DigitalCommons at Cal Poly


Analytical and Numerical Methodology for Modeling Temperatures in Landfills

Published in Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, June 22, 2008. 8 pages. Copyright © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education.


Analytical and numerical approaches have been developed for modeling temperatures in municipal solid waste landfills. Steps for model formulation and details of boundary conditions are described. The formulation was based on a transient conductive heat transfer analysis. Conventional earth temperature theories were modified for landfill systems by incorporating heat generation functions representing biological decomposition of wastes. Finite element analysis was used for general modeling and parametric evaluations. Thermal properties of materials were determined using field observations and data reported in literature. The boundary conditions consisted of seasonal temperature cycles at the ground surface (established using near-surface field measurements) and constant temperatures at the far-field boundary (established using field measurements and maps of regional groundwater temperatures). For heat generation, first a step-function was developed to provide initial (aerobic) and residual (anaerobic) conditions. Second, an exponential growth-decay function was established; and third, the function was scaled for climatic conditions. The formulations developed can be used for prediction of temperatures within various components of landfill systems (liner, waste mass, cover, and surrounding subgrade), determination of frost depths, and determination of heat gain due to decomposition of wastes.


Civil and Environmental Engineering