Monday, November 29, 2021

Table of Contents for Industry Focus - Geosynthetics

Industry Focus - Geosynthetics

Geosynthetics – Magic Potion?


As per the reports published by Fortune Business Insights, the global geosynthetics market size is set to gain traction from the increasing usage of sustainable building materials. Geosystems reduce the usage of natural materials, such as aggregates and sand, thereby simplifying construction activities. As construction sector moves towards green pastures, the need & importance of geosynthetics is only set to grow in times to come and with innovative offerings on the horizon, geosynthetics will play a major role as magic materials in construction activities, writes PRERNA SHARMA.


The geosynthetic materials in the market today meet the needs of professionals across many vital industries. They are purpose-built for performance without impacting the environment in a negative way. Their exceptional qualities of flexibility and ease of custom-fitting bring added value to older options such as earthworks and concrete, which they work in tandem with and complement, more often than not.


In a whitepaper by Maccaferri India, ‘Use of geosynthetics in road works – innovative technology for improved performance’, in the past few decades, geosynthetics have succeeded as an effective tool in the hands of the civil engineer that have proved to solve a myriad of geotechnical problems in pavements, from rural roads to highways and airports and container yards reducing layer thicknesses, managing settlements and soils which was not developed due to the high costing of reclamations. Geosynthetic systems are contributing to sustainable initiatives for pavement courses and these are having lower impact on environment over their entire service lives in terms of use of materials, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Life cycle cost analysis indicates that for heavy volume roads, long lasting pavements are likely to be more cost effective over their service lives by inserting geosynthetics in pavement courses.


Despite being specialty-made, the geosynthetic materials come in at a much lower price point than moving dirt and building complex concrete and metal structures. They are also much faster to deploy and resist degradation exceedingly better than soil or even concrete, which is subject to cracking from shifts in the land over time.



Innovative horizons

According to IntecOpen Research, high-performance hybrid polymer materials are being used as convergence geosynthetic products are required to protect, repair, and repair the ground structure from natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons. These convergence geosynthetic products play a pivotal role in improving the stability of geotechnical structures and expanding their applications. Carbon fibers, aramid fibers, and liquid crystal polymer fibers are being used as new materials. In addition, test methods and construction techniques related to these new materials are being developed to expand the performance of these convergence geosynthetic products.


Hybrid geosynthetics: In the case of using the geosynthetics alone, it is true that the application field is extremely limited due to the limitation of its function. For this reason, hybrid geotextiles suitable for specific functions and environments have been developed, and their usage is also increasing faster than in any field of civil engineering synthetic materials. In other words, a product that combines geogrid and geotext styles, which are widely used in landfills, reinforced earth retaining walls, roads and soft ground reinforcement, has been developed.


This means geogrid’s reinforcement function and geotextile’s permeability function, and geogrid and geotextile are bonded through thermal and ultrasonic welding. In this product, the tensile strength and puncture resistance are increased, the effective hole size and the vertical permeability are reduced, but the tear strength is not greatly influenced by the change in weight. In addition, it is expected that when the actual construction is performed from the tensile strain and the creep strain of the geogrid, not only the reinforcing function but also the partial geotextile protection effect can be obtained.


Recent research in biotechnology at Pennsylvania State University, USA, has led to the development of multi-phase polymer derived from the genetic code of squid ring teeth that is capable of self-healing in contact with water. If the manufacture of a geomembrane with such polymer is feasible, it will be able to self-seal a cut or perforate when in contact with water. So, the extension ofthe innovations produced in materials science to geosynthetics seems limitless. The use of nanotechnologies will also produce more sophisticated and even intelligent engineering plastics that will certainly find applications in geo-technical and geo-environmental works in the future. Regardless of the complexity or the sophistication of the product used, one of the main characteristics of geosynthetics will continue to be their capability of producing quick and easy alternative solutions for geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering problems.




New age products in the market

Extremely cost-effective, durable and versatile, geosynthetics are widely used to improve the mechanical and physical properties of the soil, enabling it to withstand harsh climatic conditions. Leading manufacturing companies in the country have been coming with innovative product offerings to aid the growth of construction in the country. In conjunction to this, Gayatri Polymers & Geosynthetics has been offering new age products when it comes to geosynthetic. One of them is Geogrid, which is a grid like geosynthetics product manufactured from p.p / polyester polymers coated with PVC. Geogrid is flexible and offers superior tensile reinforcement. The geogrid consists of polyester yarns with a protective polymer coating, either PVC or Epoxy. It is available as a uni-axial and bi-axial geogrid and can be supplied in diverse mesh sizes. The standard strength is between 40kN/m and 200kN/m. Geogrid is a very cost-effective product comparing to the traditional RC structure. The main applications for Geogrid are reinforced retaining walls, slope stabilization, sediment control, reinforcement and embankment.



