Engineering Application Of Geo Synthetics In Civil Engineering Essay

Failed inclines in technology dirts are caused by a assortment of factors including incline geometry, material strength, hydrology and groundwater, seasonal clime fluctuations and the effects of flora and wildlife. In order to better these unstable inclines there are several site redress techniques that can be used, these include the acquisition of extra land, cut downing the incline, put ining extra drainage, dirt nailing and supplying stableness by structural methods. All these methods have their advantages and restrictions and can be really dearly-won. Another alternate attack is the usage of electro kinetic geosynthetics ( EKG ) to better these unstable dirts. Electrocardiograms have the ability to supply both inactive and active functions: EKG drains actively attract H2O while EKG support or dirt nails non merely supply support, but besides increase the shear strength of the dirt in which they are placed up soil/reinforcement bond as a consequence


Engineering application of Geo-synthetics in civil and environmental industries has become widely utilized as supports, filtration, drainage, and sediment control or used as barriers. Geo-synthetics provide opposition -reaction- to applied tonss and will non impact the dirt matrix construction. Newcastle University developed new engineering added ability to geo-synthetics so soil matrix construction can be changed in both physical and chemical belongingss of utilizing electrokinetic theory ( Jones et al, 2006 ) . This engineering employs both cataphoresis and electro-osmosis maps of electro dynamicss. This requires electric conduction to be added to geo-synthetics belongingss so can be utilised in conventional application and the new technique. This combination of maps is frequently referred as Electro Kinetic Geo-synthetics ( EKGs ) . The application of EKGs can heighten transit of H2O inside all right low preamble dirts that may be hard to make by conventional methods. EKGs technique implies using electrical field across the dirt mass utilizing EKGs so ions on charged H2O will be free to migrate. The cathode will pull the negative ions and the anode will pull positive ions. The migration of ions will coerce H2O to travel toward the cathode for dewatering and do dirt to consolidate. EKGs are non limited to land betterments but it can be used for dewatering of waste and mine shadowing.

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Electrokinetic Theory

The design with this method requires an apprehension of electrokinetic phenomena in dirts. There are five major types of electrokinetic phenomena: streaming possible, migration potency, electro osmosis, ion migration and cataphoresis. Electro-osmosis effects responsible of H2O conveyance mechanism when electrical field applied to the dirt mass i.e. no dirt atom are transported. Electro-osmosis occurs when electrical potency is applied so charged dirt atoms will promote H2O flow in dirt Figure 1. The equation of H2O flow in dirt under electrical possible gradient is given by ( Mitchell, 1993 ) :

u = – ke/kh. ?w. V

Q= ke.V/L. A


u = pore H2O force per unit area

ke = coefficient of electro-osmotic permeableness

kh = coefficient of hydraulic permeableness

?w = denseness of H2O

Q = electro-osmotic H2O flow

V = electromotive force applied between electrodes

L = spacing between electrodes ( anode – cathode )

A = country between electrodes normal to the flow.

Anode +ve



Flow ( ke )



Figure 1 – Electro-osmotic flow ( ELECTROKINETIC LTD, 2010 )

Electro-osmotic permeableness ke is non related to the pore size. The most practical value is cm2/s V for clay and low hydraulic permeableness kh ( Jones et al, 2006 ) .

Applications of EKGs

Beside the conventional usage of Geo-synthetics in civil and environmental technology, EKGs may be used particularly for incline stabilization, Ground consolidation and support of dirts.

Slope Stabilisation

Stabilization of clay embankment has been conducted on 22m stretch of 9m high embankment ( ELECTROKINETIC LTD, 2010 ) . EKG intervention was based on 2m spaced electrodes so DC potency is applied get downing electro-osmosis procedure. The consequences of 6-week intervention yielded a decrease in malleability and shrinking features and improved shear strength parametric quantities. In add-on, the EKG electrodes provided lasting dirt nails for the embankment. The cost of this method was 26 % less than the least slope stabilization method ( ELECTROKINETIC LTD, 2010 ) .

Land Consolidation

Application of EKGs is established to consolidate really soft clays with high H2O content. In conventional land betterments, a big surcharge force per unit area to be applied on the soft dirt bed and necessitate long clip for consolidation to take topographic point. A full graduated table trial was performed without utilizing surcharge lading on really soft china clay clay consolidation utilizing EKGS consequence 14 % consolidation and increased shear strength from & A ; lt ; 1kPa to over 15kPa ( ELECTROKINETIC LTD, 2010 ) . The typical application of electro-osmosis consolidation is dewatering mine waste or sewerage sludge. The procedure of utilizing this technique is illustrated in Figure 2

Figure 2 – Consolation procedure utilizing EKGs

Support of dirts

The usage of EKGs made it possible to utilize cohesive dirts in building of strengthened dirt walls. This because of the strength bonds established between EKGs and soft dirt due to cementation around the electrodes. The hard-boiled perpendicular electrodes signifiers soil nails and increase factor of safety of the construction.

