How Geosynthetics are Used in Road Construction

Geosynthetics for road construction

Geosynthetics are defined as the products produced from polymeric materials. They are used in various geotechnical engineering projects, soil stabilization and road construction, and are an essential part of man-made construction projects and structures. 

There are many types of geosynthetics produced in Malaysia. Generally, the term is used to refer to a wide range of polymeric products used in construction projects. 

Geotextiles, geogrids, geonets, geomembrane, geosynthetic clay liners, geofoam, geocells, and geocomposite are the main types of geosynthetics. 


Uses of Geosynthetics in Road Construction

Different types of geosynthetics are used for various purposes in road construction. 

Most commonly, geogrids are used in road construction. A geogrid is a type of geosynthetic material. It is a polymeric structure that is produced in the form of a manufactured sheet, containing a vast network of connected elements via different types of bonding. 

They have many applications in road construction, geotechnical projects, environment, and other engineering projects.

Some of the uses of geosynthetics in road construction in Malaysia are:


1. Construction of Roads and Heavily Trafficked Areas

Temporary roadways are built using geosynthetic materials. Similarly, a heavily trafficked area like the highways and main roads are constructed with geosynthetic solutions for more stability and strength—the specific type of the geosynthetics used in road construction of trafficked areas different from area to area. 

Parking lots, access roads, footpaths, and forest paths make use of different kinds of geosynthetic materials.


2. Road Stability and Bearing Capacity

High bearing capacity and ground stability are necessary for heavily trafficked areas such as parking areas. Geogrids made from high strength flat bars are used in this type of construction by installing them between the subsoil and the base course to get the much-needed improved stability and bearing strength.

The grained soil interlocks with the geogrids to form a strong bond. This rapid interlock gives a horizontal force transfer which accentuates the bearing capacity of the soil due to high force absorption of geogrid material. The construction companies can achieve their required bearing capacity by varying the geogrid in the soil. 

They do not have to spend a large amount of money on traditional expensive soil exchanges. In some cases, the base course thickness can also be decreased to modify bearing capacity and soil stability.


3. Reduce Rutting

During the construction of unpaved roads such as forest paths and temporary roads on soft subsoil, it is essential to avoid rutting and intermixing the cover material into the subsoil. In this case, geogrids are used to improve the load distribution, which in turn, minimizes rutting and undesirable soil intermixing. 

Numerous types of geogrids can be selected for this purpose, depending on the subsoil type, standard guidelines, and construction site requirements.


4. Reinforcement

Force-elongation behaviour means the reinforcement of construction sites with low elongation characteristics. For this purpose, both the separation function of the geotextiles and geogrids can be used. 

Mostly geogrids are used because geotextiles provide higher elongation, which is not suitable for every construction site. At the time of manufacturing, most companies do not have any elongation in geogrids materials. Stiff junctions of the welded reinforcement bars give about 8% of elongation to the geogrids.


5. Installation Strength

Constructing a strong and robust structure can be quite challenging if proper material is not used in the process. During roads construction, the reinforcements can be vulnerable to high dynamic stresses during the installation and compaction of coarse-grained cover soils and base course materials. To prevent any damage from the high stresses, geosynthetics are used in Malaysia in road construction. 

Thick, strong, and substantial reinforcement bars, along with durable geogrids, are able to withstand the high pressure because they have a high resistance to installation loads. Hence, they are not much vulnerable to the damage caused by pressure and high forces.


The Bottom Line

From the above uses of geosynthetics in road construction,  geogrids are undoubtedly the most common type of geosynthetic solutions used in road construction. They provide soil stability, especially in areas where there is a high chance of rutting and soft subsoil intermixing. Moreover, such geosynthetic materials provide stability and support in unpaved road construction and areas where the high flow of traffic is expected.

Geogrids improve the bearing capacity of the soil and make the roads stronger and more reliable. It prevents expensive soil excavation and re-compaction. Compared to the traditional road construction techniques, using geosynthetic materials in road construction is much more economical and efficient. For more information, feel free to get in touch with us.