According to a Textile World article, geotextiles have been used in civil engineering projects since the days of the pharaohs. At that time, natural fibers or fabrics were mixed with soil to help improve road stability. Today, nonwovens used as geotextiles in road construction are becoming more prevalent.
Geotextiles are permeable textile materials used with foundation, soil, rock, earth or other natural materials. They are used as an integral part of a constructed project or system. Typically, geotextiles are made with synthetic polymers that do not decay under biological and chemical processes.
There are two main uses for geotextiles in civil engineering projects: separation and runoff/sediment control.
Well-designed geotextiles allow water to move through without allowing soil particles to move into the roadway material to weaken it. Wear occurs on roadways when water stands on the surface while large loads cross it. When this happens, a pumping action occurs so that the water is forced through the roadway and, along with it, fine grains of sand and dirt that burrow into the road surfaces and weaken the original structure. Using nonwoven geotextiles in the road construction helps prevent this weakening over time and lengthens the life of the road. You should consider permeability and strength when selecting nonwovens for this separation application.
Runoff and sediment control
During road construction projects, government entities are responsible for ensuring that erosion is minimized and vegetation is established. Geotextiles are often used as silt fences to hold back sediments in runoff from storms or melting snow. In addition, they are used with seed mats to speed the process of vegetation growth.
The use of geotextiles in civil engineering applications is sure to grow as technologies continue to improve. And, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders association, state governments spend over $113 billion each year on highway capital improvements. This means big business for converters producing geotextiles for the industry.
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