Geotechnical construction materials, geotextiles & geosynthetics

Modern geosynthetics are now used successfully in almost all areas of construction. These include highway construction, civil and structural engineering, gardening and landscaping, and building construction. Geosynthetics have also become indispensable in particularly sensitive areas such as water engineering or landfill applications. The modern industrial methods used for manufacturing geosynthetics enable consistently high quality standards to be maintained and thus provide the basis for technologically reliable, standard-compliant and cost-effective construction methods.

The field of geosynthetics includes products that are used as membranes or strips for geotechnical applications in earthworks, civil engineering and structural engineering, and which consist wholly or partly of polymeric materials. Depending on the type of application, geosynthetics are used for separating, filtering, protecting, reinforcing, draining, erosion control, encasing and sealing. Many products perform several of these functions simultaneously.

Geosynthetics can be divided roughly into two categories: water-permeable and water-impermeable products. Water-permeable geosynthetics include all geotextiles and geotextile-related products. Probably the best known representatives of this group are non-woven fabrics, although woven fabrics also belong in this category. Non-woven fabrics are geotextiles made of fibres or filaments that are usually bonded by mechanical needling and/or thermal fusion. Woven fabrics, on the other hand, are produced using the classic weaving process.

All water-permeable geosynthetics that do not belong to the group of geotextiles are geotextile-related products. The most well-known of these are geogrids. Geogrids are characterised by the fact that the surface area of their mesh openings is greater than that of the material itself. They are usually produced by extrusion, welding or weaving.

If various geosynthetic products are joined together industrially, the resulting products are called geocomposites. Drainage grids and drainage mats and matting belong in this category. These are created by combining a three-dimensional drainage core with one or two geotextiles as separating and filtering layers.

The category of impermeable geosynthetics includes impermeable and slightly water-permeable geomembranes, such as geosynthetic clay liners (bentonite mats), polymeric geomembranes and swelling agent geomembranes or combinations of these products.

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