The demand for geosynthetics in the infrastructure sector is growing considerably throughout the world, and India is no exception. As per the recent studies, the geosynthetics market is anticipated to grow at an impressive CAGR of over 9% by 2025 in the country. As a fast-developing economy, India is witnessing a significant infrastructural transformation including rapid growth in railways, roads, power, water resources, and much more. It is sacrosanct for these infrastructures to have long-term durability to prevent environmental disaster and land scarcity.
Modern materials such as geosynthetics are the need of the hour to provide quality and long-term sustainability to the infrastructure. The polymeric nature of geosynthetics makes them a perfect choice to be used in a place where a great level of durability is required and gives them an edge over other alternative solutions. There are myriad geosynthetic options to solve an array of problems efficiently in any construction project and can be used for basic applications of separation, drainage, filtration, reinforcement, and protection. Not just that, Geosynthetics can significantly reduce capital and maintenance costs and curtail construction time.
With challenges such as climate change and the increasing carbon footprint, geosynthetic products offer sustainable solutions thus giving them advantage over traditional construction method. Projects which involve the usage of geosynthetics can be efficiently executed with substantially less concrete steel, and thus earth soil. Results from various case studies have accentuated how geosynthetics can be more sustainable than traditional construction materials. They also offer exclusive benefits that can considerably evolve the engineering methods towards application-specific problems. Irrefutably, geosynthetics will play an integral role in achieving the aggressive infrastructure timelines and budget over the coming years in the nation.
While geosynthetics render some note-worthy benefits in terms of lower maintenance requirements, faster speed of construction, and environmental conservation, their adoption in India has been slow and one of the major reasons for this is low awareness. Based on their physical characteristics and applications, they are further classified into Geotextiles, Geocomposites, Geogrids, Geomembranes, Geocells, Geonets, Geofoams, etc. These can be used for:
•Reinforcement - Geosynthetics such as geostrip, geogrid, woven geotextile ameliorates the overall strength of the soil. In the case of embankments build over soft soils, they can also help in preventing the lateral spreading of the foundation, while increasing the confinement and thus,
improve the distribution of vertical stresses of the sub-grade. These combined benefits can enhance the load-carrying capacity of the road and railway tracks by over 50%.
• Stabilizations - Geotextiles and Geogrids are routinely used to stabilize weak soils during construction.
• Drainage - This function ensures adequate liquid f low without soil loss. Drainage geocomposites show excellent results in plane drainage capacity and resistance to high loads which make them suitable for applications such as drainage behind retaining walls, drainage layer under roads and railways embankments and drainage trenches.
• Filtration - The geotextile function of filtration involves the movement of liquid through the geotextile itself across its manufactured plane. At the same time, the geotextile most serve the purpose of retaining the soil on its upstream side. Geotextiles have adequate permeability with an open fabric structure and soil retention with a tight fabric structure.
• Containment - The application refers to any usage that includes geosynthetics as a barrier to liquid or gas materials. They are significantly used in wastewater management, heap leach mining liners, secondary tank containment, and landfill liners. Geomembranes, clay liners, geocomposite, are the most common geosynthetics used for containment. Geomembranes or geosynthetic clay liners guard against seepage loss, improves the flow of fluids, prevents infiltration, protects groundwater, isolates contaminated soils, etc.
• Erosion control - Geosynthetics can protect the soil against raindrops and water runoff by keeping in place soil particles; moreover, they can help to propagate the vegetation and to increase by several times the shear resistance of the vegetation roots system. Geosynthetics can be used on soil slopes, along the banks of canals and river courses. Different geosynthetic materials such as geomats, geocells are effective in controlling erosion.
Irrefutably, geosynthetics will play an integral role in achieving the aggressive infrastructure timelines and budget over the coming years in the nation
Mr. Vikramjiet Roy, the Managing Director of Maccaferri in India and the Regional CEO of the ISEAP (India, South-East Asia & Pacific) Region at the Officine Maccaferri Group
With innumerable benefits, geosynthetics are certainly paving the way for improved infrastructure around the world. They cover a wide range of functions from containment to drainage and much more in between. Industry experts have revealed that the road sector constitutes the maximum share in using geosynthetics in the country, i.e., nearly about 40%.
The transportation sector is certainly the most lucrative area for the Indian geotextile business because of its direct applicability and the vast scale of projects. Geotextiles are beneficial in separating different layers of sand, bitumen, and aggregate and further help in the construction of underpasses, bridges, flyovers, embankments, culverts, etc.
The application of geosynthetics in the transport sector has also witnessed a significant increase, as it enhances the strength and stability of the underlying soil in roadways and railway tracks. Upcoming metro rail, bullet train, and high-speed train projects in the country are envisaged to further rapidly, fuel the demand for geosynthetics. The use of non-woven geotextiles and geomembranes have been extensively recommended for developing landfill sites for efficiently managing solid waste.
Besides, geosynthetics are also widely used in the construction of dams and embankment canals, irrigation, drainage works, solid waste management, and soil erosion prevention in riverbanks and coastal areas. Unequivocally, geosynthetics offer a gamut of advantages that are bound to grow significantly due to their efficiency and sustainability.