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Geosynthetics in action

Editorial | June 1, 2021 | By:

This issue of Geosynthetics magazine will focus on three distinct applications of geosynthetics.

As the first feature, “NPA Geocell for a Railway Line Repair in a Permafrost Region,” describes, it took more than two years to come up with a workable, economical solution for repairs to the deteriorating railway line to Churchill, Man., Canada, the only land access to the remote town on Hudson Bay. Warming of the permafrost under the rail line and a major flood in 2017 caused extensive damage to the railway, rendering it unusable. All basic supplies for Churchill were subsequently flown in by airplane. The authors recommended high-strength novel-polymeric alloy (NPA) geocells for the repairs to the track, and the multiple repairs were completed in five weeks at a cost that was 20%–25% of the initially anticipated cost. The authors explain in words and photographs how the project was executed.

Sometimes, landfills need to be expanded. Often land is available next to a landfill to expand it, but in other cases, landfills need to be expanded vertically. The authors of “Design of Reinforcement Geosynthetics in Landfill Piggyback Expansion” had such a case of a vertical expansion of a landfill. They explain that “the selected reinforcement geosynthetic is a high-modulus woven geotextile made with high-tenacity yarns, manufactured by a warp-knitting process. The woven geotextile provides the separation function, whereas the high-tenacity yarns give the high strength capacity to the overall product.”

Geotextile tubes are a niche product of geosynthetics with multiple uses, including erosion control on seashores, an application that has been covered in this magazine. Dewatering is another application suitable for geotextile tubes, and the authors of “Dewatering of Sludge from a Sewage Treatment Plant with Geotextile Tubes” focus on the dewatering of the effluent from a sewage treatment plant in a suburb of São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. The authors examine “the use of the dewatering technique in geotextile tubes, providing the elevation of the solid content of the dewatered material, decreasing its volume, and facilitating its handling as solid or semisolid.”

From the permafrost of northern Canada to the sprawling suburbs of a South American city of 12 million people, geosynthetics do their jobs efficiently, effectively and economically.

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