The Geosynthetic Clay Liners or GCLs by Ocean Non Wovens Pvt. Ltd., are an integrated matrix of a layer of bentonite liner encapsulated by woven and nonwoven geotextiles on either side. The three layers together then undergo needle punching and thermal locking for reinforcement and securing the fibers, further improving strength and performance. From the engineering standpoint, GCLs act as a hydraulic barrier and perform the role of containment. Geosynthetic Clay Liners help with containment of water, leachate, other liquids and in some cases, gases. They are the most cost-efficient and functional replacement for the more traditional compacted clay liners. As opposed to traditional compacted clay liners, the geosynthetic clay liners are thin, manufactured in factories undergoing quality checks, and also offer ease of installation on slopes and smaller settlements.



Suntech® Geogrid is a polymeric material made up of many polymers like polyethylene, polyvinyl alcohol polypropylene, etc. It is one of the most important inventions in geosynthetics, which is used as a reinforcing material. They formed by joining intersecting ribs. They have large open spaces in between the ribs known as ‘apertures’. These geogrids promote soil stabilization; provide higher load bearing capacity; are flexible in nature and are well known for their versatility. The geogrids have high durability which reduces maintenance cost and are highly resistant to environmental influences.



Reinforced soil structures (reinforced soil walls and reinforced soil slopes) are mechanically stabilized earth retaining systems that are technically proven and a cost effective alternative to the conventional concrete walls especially for the approach embankment to the bridges / flyovers. Garware Technical Fibres offers GarWall® Reinforced Soil Wall System, which is a high performance mechanically stabilized earth wall system. These are cost-effective soil retaining structures having simple and rapid construction procedures. They are flexible and capable of absorb deformations due to seismic loading or poor subsoil conditions in the foundations.



StrataWeb® (Geocell) by Strata India is a lightweight, but strong, three-dimensional honeycomb shaped cellular confinement system. It can be used as a foundation reinforcement mat for improvement of load bearing capacities of weak soils and as an erosion control barrier for slope surfaces. As a load support system, StrataWeb® effectively improves the load carrying capacities of weak soils. The strong, yet flexible cellular structure of StrataWeb® confines the in-filled material and creates a stable base for load distribution. StrataWeb® may be used within road sections/ container yard pavements or below foundations, essentially to distribute the imposed load over a larger area. StrataWeb® geocell slope protection system is a low-cost, high performance solution that addresses slope erosion challenges while providing several facing options such as vegetation for aesthetic cover, concrete for permanent cover etc., thereby enabling a sustainable footprint.



Techstrap polymeric strips by Techfab India are geosynthetic strips (polymeric strips/straps with a flat webbing like structure) specifically engineered for the reinforcement of soils and other fills for the construction of reinforced soil or mechanically stabilized earth structures. Techstrap polymeric strip comprise a core of closely packed and tensioned high tenacity polyester filament yarn tendons encased in a sheath of linear low density polyethylene. It possesses high tensile strength and modulus. It is resistant to ultraviolet rays. Techfab India recently has established a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Haridwar, Uttarakhand to produce a new line of engineered high performance products made from high quality steel, which have extensive applications in slope stabilization and rockfall protection. TechFab India’s range of specialty products specifically engineered for the mitigation of geohazards associated with slope failures includes TechRhombus High Tensile Rope Net System, TechSlope Mesh Flexible Slope Stabilization System and TechAnchor Self Drilling Anchors.



MaccaferriMacLine® RMH & RDH are geomembranes manufactured from quality high density polyethylene resins that comply with the most rigorous requirements established for their use. They have one or both surfaces roughened to a “sandpaper like” finish. These geomembranes contain not less than 97% of pure PE polymer and a balance not higher than 3% of carbon black, antioxidants and thermal stabilizers. The product does not contain plasticizers or fillers that could migrate over time.



Enhancing eco-consciousness

Geosynthetic materials can be tailored to the situation’s needs in terms of shape, size and composition. While more durable infrastructure still degrades over time, geosynthetic materials can be deployed and removed or replaced over time. They are one plastic that paves its way in helping to preserve the environment in the face of human and natural impacts. They help prevent contamination, erosion and other damaging processes that threaten the environment, and they very much help conserve water, too.


With the availability of variety of products with differing characteristics, the design engineer needs to be aware of not only the application possibilities but also more specifically the reason why they are using the geosynthetics and its governing functional properties to satisfy various requirements. Design and selection of geosynthetics based on engineering principles will serve the long-term interest of both the user and the industry. The increasing awareness of damage to the environment caused by industry and transportation increases the demand for new technologies that will reduce this negative impact. More attention should be paid to pavement sustainability as a significant step in this direction.



Fast Facts

  • The geosynthetics market size stood at US$27.16 billion in 2018. It is set to reach US$45.25 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.6%.
  • Asia Pacific is expected to witness substantial growth in near future due to rise in the novel and new infrastructure renovation & development.
  • Growing construction activities coupled with rising applications in erosion control, landfills, separation and filtration shall drive the global geosynthetics market demand.
  • These materials are used to enhance, modify or improve the behavior of various civil engineering works.

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