The Geosynthetic Research Institute was founded in 1986 at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa., with the purpose of conducting research and development on all types, functions, and applications of geosynthetics used in the constructed environment and its infrastructure.
With R & D at the core of the activity it was natural that archival publications would be the preferred outlet for information dissemination. This goal led directly to the initiation of conferences with accompanying proceedings. To date, there have been 25 such conferences consisting of 600 individual papers and 5,015 participants. This communication is a retrospective on these conferences. All have hard copy and electronic versions of individual papers and each individual conference has a bound proceedings volume. The conference chronology is seen in Table 1.
|Conf. No.||Year||Theme||No. of Papers||Attendance|
|GRI-1||1987||Soft Soil Stabilization||15||60|
|GRI-2||1988||Durability and Aging||21||112|
|GRI-3||1989||Seaming of Geosynthetics||27||170|
|GRI-5||1991||Filtration and Drainage||20||172|
|GRI-6||1992||Quality Control/Quality Assurance||26||223|
|GRI-7||1993||Geosynthetic Liner Systems||21||282|
|GRI-8||1994||Resins, Formulations and Manufacturing||26||223|
|GRI-9||1995||Geosynthetics in Infrastructure||21||195|
|GRI-10||1996||Field Performance of Geosynthetics||19||243|
|GRI-11||1997||Field Installation of Geosynthetics||24||295|
|GRI-12||1998||Lessons Learned from Problems||24||225|
|GRI-13||1999||Geosynthetics in the Future||36||250|
|GRI-14||2000||Hot Topics in Geosynthetics-I||33||244|
|GRI-15||2001||Hot Topics in Geosynthetics-II||20||180|
|GRI-16||2002||Hot Topics in Geosynthetics-III||24||147|
|GRI-17||2003||Hot Topics in Geosynthetics-IV (w/NAGS)||22||203|
|GRI-18||2005||Research & Development In-Progress (w/ASCE)||69||242|
|GRI-19||2005||Hot Topics in Geosynthetics-V (w/NAGS)||17||190|
|GRI-20||2007||Terrorism and Natural Disasters (w/ASCE)||19||175|
|GRI-21||2008||Agriculture and Aquaculture (w/IGS)||15||250|
|GRI-22||2009||“It’s All in the Details” (w/IFAI)||17||175|
|GRI-23||2010||Durability: Field and Laboratory (w/ASCE)||19||155|
|GRI-24||2011||Optimizing Sustainability (w/IGS)||20||170|
|GRI-25||2013||25-Year Retrospective (w/IFAI)||22||185|
While these themes were discrete from one another, there have been common patterns established over the years. They are shown in the pie charts (Figures 1, 2, 3) describing the author’s occupation, geosynthetic being addressed, and the application category.
Figure 1 shows that manufacturers/representatives, designers/test labs, and academia (faculty and institutes) have given the large majority of the papers (87%). Of course, regulators and owners are critically important to us all and it’s nice to see them represented at 6% each. Unfortunately, installer/contractors were largely absent as far as prepared papers were concerned but many were present at the individual events. After all, this group makes all of us either “sink-or-swim”!
Figure 2 shows that geomembranes and geotextiles are the “big two” (48%), with all others being reasonably represented. The “General “ category was for papers representing all geosynthetics but not in a specified manner.
Figure 3 shows that lifetime/durability issues along with design/specification topics represented 44% of the total. Interestingly, while few installers prepared papers, their “product” was critically important and represented 18% of the papers. Clogging, seams, strength, and general information were all represented each with about 10% of the total.
At the risk of slighting any one author/presenter during these past 25 conferences, we would like to single out an individual who was always memorable in the six papers that he wrote and delivered. He is Bob Denis, vice president of Solmax International. Bob’s six titles were:
GRI–11: Field Implications of Requiring Flat Geomembranes
GRI–13: Darwinian View of Geosynthetic Field Quality Control
GRI–14: We Offer Quality, Price, and Service … But You Can Only Choose 2 out of 3
GRI–15: We’re Ready!
GRI–17: The Twilight Zone
GRI–21:The Need of Ongoing Research for the Health and Welfare of the Geosynthetics Industry
For those who have heard Bob present, it was always a joy: entertaining, insightful, challenging, and instructive. We have collected his six papers. If you want a CD, please advise accordingly.
That said, we would be remiss if we didn’t congratulate all paper preparers and presenters involved over the years. You are each individually important to us at the institute and are indeed leaders of the geosynthetics industry. Thank you so much for sharing your intellectual knowledge and companionship during the past 25 years!