Geocomposites and its more common uses
The world progresses and technical advances leave a mark in every sector, making projects more effective and more efficient.
For this reason, construction is becoming more innovative, believing in the use of new and revolutionary materials like geocomposites.
These materials are easy to handle, save time and reduce costs.
They allow constructors to finish projects in less time, at lower costs and in a more effective way.
But, what are geocomposites?
These materials are made of petroleum-derived polymers.
They are commonly used in civil constructions, buildings, mining, landfills, scenery designing and in any kind of construction or structure that requires effective fluid evacuation management (water, gases, leached products…).
Among the applications of the draining geocomposites, it stands out the drainage composites that can support high pressures.
This is the case of horizontal drainage in airports, roads, railroads and trams, the drainage underneath high embankments.
Let’s go over the functionalities of the geocomposites
For road constructions, they use geogrids to reinforce the pavement’s granular base, becoming more stable.
Geosynthetic materials are also used for railroads, land, undersoil and land support.
Regarding public works, they normally use this kind of materials to build catchment areas, dams and channels, tunnels and subway structures.
Other uses for geosynthetic materials are: the construction of landfills for liquid and solid waste, to protect the waterproofing system.
Also, it is used for eroding control.
The main characteristics of geocomposites are the following:
- Drastic reduction in construction times
- Cost reduction by using these materials instead of sand and gravel.
- Elimination of filling materials.
- Less environmental impact because there are no land movements involved.
- No need for specialized labor or machinery to handle it.
- It requires less labor than other methods.
Classification and typology
Draining geocomposites are classified according to the geometry or structural configuration, its thickness, the raw materials, its short-term flow capacity or any other consideration depending on the project.
The different types are: alveolar, monofilament, geonet and those made by the combination of geotextiles with a series of small conducts that gather any liquid.
Each one of these types has its own resistance to compression depending on the structure, geometry, the manufacturing process, etc…
However, there are values that, in a generic way, set the maximum resistance to compression that can be found in the market for each of these structures.
Geocomposites are divided into:
They are made of the association, during the production, of a geonet contained between two layers of a geotextile in the shape of sheets or stripes.
The geonet has a draining function as well as separation and the getextiles have a filtering function.
Sometimes, draining geocomposites can be manufactured using just a geotextile in association with a geonet.
Furthermore, for some specific functions it can be made of a filtering geotextile and a geonet.
The geonet has a draining function and a geomembrane that works as a barrier. The thickness of draining geocomposites varies between 5 and 30 mm.
They are industrially produced, made of a geotextile.
It is used for separation and has a geogrid with a reinforcing function.
These are structures made of geosynthetic products and mineral products (bentonite clay).
They consist in a thin layer of clay contained between two layers of geotextile or glued a synthetic geomembrane.
There are three types of bentonite geocomposites:
- The first type is produced by setting a layer of betonite between two geotextiles sewed between them.
In the construction site, these materials are joint by simple superposition, there is no need for sewing.
- The second type is produced with a mix of bentonite-sodium dust with glue dissolved in water (to keep the material together during transportation and laying), afterwards they put the mix between two geotextiles.
The geotextil at the bottom is very thin and with big texture, so bentonite can go through the holes that apperar when it gets hydrated, producing superposition sealing.
- The third type consists in a mix of bentonite and glue that makes it stick to highdensity geomembrane.
They are structures made of geosynthetic products and, at least, one of them is a geomembrane.
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