Geo Textiles


The Fabric of Erosion Control
Geotextiles have been used for thousands of years. Geotextiles were used in roadway construction in the days of the Pharaohs to stabilise roadways and their edges. These early geotextiles were made of natural fibres, fabrics or vegetation mixed with soil to improve road quality, particularly when roads were made on unstable soil. Only recently have geotextiles been used and evaluated for modern road construction.

A geotextile is defined as any permeable textile material that is used with foundation, soil, rock, earth, etc to increase stability and decrease wind and water erosion. A geotextile may be made of synthetic or natural fibres. In contrast, a geo membrane is a continuous membrane-type liner or barrier Geo membranes must have sufficiently low permeability to control migration of fluid in a constructed project, structure or system. A geotextile is designed to be permeable to allow the flow of fluids through it or in it, and a geo membrane is designed to restrict the fluid flow.

Geotextile-related materials such as fabrics formed into mats, webs, nets, grids, or formed plastic sheets are not the same as geotextiles. Although geotextiles have historically been made of natural plant, modern geotextiles are usually made from a synthetic polymer (such as polypropylene, polyester, polyethylene's and polyamides) or a composite of natural and synthetic material. Plant fibre-based erosion control geotextiles are subject to decomposition and have a limited shelf life before their inherent durability suffers. On-site use of these blankets degraded in this way can produce an ineffectual installation. The synthetic polymers have the advantage of not decaying under biological and chemical processes, but being a petrochemical-based product they use non renewable resources in their construction, and cause environmental pollution in their manufacture and use, and have associated health risks.

Geotextiles can be woven, knitted or non-woven. Different fabric composition and construction are suitable for different applications. The non-woven geotextile is an arrangement of fibres either oriented or randomly patterned in a sheet, resembling felt. These geotextiles provide planar water flow in addition to stabilization of soil. Typical applications include access roads, aggregate drains, asphalt pavement overlays, and erosion control.

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