Reinforcement of roads using fabrics began in 1926; it was an attempt by the South Carolina Highway Department. They first placed a heavy cotton fabric on the primed earth surface base, followed by the application of hot asphalt on the fabric, and then put a thin layer of sand on the asphalt. They later published the result of this work in 1935, describing eight distinct field experiments. Until when the fabrics deteriorated, their results revealed that roads were in better condition and that the fabrics minimized raveling, cracking, and localized road failures. This project foresaw the reinforcements and separation functions of geo-synthetics as known today.
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What Are Geosynthetics?
Geosynthetics perform five main functions: reinforcement, separation, drainage, filtration, and moisture barrier. There are several types of geosynthetics, some of which are; geogrids, geomembranes geonets, geocomposites, geotextiles, and others.
Geotextile; is one of the geosynthetic materials. It is a water-permeable geosynthetic material made of polypropylene or polyester through needle weaving or punching. The width of a geotextile is normally about 4 to 6 meters, while its length is normally about 50 to 100 meters. Both non-woven filament and woven geotextile fall under geotextile. Some of the geotextile features include;
- Whether dry or wet, they maintain high strength and elongation
- They have a very good water permeability
- Geotextile materials are softer and lighter, making them more convenient during convenient.
- They resist acids and alkalis, and geotextiles cannot be eroded despite the acids or alkaline PH value.
- Geotextiles have very good antibacterial performance. They do not damage insects and microorganisms.
Geogrids are two or three-dimensional grid screens with a particular height, made of fiber, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, and macromolecular polymers by thermoplastic, molded, or woven. There are several geogrids, such as steel plastic geogrid, multiaxial geogrid, pp mining geogrid, fiberglass geogrid, and many more. Some of the geogrid features include
- It can withstand machines to prevent damage of construction during the construction process.
- It is suitable for operation in the deep sea and reinforcing embankments.
- It has high strength, reduced creep, and is suitable for different environmental soils.
- It promotes the interlocking and occlusal effect of the reinforced bearing surface.
Geonets are geosynthetic materials comprising integrally combined parallel sets over similar sets at different angles for in-plane drainage of gases or liquids. Geonets are normally laminated with geotextiles on both sides and then referred to as drainage geo-composites.
Geocells; consist of a strong three-dimensional structure enclosing a network of connected cells that confine the compact soil. The confinements prevent soil erosion and promote the structural performance of soil or aggregate infill, promoting alternatives to reinforce concrete or amour. The cellular confinement systems collapse; lightweights are handled safely and easily on-site.
Geocomposites; are types of geosynthetics made by combining two or more geo-synthetics. They include geotextile-geonet, geotextile-geogrid, geosynthetic clay liner, or geonet-geomembrane. Prefabricated vertical drains or prefabricated geo-composite drains are made of plastic drainage cores surrounded by a geotextile filter.
In summary, every geo-synthetic has a feature that makes it unique and able to fit its purpose. Choosing the right geo-synthetic should be done by the right professional depending on the requirements and type of construction.