A numerical modeling approach has been developed for predicting temperatures in municipal solid waste landfills. Model formulation and details of boundary conditions are described. Model performance was evaluated using field data from a landfill in Michigan, USA. The numerical approach was based on finite element analysis incorporating transient conductive heat transfer. Heat generation functions representing decomposition of wastes were empirically developed and incorporated to the formulation. Thermal properties of materials were determined using experimental testing, field observations, and data reported in literature. The boundary conditions consisted of seasonal temperature cycles at the ground surface and constant temperatures at the far-field boundary. Heat generation functions were developed sequentially using varying degrees of conceptual complexity in modeling. First a step-function was developed to represent initial (aerobic) and residual (anaerobic) conditions. Second, an exponential growth-decay function was established. Third, the function was scaled for temperature dependency. Finally, an energy-expended function was developed to simulate heat generation with waste age as a function of temperature. Results are presented and compared to field data for the temperature-dependent growth-decay functions. 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



URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cenv_fac/296