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Technical paper: Permeable synthetic fabric membranes 2 - factors affecting their choice and control in geotechnics

By D J Hoare, University of Birmingham

This paper was first published in GE’s November 1978 issue and is the second part of a series of papers by the same author on the topic of synthetic membranes. The first paper was published in GE’s July 1978 issue.


Permeable synthetic fabric membranes are used in conjunction with soils in many types of civil engineering works. The fabrics are included to fulfil a variety of functions which have been classified as reinforcement, separation, filtration and drainage in the plane of the membrane (McGown & Ozelton, 1973; Leflaive at Puig, 1974). Each type of civil engineering project will require a certain combination of properties from the fabric in order to enable the soil fabric system to operate efficiently.

Fabrics can be constructed in many ways using different ‘raw materials with resulting properties which vary enormously.

It is the aim of this article to review the current situation in this rapidly developing field with the aim of presenting to the practising engineer information which should be considered before undertaking works including fabrics. 

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