{2 Main Types} of Geotextiles

What is a {geotextile}?  A geotextile is defined as a strong synthetic fabric usually used in civil engineering construction projects (such as highway or dam building) that stabilizes loose soil and prevents erosion.

What does the term {geosynthetics} mean? Geosynthetics is an umbrella term that includes a variety of synthetic products used to stabilize terrain. They are generally polymeric products used to solve civil engineering problems. This includes eight main product categories: geotextiles, geogrids, geonets, geomembranes, geosynthetic clay liners, geofoam, geocells, and drainage composites.

How did the geosynthetics industry first begin? In 1957, after a tropical storm had caused severe beach erosion at the Florida home of the president of Carthage Mills (which was at that time, a flooring company), he joined forces with engineers from the Coastal Engineering Lab at the University of Florida to protect his property against future storms. They eventually developed a tough woven synthetic filter fabric with design properties that permitted water to pass through while holding back sand and particles.

This new development essentially replaced the labor intensive, costly, and largely inferior graded granular filter – a process of installing rocks of various sizes in a specific order that collectively allowed water to filter through without taking sediment with it (preventing hydrostatic pressure, thus preventing erosion).

What are the 2 main categories of geotextiles? There are literally hundreds of geotextile fabrics and they are used for dozens of applications, but they can be divided into 2 main groups – Woven Geotextiles and Nonwoven Geotextiles.

Woven Geotextiles consist of monofilament, multifilament, slit-film and/or fibrillated slit-film yarns – often in combinations – that are woven into a geotextile on conventional textile weaving machinery using a wide variety of traditional, as well as proprietary, weaving patterns. The variations are many and most all have a direct influence on the physical, mechanical and hydraulic properties of the fabric. The resulting woven geotextiles are typically flexible, exhibit high strength, high modulus, low elongation, and their openings are usually direct and predictable.

Nonwoven Geotextiles are often referred to as ‘multipurpose’, and to a great degree deliver on that promise. Contributing to their popularity is their cost-of-manufacture to weight ratio is less than their woven counterparts. The manufacturing process of nonwoven geotextiles is very different from that of woven geotextiles, with needlepunched finishing as the leader. When used in filtration applications it is important to note that the actual mechanics of this function by nonwoven geotextiles are much different than the original woven monofilaments.

Nonwoven geotextiles consist of fibers that are either continuous filament yarns or short staple fibers which are then bonded together by various processes that can include a needling process that intertwines the fibers physically (needlepunched), or a chemical / thermal bonding operation that fuses adjacent fibers together. The resulting nonwoven geotextiles have a random fiber orientation with high porosity and permeability, indirect and unpredictable openings, a thickness ranging from thick felt to a relatively thin fabric, and low modulus with high elongation.

Carthage Mills Nonwoven Geotextiles include HS Series of (Civil) Nonwoven Geotextiles, A/O Series of Asphalt Overlay Geotextile Fabrics, HSE Series of Nonwoven Environmental Geotextiles, and our Livestock Mud Mat Nonwoven Geotextile.

Do you still have questions about geotextiles? Let one of our geotextile experts help!