What Are Geo-Textiles?

Geo-Textiles can be defined as “a fabric or synthetic material placed between the soil and a pipe, gabion or retaining wall; to enhance water movement and retard soil movement and act as a blanket to add reinforcement and separation.” These are generally made up of woven, nonwovens and knitted type of fabrics. Geo-Textiles also known as Industrial Textiles, High Performance Textiles, Engineered Textiles, Technical Textiles and Industrial Fabrics are specially designed and engineered structures that are generally used in processes /services of non textile industries. They are materials and products manufactured primarily for their technical and performance properties rather than for aesthetic and decorative characteristics.

These are generally made up of woven, non-wovens and knitted type of fabrics. Geo-Textiles are the largest group of geo-synthetics in terms of volume and are used in geo-technical engineering, heavy construction, building and pavement construction, hydro-geology, environment engineering. Technical Textiles is the fastest growing branch of textile industries worldwide with bright prospects. The total global sale of Technical Textiles in 1995 was US$42 bn. It is estimated to be US$72 bn in 2005 and is expected to reach US$126 bn by 2010. Asia is the chief producer and consumer of Technical Textiles.

Uses of different types of Geo-Textiles are as follows:

Woven geo-textiles concrete bases used for coastal works, water ways, embankments and in forming geocell for road

Nonwoven geo-textiles used for Filtration, drainage, reinforcement between soil stone or aggregate and in roads, railways works, erosion prevention and separation. As filter fabric for dams, under drainage system liners for pile foundation, coated pvc and bitumen s to skin traction

Knitted geo-textiles used Knitted bags for protection of dam’s riverbank etc. Warp knitted fabric of Kevlar yarns used in automobile and marine application.

It is also used with foundations, soil, rock, earth or any other related material as an integral part of human man made project, structure or system.

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4 Ways Geosynthetic Textiles Have Solved Civil Engineering Problems

Over the past decade a greater emphasis has been placed on the development and manufacturing of geosynthetic textiles. While the geosynthetics industry is comparatively new, it has already created products with applications in a wide range of industries including geotechnical, transportation, hydraulic, embankment management, and mining. In many cases, a single geosynthetic textile can solve or improve multiple civil engineering problems simultaneously.

The first example of a geosynthetic textile application is the use of a prefabricated pocket style vertical drain made from a nonwoven filter jacket specialized as a PVD filter material. The purpose of this product was to reduce the time needed for construction by quickly discharging water in the ground which speeds up the soil consolidation process. Overall, it proved to reduce construction time and speed up the consolidation of soft ground in a variety of different situations including road construction, the development of building sites, construction of gas and oil storage facilities, and bank revetment.

The second example of how geosynthetic textiles can provide solutions to civil engineering problems is the polyester woven geotextile mat. It is created from a high tenacity polyester filament which is highly dense. This particular geosynthetic textile has been used to reinforce soft ground and embankments, separate layers of sand and soft ground, prevent the uneven settlement of soft ground, and securing a safe path of travel for heavy equipment across soft ground.

The third example is a silt curtain or fence created by geosynthetic textiles. A silt curtain is installed in the water to prevent the spread of environmentally dangerous contaminants. These contaminants often result from coastal and Riverside construction projects although it can also be used in the event of an open water spill or leak. It has been shown effective at preventing the spread of fine soil and sand induced by construction. It can also prevent the contamination of the nearby seaports and help preserve sea farming and area beaches.

The fourth and final example of geosynthetic textiles assisting with civil engineering problems is the polyester needle punched nonwoven geotextile. It is typically made of continuous filament fiber to promote fast drainage and filtration. It has been used to help prevent landslides, control erosion on banks, protect waterproof layers in landfills, prevent road tracking, and protect waterproof sheets and tunnels.

There is no doubt geosynthetic textiles will continue to play a greater role in finding workable solutions to civil engineering problems across the globe. As their production continues to scale, prices will decrease which will lead to an increase in availability as well as further research and development.

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