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Uses of Geotextiles

6/29/2012 12:46:17 PM | by Anonymous


As the name suggest; geo which means earth and textile which means fabric, geotextiles are permeable fabrics that are related to earth or soil. They are permeable geosynthetic materials that are made up of solely textiles and they can be used with any geotechnical engineering-related material such as soil, rock or earth as an integral part of the project or structure that is man-made. In simple terms; when any permeable material is used with rock or soil, it can be termed as a geotextile. This form of technology can have various functions such as strengthening concrete structures or preventing soil erosion. What makes these textiles functional in such applications is their composition; a special fabric that matches the requirements of users in their landscaping or construction needs.


Geotextiles have been around for several years now. Previously, they were composed of natural fibers but today they are mostly made up of synthetic fibers or a combination of both. In the past, these materials were made up of natural plants fibers whereas now they are usually formed of synthetic polymers such as polyester, polypropylene or polyamides. Geotextiles that are made up of natural fibers are less durable as they get decomposed overtime while in use. Both types of geotextiles have various functions and applications which offer different benefits depending on their use. Plant fiber-based geotextiles have a limited shelf life as they get decomposed over time while on the other hand geotextiles made up of synthetic materials can prevent erosion for a longer period of time. The choice of geotextile to be used depends on the application and desired results. For example, a natural fiber based geotextiles is being used for erosion control mats as durability is not a factor in this application. Natural fiber based geotextiles are also environmentally friendly and they can help in the quick establishment of vegetation.


One example of how natural fiber geotextiles can aid the establishment of vegetation can be that they help separate sections of soil. They can act as a barrier to separate the deeper areas of soil from the surface. This can be beneficial as they would be able to prevent unwanted weeds and any other growth from coming to the surface and causing your vegetation to compete with these unwanted plants for sunlight and water. The permeable nature of the textile would allow for drainage of excess water to occur and prevent water from clogging up the area.


As for synthetic geotextiles, the structure of these materials can be manipulated to meet the requirements of different applications. The properties are affected when the average molecular weight (MW) is manipulated. If the MW is increased, it would result in the geotextile having greater tensile, impact strength and heat, stress crack resistance which would make it an ideal choice to be used in construction. Another method to manipulate the MW can be narrowing its distribution which would result in increased impact strength and decreased stress crack resistance.


Some common applications of geotextiles can be to serve as a drainage system and reinforcement. As for drainage system, its purpose is to gather any unwanted water which is not required by the structure and its presence could harm the structure; such as rainwater, and discharge it. However if the geotextile is intended to serve for a long time, its properties have to be strong enough to withstand any hurt and remain functional. As for reinforcement, the geotextiles can be made in such a way to provide high tensile strength and resistance against fabric friction which would allow for them to be used to reinforce structures. However, again the properties would vary depending on which type of structure they are intended to reinforce. These geotextiles are usually heavy grade and very strong.

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