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What are Geosynthetics?

11/14/2013 3:13:59 PM | by Anonymous


Geosynthetics are manufactured polymeric products typically used with materials like soil or stone as part of various manmade projects. These projects can include roads or buildings. These materials or products can be used in conjunction with natural materials for an extensive variety of purposes. For instance, geotextiles can be used to separate or filter soil and geomembranes are used as impermeable liners for ponds or many other types of manmade bodies of water.


The many diversified uses of geosynthetics are unified by the common fact that nearly all of them are used as solutions to solve problems that are related to civil engineering. Civil engineering is a field of engineering that is devoted to the building and maintenance of manmade environmental features such as bridges, roads, canals and buildings.


Many different types of materials are also used to address a range of civil engineering problems that falls into the broad category of geosynthetics. Geogrids are also geosynthetic polymeric materials that are arranged like nets. They have wide spaces between the grids like sections of the material. They are commonly used within soil and many other types of natural materials to increase their stability and capacity in order to hold weight.


Geofoam is foam like product that is made of polymeric materials and crafted into lightweight blocks. They can be used whenever space filling materials are needed. Other types of geosynthetics would also include geotextiles, geocomposites, geomembranes and geocells.


These categories of geosynthetics can serve up a variety of different functions. They can generally be organized into a number of broad functional categories. Some geosynthetics are used to separate distinctive materials such as the different types of soil. This is so that both of them can remain completely intact. Others are used for filtration that allows the adequate liquid drainage. However, they prevent harmful materials flowing away with the liquid. Still others may be used for reinforcement purposes. This means that they are intended to increase the overall stability and load bearing capacity of a substance or material. Other possible functional categories for geosynthetic materials would also include drainage, erosion control and containment.


Geosynthetics can be used to solve civil engineering problems much more effectively than entirely natural solutions can in many circumstances. A problem that would otherwise require carefully arranged layers of soil, stones and plants. For an instance, they may be solvable with a single geosynthetic layer.


Furthermore, geosynthetics tend to be easier for placement and maintenance in comparison to many other natural solutions. If they are not being placed appropriately, this can cause the geosynthetic mateials to function poorly or not at all. This makes it very important to ensure that they are being handled and used properly. Additionally, such polymeric substances may be damaged and degraded if not handled or store properly.


Moreover, geosynthetics also brings about manufactured quality control in a controlled factory environment having an advantage over outdoor rock and soil construction. Most factories are also ISO 9000 certified and runs their own in house quality programs. The thinness of geosynthetics versus their natural soil counterparts is also an advantage as light weight of the subgrade, lesser air space used and the avoidance of quarried particles. The ease of geosynthetic installation is also significant in comparison to thicker soil layers that require larger earthmoving equipments. The published standards are also well advanced in standards setting organizations. Design methods are currently available in many universities that teach stand alone courses in geosynthetics or have integrated geosynthehics into their traditional geotechnical and hydraulic engineering courses. Lastly, when comparing geosynthetic designs to alternative soil designs, there are always cost advantages and invariably sustainability advantages.


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