Geogrids are geosynthetic materials made from polymer materials, and they typically consist of a flexible mesh. They are often used in engineering applications to provide reinforcement and create a firm foundation for construction. Geogrids work by interlinking with the granular or soil material placed over them. They contain apertures that enable this.
Geogrids are generally manufactured using three methods extrusion, weaving, or welding. From these construction methods, geogrids can be grouped into three types extruded, woven, and bonded geogrids. They can also be grouped into two other types depending on how they stretch. The first type, uniaxial geogrids, stretches only along the longitudinal axis. Conversely, the second type, biaxial geogrids, stretches in two directions – longitudinal and transverse. As a result, uniaxial geogrids provide a high tensile strength in the longitudinal direction, while biaxial geogrids provide equal strength in both directions.
Geogrids provide many benefits. They can ease construction, reduce its cost, speed it up and promote soil stabilization. Because of the latter benefit, they can help prevent soil erosion. Here’s how geogrids can help with erosion control.
1. Slope Erosion Control
Civil engineering projects such as road construction often result in steep slopes with loose soils that are highly prone to erosion processes. Water erosion is the leading cause of erosion on such slopes, and it often leads to partial or total degradation of the surface soil layer, which is transported downward.
Geogrids can provide erosion control on such slopes. They promote erosion control by boosting soil strength, thus discouraging sliding. But for best results, a geogrid that offers excellent tensile strength at low elongations is recommended.
2. Reduce Splash Erosion
Splash erosion happens when raindrops fall on bare soil and detach and displace the soil particles. Geogrids can boost the tensile strength of the soil and prevent splash erosion.
3. Reinforce Soft Soils
Soft soils in places such as lagoons are susceptible to soil erosion. Geogrids can increase the tensile strength of soft soils and prevent them from getting eroded.
4. Prevent Topsoil Erosion
Topsoil erosion occurs when soil is displaced by wind, water, or inappropriate farming activities such as overstocking. Geogrids can control soil erosion through confinement. Since they consist of a network of interlocking cells, they can reinforce soil and confine it within its pockets.
5. Promote Vegetation Growth
The presence of dense vegetation cover can significantly reduce erosion, especially on slopes. Plant roots promote soil strength and cohesion, thus minimizing its erodibility. Thick vegetation cover also minimizes the effects of splash erosion since vegetation absorbs the impact of raindrops. Thus, vegetation is essential for controlling soil erosion.
Geogrids can promote vegetation growth. As plants grow, the roots interweave with the geogrids, therefore creating a natural-synthetic network with high resistance to forces of nature. As a result, plants grown in conjunction with geogrids can prevent soil erosion better.
6. Reduce the Effects of Extreme Temperature
Temperature influences the growth of vegetation. Extreme temperatures can hamper vegetation growth. Geogrids can minimize the effects of extreme temperature and create a conducive environment for vegetation growth. Vegetation that thrives under optimal conditions can then help control soil erosion.
7. Prevent Seed Dispersion
Geogrids can prevent seeds from being dispersed, thus promoting their germination. The resulting crop can help control soil erosion.
8. Promote Moisture Retention
Moisture retention is vital for successful germination. Geogrids can ensure moisture isn’t lost and promote the penetration of water into the soil. This aids vegetation growth that in turn helps control soil erosion.
While projects like road construction are essential to driving economic growth, they need to be done in a sustainable manner that doesn’t destroy the environment. By reinforcing the soil and promoting vegetation growth, geogrids can help control soil erosion and promote sustainable development.