchor trench design, and others, flexible geomembrane installation and attachment details for typical ponds, geomembrane testing videos, an online PDH program, geo-engineering quizzes, a geomembrane product and equipment guide, field and factory safety messages, and more! We hope you will participate in some of these activities and eventually consider joining the FGI. For more information, please visit fabricatedgeomembrane.com.
The Geo-Institute (G-I) of the ASCE provides the Cross-USA Lecture Tour to local G-I chapters and Graduate Student Organizations as an ongoing program to enhance the prestige of the Geoprofession and local events. The Cross-USA G-I Lecturer is a nominated distinguished geoprofessional that has to visit at least five different U.S. locations during the tour. Dr.Stark provided the host groups with a choice of thirty lecture topics and each group selected the topic to be presented at their location.
Timothy D. Stark, Ph.D.,P.E., a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an expertise in geotechnical and geosynthetics engineering, was selected by the G-I Local Involvement Committee to be the 2022–2023 Cross-USA lecturer. Dr. Stark says all geoprofessionals are invited and encouraged to attend the meetings because the lectures are geared toward practicing geotechnical engineers and include recommendations for best practices as well as some lessons learned from major projects. He has been involved in a number of projects on these topics, which has facilitated the transfer of his research results to practice.
Dr. Stark says one of the highpoints of the tour for him has been “traveling to many G-I chapters and meeting hundreds of practitioners, students, academicians, contractors and other geoprofessionals. A couple of interesting developments during the Cross-USA Tour include attracting 138 geoprofessionals to the first in-person meeting of the Louisiana G-I chapter and serving as the keynote speaker for a number of regional conferences.”
The Cross-USA Lecture Tour started on September 19, 2022, and continued through early November 2023. The 23 tour stops included Blacksburg, Va.; Hershey, Pittsburgh and Valley Forge, PA.; San Diego, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; metropolitan New York, N.Y.; Atlanta, Ga.; Ames, Iowa; Jackson, Miss.; New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA.; Columbus, OH; Tampa, FL, Smithfield, VA, Louisville, KY, and three G-I virtual presentations that are available on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAw_li-bQfAWRso-1OwNebw.
During the tour, Dr. Stark discussed case histories such as: fill placement on a slope, toe excavation and deep bedrock landslide, 3D analysis of the Yeager Airport reinforced soil slope failure, and 2014 Oso, Washington Landslide: failure mechanism and runout analysis. He also covered technical topics that include 3D slope stability analyses, design geosynthetic interface strengths for landfill stability, drained soil shear strengths for static slope stability analyses, behavior of textured geomembrane/nonwoven geotextile interfaces, importance of design peer review, drilled shaft integrity testing, a new flow failure assessment procedure for dams and embankments, and the effect of liquids on geosynthetic interface strength and landfill slope stability. Some of these topics will be coming to the FGI Webinar Series in the near future.
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