Testing of Geotechnical Fabric for Use as Reinforcement

Twenty-seven commercially available petrochemical-based geotechnical fabrics, both woven and nonwoven, and one fiberglass fabric were evaluated for suitability as reinforcement in an embankment test section to be constructed on soft foundation at Pinto Pass in Mobile Harbor, Ala. by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District. All fabrics were subjected to initial testing in uniaxial tension and fabrics meeting or exceeding established strength criteria were subjected to additional testing to determine creep behavior, soil-fabric frictional resistance, and the effects of immersion and water absorption on developed tensile strength. The effects of specimen width and testing strain rate on uniaxial tension test results were also investigated.

Four woven geotechnical fabrics plus the woven fiberglass fabric were found to meet or exceed required tensile strength criteria: Nicolon 66475, Nicolon 66186, Polyfilter-X, Advance Type I, and Bay Mills 196-380-000 (fiberglass). Both Nicolon materials were found to have minimal creep tendency and strength loss after soaking. Polyfilter-X was found to have moderate creep tendencies and high strength loss upon soaking, while Advance Type I was found to have high creep tendencies and moderate strength loss upon soaking. Bay Mills 196-380-000 had zero creep tendency and was not tested for soaking strength loss. Minimum soil-fabric frictional resistance for all five fabrics approximated soil-alone behavior for a loose relative density condition.

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