Benefits of Using Geotextile Fabrics
Geotextile fabrics, also sometimes referred to as geosynthetic material, are a type of textile consisting of synthetic fibres. These fibres tend to be polymer based, generally made out of polypropylene or polyester. This is opposed to natural fabric material which is usually formed from cotton, wool, jute or silk. This polymeric formation gives the material a longer lifetime than the natural alternatives due to its long term biodegradation.
A feature of geotextiles is their permeability. This feature when used in conjunction with soil gives the textile certain characteristics. The fabric can be used to reinforce and strengthen soil in construction projects or it can be used for other specific applications such as filtering and protecting tasks.
Geotextile fabrics come in three basic forms. Heat bonded fabric, needle punched and woven. Heat bonded textiles look like ironed felt, needle punched fabric looks like felt and woven material looks like mail bag sacking.
Composite fabrics have been formed from geotextiles to produce fabric for specific uses. Some of these composites can be referred to as geogrids, which are polymers formed into open, grid like configurations, geonets, formed by a continuous extrusion of parallel sets of polymeric ribs at acute angles to one another and geomembranes, which are impervious thin sheets of rubber or plastic material used primarily for linings and covers of liquid or solid storage facilities. Thus, the primary function of geomembranes is always as a liquid or vapor barrier. Due to the polymer base of these composite materials they are suitable for use in the ground where high levels of durability are needed. Many tasks require the use of geotextile fabric. It has applications in road and airfield construction. Embankments and retaining solutions and reservoir and dam developments.
Geosynthetic material can be developed under stringent quality controlled environments within a factory, which is a great advantage as multiple testing scenarios can be carried out for use in different applications. Many test methods, guides and specifications are available for a large range of applications. The polymer textiles can be constructed to a relatively thin and light fabric which can be more light weight on the subgrade material.
The ease of installation of geotextile materials is much improved as compared with using thick soil layers such as sand, gravels or clays. It also goes some way to avoid the over use of quarried materials which require the use of large earthmoving equipment which can be costly. There are many varied uses for geotextiles and as polymer technology improves their applications will become even more widespread.