This page was printed from

Updating specs: An introduction from GMA

News | December 8, 2009 | By:

Geotextile manufacturers are keen to update the specifying community regarding specifications that are outdated and no longer acceptable in the industry.

Two tests retired by industry approval standards continue to creep into the occasional specification: the Mullen Burst Test and the Puncture Strength Test. The Mullen test was devised in 1887 by J.W. Mullen as a measure for the puncture strength of paper. Eventually it was adopted by the textile industry along with the Puncture Strength Test. In the 1970s these tests were available to the geotextile industry.

However, since then industry experts have recognized that these tests are obsolete and currently prefer the Static (CBR) Puncture test.

GMA member companies are no longer publishing these tests on their QA, QC, or geotextile technical data. GMA is calling on all specifiers to bring their specifications into line with industry standards as described in the open letter to specifiers (see below).

An open letter to specifiers of geosynthetics

Dear Specifier,

In an attempt to keep those in the engineering and specifications community up-to-date on relevant changes in our ever evolving industry, we would like you to be aware that the general use of “cookie-cutter” type geosynthetic specifications is not a good practice. The test methods our members use on their geosynthetics are constantly revised or removed from accepted practice. The enclosed information summarizes some recent changes in the testing standards used for geosynthetics.

Neither Mullen Burst Strength ASTM D3786 nor Puncture Strength ASTM D4833 is recognized by ASTM Committee D35 on geosynthetics as an acceptable geotextile test method. Also, AASHTO M288 has recently (M288-05) replaced ASTM D4833 with the Static (CBR) Puncture ASTM D6241.

Starting in 2010, ASTM D4833 and D3786 will no longer be published by any of our members on their QA, QC or other geotextile technical data. Also, Geosynthetics magazine will highlight the geotextile specs for ASTM D4833 and note that they will be replaced by Static (CBR) Puncture ASTM D6241 in subsequent issues.

Under the auspices of ASTM, within Committee D35, geosynthetic test methods and specifications are currently being developed, and will continue to be developed, to replace irrelevant textile index test methods. Our members provide leadership in the development of testing standards for Committee D35.

Please refer to the ASTM website and the GSI website for the most current version of the test methods that you are specifying. For example, the industry still occasionally sees defunct specifications from federal and state organizations that refer to test methods such as ASTM D1682-59T (1975), “Standard Methods of Test for Breaking Load and Elongation of Textile Fabrics (withdrawn 1991)” and the like. Additionally, if you are not specifying ASTM or GSI test method standards, check with the specific author of the standard you are specifying for the most current version. And check with GMA-member geosynthetic manufacturers through their websites, published data, or product management personnel to confirm that the product you have specified is currently being manufactured.

Signed / (select) GMA members:

  • ACE Geosynthetics
  • Belton Industries Inc.
  • Fiberweb
  • Geosistemas Pavco S.A.
  • GSE Lining Technologies Inc.
  • Propex Inc.
  • TechFab India Industries Ltd.
  • TenCate Geosynthetics
  • Thrace-LINQ

Share this Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and will show up after being approved.