How Does Geosynthetic Help in Ground Improvement

Soil Reinforcement

Soil Reinforcement is essential to provide stability and controlled deformation to the soil. The soil itself is strong in compression, but weaker in tension. As a result, tensile materials are necessary to stabilize the soil and improve the ground. One common and famous technique of ground improvement is geotextile installation. There are many different types of geotextiles that are used as reinforcement.

The primary purpose of geosynthetics and geotextiles is to work on soil stabilization by giving tensile strength to the soil. Geotextiles that are usually used as reinforcement are in the form of fibres (or woven) and knitted fabric forms. Similarly, geosynthetics are used for ground improvement in paved roads, railway tracks, mines, walls, and at construction sites where the soil is weak.

The technique of using geosynthetics as the ground improvement was introduced in the early 1800s. The modern soil reinforcement technique was established in the later years under an entire system of Reinforced Earth.


Areas of Soil Reinforcement

There are three main areas in which soil reinforcement is applied:

  1. Foundations
  2. Retaining Walls
  3. Embankments

Geotextiles and geosynthetics are the main materials used in Malaysia for ground improvement.


What are Geotextiles?

Geotextiles are permeable textiles that are used with the combination of soil and rock. They act as a filter, separator, drainage material, protection layer, and reinforcement. Different types of geotextiles (for different requirements) are available on the market.

The two primary types of geotextiles are biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Geosynthetics are the non-biodegradable type of geotextiles. Their raw material is obtained from petroleum products.


Types of Geosynthetics

  1. Geotextiles are the flexible fabrics that have regulated permeability and are usually used for soil reinforcement.
  2. Geomembranes are impermeable sheets for soil waste suppression.
  3. Geogrids are flexible polymer used for the reinforcement of unfeasible soil.
  4. Geonets are used for drainage purposes.
  5. Geosynthetic clay liners act as a barrier between liquid a solid waste.
  6. Geo pipes are also used for drainage of different types of liquids.
  7. Geofoam is a latest geosynthetic that is applied in geotechnical projects.
  8. Geocomposites are specially designed to mitigate soil and liquid problems.

Uses of Geosynthetics in Soil Reinforcement

Whenever a load is placed on the soil, expansion takes place. There should be no slippage between the load and the soil. It simply means that there must be a balanced and continuous load on the soil to produce expansion. As a result, both of these materials will get the same extension, generating a tensile load in every reinforcing geosynthetic material.

The geosynthetic material acts as a way of preventing lateral movement due to excessive stress. Displacement of the soil will also be minimized, and the ground will become stable. This method of soil reinforcement is usually adopted in slopes and embankments.

The ground improvement through geosynthetic and geotextile installation in Malaysia is possible due to the following three main things that happen when geosynthetics are used:

  1. Adjacent resistance through the potential friction between the soil and geotextile.
  2. It forces the surface plane to develop at a greater shear strength.
  3. The total load is eventually supported by the soil and the membrane.

Undoubtedly, structural soil stability is immensely enhanced due to the tensile strength provided by the geosynthetic material. There are some common things between soil reinforcement and steel stabilization for the concrete. The ground improvement provided by the geogrids and geotextiles allows the construction of embankments, roads, and other structures in areas in Malaysia where the soil is weak.


Ground Improvement in Steep Slopes

Construction can be made easy on the steep slopes with the help of geosynthetic materials. The stress is applied beneath the steep slope. It is made sure that the size of the geotextile grid is greater than the diameter of the material. 

The face is covered with topsoil, and the geotextile material is placed over the exposed slope.


Geotextiles for Retaining Walls

Building retaining walls can be a challenging task for the contractors as they have a very high cost and can become unstable on weak soils. To overcome this severe issue, geotextile material is used to the reinforcement of the retaining walls. They are suitable for the building of walls with timber and segmental block facing. According to an estimate, geotextile walls can save you about 50% of finances compared to a usual wall.

The aforementioned shows that geosynthetic material is very important in soil stabilization and improving the ground. There are many such areas in Malaysia where the soil is weak and needs more enforcement. In such places, property developers and contractors can make use of the readily available geosynthetic materials for ground improvement and building a stable and robust structure. For more information feel free to get in touch with us.