Over the past 25 years, a range of innovative technologies have been developed to solve soil-related problems in construction. These are designed to be more practical than replacing unsuitable soil or bypassing it with deep foundations.

Of course, road construction and maintenance still relies heavily on equipment like motor graders – but new “tech” continues evolving, making the process of road construction and maintenance simpler, quicker and cheaper.

What are geosynthetics and geotextiles?

Geosynthetics are synthetic materials used to stabilise terrain. They include geotextiles, geomembranes, geonets, geogrids, geocomposites and geosynthetic clay liners. Often they’re used in combination with conventional construction materials.

Geotextiles, specifically, are used as a separator to prevent the aggregate layer of a road from sinking into the sub-soil. They’ve proven to be one of the most versatile and cost-effective ground modification materials, gaining popularity across geotechnical, environmental, hydraulic, coastal and civil engineering.

Types of geotextiles

Geotextiles are typically made from either polypropylene or polyester. Polypropylene is light, strong and durable. Polyester geotextiles, heavier in comparison, are as strong, and are compatible with most soil environments.

There are two principal geotextile types, woven and non-woven. Non-woven geotextiles are complex three-dimensional structures, made up of fibres that are formed into a random network.

They’re particularly beneficial for subsurface drainage and erosion control, as well as for stabilising slopes and roads. They’re also used extensively in landfill, road and railway construction, land reclamation and sea defence.

Woven geotextiles are constructed by blending and weaving fibres. They’re often employed in road construction, where they can be used to separate aggregate layers and stabilise the ground under the road and pavement.

Use in road construction and maintenance

Geotextiles for road construction are mainly used for mechanical functions. Water can pass through them with minimal erosion of soil particles. As such they are used for filtration, to reinforce weak soils and increase bearing capacity and to separate smaller and larger particles to reduce erosion.

Some of the advantages that geotextiles have over traditional construction materials are that:

  • unlike organic materials, which vary across a site, geotextiles are relatively homogeneous
  • they’re generally less expensive to buy, transport, and install than soils and aggregates
  • they’re readily available and much less work to install
  • they reduce the environmental impact associated with quarrying and transporting materials for use in road construction.

At KH Plant, we specialise in restoring Caterpillar 140G, 140H and 140K motor graders to as-new condition – so you can get the benefits of a new grader at a fraction of the cost of a new machine. Contact us for more information or to discuss your needs.

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