A geotextile is typically defined as any permeable textile material used to increase soil stability, provide erosion control or aid in drainage. More simply put, if it is made of fabric and buried in the ground it is probably a geotextile! Geotextiles have been in use for thousands of years dating back to the Egyptian Pharaohs. These early geotextile applications were basically natural fibers or vegetation mixed directly with soil. Modern geotextiles are usually made from a synthetic polymer such as polypropylene, polyester, polyethylene and polyamides. Geotextiles can be woven, knitted or non-woven. Varying polymers and manufacturing processes result in an array of geotextiles suitable for a variety of civil construction applications.
It is believed that the first modern applications of geotextiles were woven industrial fabrics used in 1950’s. One of the earliest documented cases was a waterfront structure built in Florida in 1958. This installation involved The Coastal Engineering Lab at the University of Florida and took place on private property that had been severely eroded by storms.
The first modern nonwoven geotextile was developed in 1968 by the Rhone Poulence company in France. It was a comparatively thick needle-punched polyester used in dam construction in France during 1970.
What is now considered as the first International Conference on Geotextiles took place in 1977 in Paris. The word "geotextile" was coined by Dr. J.P. Giroud in a paper presented at the conference.
Non-woven geotextiles resemble felt and provide planar water flow. They are commonly known as filter fabrics, although woven monofilament geotextiles can also be referred to as filter fabrics. Typical applications for non-woven geotextiles include aggregate drains, asphalt pavement overlays and erosion control.
A woven geotextile is a planar textile structure produced by interlacing two or more sets of strands at right angles. There are two types of strands: slit films, which are flat; and monofilaments, which are round. Woven slit-film geotextiles are generally preferred for applications where high strength properties are needed and filtration requirements are less critical. These fabrics reduce localized shear failure in weak subsoil conditions and aid construction over soft subsoils. Woven monofilament geotextiles are preferred for applications where both strength and filtration are a concern, such as shoreline rip rap applications.
Geotextile-related materials such as fabrics formed into mats, webs, nets, grids, or formed plastic sheets are not the same as geotextiles. These would fall under the more general category of geosynthetics. US Fabrics offers a full line of geotextile products. Geotextile distributors, contractors, geotechnical engineers and homeowners are all welcome to call.
Our knowledgeable staff is here to help with any geosynthetic application from simple driveway fabric to high-strength reinforcing geogrids or any geosynthetic product in-between. Use the tools above such as the Our Products and Product Equivalents to access in-depth information, data sheets and more. Our site-specific search engine at the top-right is very powerful. Give it a try as well. Or give us a call, we're glad to help!