Geotextile fabric is a type of material commonly used in construction and erosion control projects to improve the characteristics of the soil being worked with. This allows construction to take place in locations which might not otherwise be accessible.
Traditionally, geotextile fabrics are made of synthetic materials or combined with asphalt or other non-porous materials to increase their strength and filtration abilities. Non-woven geotextile fabrics are most commonly used to prevent groundwater pollution from construction projects and are also most commonly combined with asphalt, rubber, or other materials.
Geotextile Fabric Uses
Geotextile fabrics have several applied uses:
- Protection – Geotextile fabrics are ideal for protecting easily eroded locations, including beaches. Their versatility means they can even be placed underwater if necessary, preventing erosion from wave currents.
- Reinforcement – Heavier-density geotextiles can be used to reinforce weak or loose soil in construction sites or areas where the land cannot support agricultural growth on its own.
- Filtration – One of the most common uses of geotextile fabric is filtration; that is, allowing water to pass through while keeping sediments from polluting natural water sources.
- Separation – Most commonly seen in road construction, geotextile fabric is used to keep different types of soil from mixing. For example, a geotextile fabric layer may be placed between a coarse aggregate and a finer sub-grade aggregate, keeping the two separate and ensuring the stability of both.
- Drainage – Another widespread use of geotextile fabrics is drainage. This is different from filtration, as geotextile fabrics used for drainage catch rainwater or other naturally produced water and diffuse it into the soil. This can help prevent flooding.
Using Coir as a Geotextile Fabric
Recent research into using coir, the fibrous part of a coconut’s husk, as a geotextile has shown promising results. Coir fiber is relatively strong and maintains water saturation, which can be essential in drier climates. It’s also cost-effective; the high supply of coir compared to the demand makes coir geotextile fabrics relatively inexpensive.
One of the most substantial benefits of coir as a geotextile fabric is its eco-friendly nature. As a biodegradable geotextile, it adds nutrients to the soil naturally over time while simultaneously encouraging plant growth. It’s resistant to rot, fungus, and bacteria that may otherwise damage or kill plant life, whether it be in your garden or as part of a comprehensive erosion control program.
When used in civil engineering projects, coir geotextile fabrics have been shown to have high durability and strength, resisting compression and adding value to the soil. Coir geotextiles have been used as part of the foundation of both paved and unpaved roads in India, and have also seen great success in slope erosion control and topsoil retention.
Whether you’re using coir on a personal level; for example, to keep your garden healthy and encourage moisture retention, or are hoping for a more eco-friendly alternative to the synthetic geotextiles that are currently available, we highly recommend exploring possible options for coir geotextile fabrics.