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Augmented geotextiles: A new frontier in selective removal of chemicals from aqueous solutions

News | August 28, 2023 | By:

With increasing environmental concerns over water pollution and the need for sustainable water management, the development of advanced filtration technologies has become a priority. Augmented geotextiles are an emerging type of functionalized filter media (FFM) and represent a ground-breaking innovation in the field of geotextiles. These novel materials are based on conventional polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP) geotextiles, which are surface treated or grafted with specific polymers or compounds.

The functionalization process enhances their ability to selectively remove pollutants and toxins from aqueous solutions, making them an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution for water purification.

Efficient removal of heavy metals from aqueous solutions

One of the most promising applications of augmented geotextiles is their ability to efficiently remove heavy metals from aqueous solutions. A notable example of this is the chitosan-coated geotextiles based on PET. Chitosan, a natural biopolymer derived from chitin, is used to coat the PET non-woven material via a chemical functionalization process with sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP) as the cross-linking agent. The surface analyses of the prepared functionalized geotextiles confirmed the successful coating of chitosan on PET, ensuring its pollutant removal efficiency.

In the evaluation of these chitosan-coated geotextiles, the removal of heavy metals such as Cu2+, Ni2+, and Co2+ from aqueous solutions was investigated. The results demonstrated that the functionalized geotextiles exhibit exceptional affinity towards heavy metals, making them an effective medium for targeted metal pollutant removal.

Phosphate removal and recovery using iron augmented geotextiles

Another crucial area where augmented geotextiles show great potential is nutrient removal from water bodies and wastewater. Nutrients like ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphorus are common contaminants in waterways worldwide, impacting ecosystems and human health. Nitrate, for instance, can lead to health problems such as methemoglobinemia, liver damage, and even cancers.

Phosphorus contributes to eutrophication, causing toxic algae blooms and endangering drinking water sources. Augmented geotextiles address these issues by providing a high surface area media for filtration and selective removal of nutrients.

By incorporating specific functional groups onto the geotextile surface, these materials can effectively adsorb and sequester nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. As stormwater runoff is a significant source of nutrient pollution, the use of augmented geotextiles in green infrastructure can help enhance water quality and promote sustainable water management.


The advent of augmented geotextiles has introduced a new era in water treatment technology. By functionalizing conventional PET and PP geotextiles, these materials can selectively remove chemicals and pollutants from aqueous solutions, including heavy metals and nutrients. Their cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness, and high surface area media make them an attractive option for various water purification applications.

As research and development continue, augmented geotextiles hold the potential to play a vital role in ensuring the sustainability of aquatic systems and the environment, offering a cleaner and healthier future for water resources worldwide. Information courtesy of ExcelPlas.

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