Geosynthetics- Types and applications.

Geosynthetics are a much-talked-of topic as they are finding a wider range of applications nowadays. According to Fortune business Insights, the global geosynthetics market was valued at USD 27.16 billion in 2018. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.6 percent to USD 45.25 billion by 2026.

The global geosynthetics market is being driven by growing construction activities. The rising applications in erosion management, landfill, and filtration also contributes for that.

All those who are curious about this multi-faceted material have landed in the right spot. In this blog, I will show you full details about geosynthetics. Are you ready to dig deeper about it?

 Geosynthetics Types:

Before we learn about geosynthetics types, let’s have a basic understanding about Geosynthetics material.

  • Geosynthetics are planar products made of polymeric materials. They are used in conjunction with soil, rock, earth, or other geotechnical engineering-related materials.
  • The products’ polymer nature makes them ideal for use in the ground where long-term durability is needed.
  • Geosynthetics are manufactured goods with at least one part made of a synthetic or natural polymer in the form of a sheet, strip, or three-dimensional structure.

The types of geosynthetics are further described in brief as follows:

  • Geotextiles
  • Geogrids
  • Geonets
  • Geomembranes
  • Geosynthetic claylines
  • Geoform
  • Geocells

Now we are good to go to know more about each of these.

Geo textiles

  • A geotextile is a continuous sheet made up of woven, non-woven, knitted, or stitch-bonded synthetic fibres or yarns.
  • These sheets are flexible and permeable. 
  • Separation, filtration, irrigation, stabilisation, and erosion control are all applications of geo textiles.
  • They are used to reinforce earth structures by using fill materials.
Geotextile
geotextile

Geogrids

  • Polymers with wide apertures between individual ribs in both the transverse and longitudinal directions, forming a very open, grid-like configuration. 
  • Produced by stretching rods in one, two, or three directions using traditional textile manufacturing methods such as weaving or knitting machines, or by laser or ultrasonically bonding rods.
  • Used to reinforce soil in retaining walls, and sub bases below roads or structures.
Geogrid
Geogrid

Geonets

  • Made by extruding parallel sets of polymeric ribs at acute angles to each other in a series of steps.
  •  Made up of three-dimensional networks of a rigid polymer or rigid polymer fibres.
  • The design purpose is the containment of a fluid. Hence they are used to transport a variety of fluids.

Geomembranes

  • Geomembranes are impervious polymeric sheets. They are used mainly for the linings and covers of liquid and solid storage facilities. 
  • The second-largest category of geosynthetics.
  • All types of landfills, surface impoundments, canals, and other containment facilities fall under this category. 
Geomembrane
geomembrane

Geosynthetic clay liners

  • GCLs, or geosynthetic clay liners, are an intriguing mix of polymeric materials and natural soils. 
  • They’re thin layers of bentonite clay fabricated in the factory. It is sandwiched between two geotextiles or bonded to a geomembrane. 
  • Needle-punching, stitching, or adhesive bonding ensures the structural integrity of the resulting composite. 
  • Applications

– Geoenvironmental and containment applications

– Transportation

– Geotechnical

– Hydraulic

– As a composite portion underneath a geomembrane. 

Geofoam 

  • A polymeric product made from polystyrene that has been processed into a foam with several closed cells filled with air and/or gases. 
  • The skeletal design of the cell walls is reminiscent of bone structures made of non-expanded polymeric material.
  •  They are huge, but extremely light, blocks. It can be stacked side by side and in layers to provide the lightweight fill.

Geocells

  • Also called Cellular Confinement Systems.
  • 3-D honeycombed cellular structures. When it is filled with compacted soil, forms a confinement system. 
  • The rigid (and normally textured and perforated) walls of a flexible 3D cellular mattress are extruded from polymeric materials into strips that are welded together ultrasonically in sequence. 
  • The cell-soil interactions produce a new composite object when it is filled with soil.
Geogrid
geogrid

Eager to know about their applications which made them immensely popular? Read on to know more about their uses.

Geosynthetics Applications

Separation

  • Separation is the use of a flexible geosynthetic material. It consists of a porous geotextile, between two dissimilar materials in order to maintain or strengthen the consistency and functionality of each.
  • Applications: Paved roads, unpaved roads, and railroad bases

Geosynthetics for Reinforcement:

  • The introduction of a geogrid, or geocell into the soil or other separated material results in a synergistic improvement of a total system’s strength. 
  • Application: Mechanically stabilised and retained earth walls, steep soil slopes.

Barrier:

  • Some geosynthetics can act as a relatively impermeable barrier. It prevents liquids and gases from mixing between the two soil layers.
  • Because of their low permeability, geomembranes are effective inhibitors.
  • Application: Pavement overlays

Drainage: 

  • Certain geosynthetics may also be used as a drain. They allow any fluid to flow through a low-permeable soil.
  • Non-woven geotextiles can help with drainage, and geocomposite can be used for high flows.
  • To avoid track faults, proper drainage is critical.

Geosynthetics for Protection: 

  • Geosynthetics can provide friction and perforation protection.
  • The geotextile will serve as a cushion over the geomembrane during construction, preventing or minimising damage to the ground floor layer.

Next, let’s study its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Geosynthetics

  • Geosynthetic sheets take up less room in landfills and can fit almost anywhere.
  • Since geosynthetic materials are processed in a quality-controlled workshop, they are homogeneous.
  • In comparison to traditional materials, it increases soil properties.
  • When compared to aggregates and soils, geosynthetic materials are less costly to buy, ship, and install.

Disadvantages of Geosynthetics

  • To ensure the long-term efficiency of the formulated resin in geosynthetics, additives like antioxidants, ultraviolet screeners, and fillers must be used.
  • Since geosynthetics are polymeric, their exposed lifespan is shorter than when they are unexposed.
  • For certain soil types (Loess soils, fine cohesionless silts, extremely turbid liquids) clogging of geotextiles, geonets, and/or geocomposites is a difficult design challenge.

What do you think of these synthetic materials which has a range of applications? Let us know in the comments.

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