Advantages and Restrictions of EKGs

The application of electro-osmosis by usage of open metallic electrodes is really limited due to the rapid corrosion of the anode during consolidation. The add-on of the geosynthetic stuffs to the electrodes has eliminated this job leting the technique to be used on a broad scope of applications such as consolidation, dewatering sewerage sludge and bracing inclines. The advantages and restrictions of each will be discussed below.

Traditional consolidation methods include the usage of Prefabricated Vertical Drains ( PVD ) where the hydraulic flow of the dirt will find the sum of consolidation this is expressed by Darcy ‘s jurisprudence:

Q = kh ih A

Where ;

kh is the coefficient hydraulic conduction

Ih is the hydraulic permeableness

A is the country

The procedure of electro-osmotic consolidation is expressed in a similar mode:

Q = ke ie A

Where ;

ke is the coefficient of electro-osmotic permeableness

Internet Explorer is the possible gradient i.e. electromotive force

Figure 3 – Comparison of electro-osmosis vs. hydraulic permeabilityThere is a considerable advantage in utilizing Electrokinetic Geosynthetic Prefabricated Vertical Drains ( EG-PVD ) . The value of ke can be up to of greater than 10,000 times the value of kh, the comparings can be see in Figure 3

Figure 4 – Comparison of electro-osmosis V hydraulic permeableness

The value of kh can drop during the consolidation procedure whereas ke is stable and efficiency throughout the full procedure can increase. Stage lading on weak dirts is needed for conventional consolidation methods nevertheless no phase burden is needed at all with electro-osmosis. Cricks or abnormalities in the EG-PVD is irrelevant, in fact efficiency increases with cricks whereas cricks in PVD hinders efficiency. The velocity of consolidation through electro-osmosis can be increased by 800 % .

These advantages of EKG will impact the cost efficiency of this consolidation/remediation technique. The cost of traditional consolidation can be expressed as a map of PVD, surcharge and clip Internet Explorer:

Ctraditional = f [ PVD + surcharge + clip ]

Where ;

PVD = cost of stuff and installing

Surcharge = cost of stuff, transit, remotion and disposal

Time = cost of lost chance

The cost of EKG can be expressed in the same mode as

CEKG = f [ EG-PVD + operations + clip ]

Where ;

EG-PVD = cost of stuff, installing, electrical connexions

Operationss = monetary value of electricity ( DC )

Time = cost of lost chance

The advantage of EG-PVD is installation equipment is the same as PVD. The cost to fabricate EG-PVD is more expensive than PVD nevertheless this may be cancelled out depending on the site and the sum and type of surcharge stuff. The cost of running electro-osmosis is about tantamount to the cost of fuel required to transport the surcharge stuff. As mentioned before the clip of consolidation utilizing of electro-osmosis is 1/8 times that of traditional methods hence lost chance will be greatly reduced.

A traditional method of sewerage intervention through a belt imperativeness creates a sludge bar of solid content between 16 % and 20 % . The resulting H2O content requires the sludge bar to be assorted with straw so it can be handled and transported decently and disposal by incineration requires the sludge to be assorted with a fuel oil to assistance in the addition of thermic content. The add-on of EKG enables the procedure to make bars sludge with solid content of 30 % and volume decrease of 50 % the difference of the two merchandises can be seen in Figure 5

Figure 5 – Sludge mix comparing between 20 % solid content and 30 % solid content

The incorporation of EKG has eliminated the needed add-on of straw for mechanical stableness and the add-on of fuels is non needed if incineration is applied.

The ensuing bar sludge in Figure 5 can be used as an illustration to compare the cost between the 2 methods per machine.

Traditional Belt Press

EKG Belt Press

Loading ( kg/hr )



Operational hours



Dry solids %



Disposal cost ( $ AU/m3 )



Disposal cost per twelvemonth ( $ AU/yr )



Electricity cost ( $ AU/yr )


EKG salvaging ( $ AU/yr )


Table 1 – Cost comparing of EKG and Traditional methods

EKG is really good in the dewatering of aslant dirts. The extraction of H2O through carefully positioned electrodes increases the shear strength of the dirt and the electrodes may supply farther support. The advantage of utilizing EKG is the versatility of the application. Slope stabilization can be slippery as surcharging may non be feasible on an slope and weathering of the site can destabilize one time stable dirt conditions. One any possible failure planes are established electrodes can be installed and consolidation can continue. Once consolidation has finished the electrodes can stay in topographic point as support.

Design Techniques

The design techniques of dirt betterments are frequently based on design codifications. EKG is freshly developed technique so the design doctrine normally based on trial tests. However, the utility of dirt trials undertaken to measure suitableness for electrokinetic intervention are shown in Table 2

Table 2 – The assorted dirt trials, which EKG can handle

For successful consolidation the undermentioned standard is to be established before the design of the technique can be created:

The acceptableness of the dirt to accept electro-osmotic intervention

The electro-osmotic permeableness

Soil electrical electric resistance

Electrode constellation

Electrode layout

The needed current demand

The stabilization of inclines incorporates a similar attack in planing the technique, with the add-on of finding the expected failure planes, happening the relationship between the shear strength and the possible faux pas planes and the needed decrease of H2O to accomplish the necessary shear strength.

The most appropriate constellation of electrodes is found to be the usage of EG-PVD which was mentioned antecedently. The application of strengthened walls can besides be used but by and large less effectual than EG-PVD.

The ideal agreement of the electrodes is found to be in the signifier of a hexangular agreement. Each corner of the hexagon contains an electrode with a cathode in the center. This agreement creates the most effectual electrical field and inturn cut downing the overall intervention clip. The agreement can be seen in Figure 6

Figure 6 – The ideal agreement of electrodes ( Red = anode, Blue = Cathode )

The needed current demand can be found utilizing the undermentioned equation:

It = ncs?V/L

Where ;

It is the sum required current

N is the figure of anode/cathode braces

degree Celsius is the efficiency factor ( 0.8 & A ; lt ; c & amp ; lt ; 0.9 )

? is the soils electrical dirt conduction

V is electromotive force

L is the distance between the anode and cathode

The stabilization of inclines incorporates a similar attack in planing the technique, with the add-on of finding the expected failure planes, happening the relationship between the shear strength and the possible faux pas planes and the needed decrease of H2O to accomplish the necessary shear strength.

The application of geosynthetics has enabled the design of electrodes in many forms and signifiers. It has permitted the design to accommodate many different stuffs, scenes and applications. Geosynthetics can be incorporated into the electrode itself non merely moving as a protective barrier, this can do the electrodes multifunctional.

Case survey: Stabilization of a Railway embankment

This technique was successfully used to brace a failing clay embankment in London. From utilizing this technique it resulted in a 26 % in cost decrease and a 47 % decrease in C footmark compared to traditional techniques.

The dirt belongingss consisted of a mixture of weather-beaten London Clay and other stuff such as brick and rock fragments onto implicit in alluvial sediment and patio crushed rocks. The dirt conditions were identified as unstable and unsuitable for any constructions to be constructed on. From the readings of an inclinometer they indicated a faux pas plane at a deepness of 2.5m, which could ensue in a shallow translational slide or a deep round failure.

In the initial phases a test was conducted on a 22m by 9m high Victorian embankment where the incline had a Factor of safety of 0.81. Mention to Figure 7 for the incline profile of the embankment.

The EKG was unambiguously designed to guarantee that none of the two identified failure mechanisms would interfere with the technique. The EKG electrodes were arranged in a hexagon form as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 7 – Cross Section of the incline profile

Result of the Case Study

From using this technique the intervention merely took 6 hebdomads in order to brace the incline and resulted in:

An betterment in shear strength parametric quantities,

A decrease malleability and shrinking features

The dirt was dewatered up to 25 times faster compared to command drains

There was an addition in the land H2O temperature from 10 & A ; deg ; C to 20 & A ; deg ; C

A low sum of power was used in order to accomplish this consequence ( 11.5kW/m3 )

A incline stableness analysis was undertaken earlier and after. The consequences are shown below in Table 3. These consequences show that after the application of the EKG the factor of safety increased to a sensible degree where it can be classified as a stable land.



Factor of Safety

Pre intervention



Pre EKG intervention



Post EKG intervention



Post EKG intervention



Table 3 – Summary of consequences

Compared to traditional techniques for bettering unstable inclines, the EKG method had the lowest entire undertaking cost salvaging 26 % when compared to gabion baskets and incline relaxation. It besides had a lower C footmark of up to 47 % when compared to conventional methods


In drumhead there are many benefits that the EKG technique is able to supply an effectual method for incline stabilization, Reduced costs, the demands for labor and stuffs is really low and have reduced wellness and safety hazards.

These EKG stuffs open up a new scope of applications for geosynthetics. Where the nature of these applications are basically different to those conventionally associated with geosynthetics in that the EKGs consequence can alter depending on the nature and signifier of the stuff in which they are placed. Current applications of EKG stuffs relate to a figure of chief issues that can ensue in a brighter hereafter for the following coevals which including clime alteration, the decrease of C footmarks and decrease and reuse of wastes.


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