Skip to content

The behaviour of “alive” earthworks with geosynthetics after several decades

Around the world, geosynthetics are used in a large range of earthworks. However, until now, these geomaterials encounter some difficulties for long term applications because of the scepticism of some engineers about the life span of polymeric materials. Many laboratory researches are carried out about the damage of geosynthetics versus elapsed time, but it’s always difficult to simulate the combination of solicitations as existing in the field. France was a pioneer country for use of geosynthetics in civil engineering. Consequently, it’s possible to find out such earth structures more than 25 years old. The co-authors of this paper are legitimate for this task, since they are among the first researchers involved in work on this topic. The additional interest of this presentation is linked to the fact that the new generation of engineers is unaware about these former applications of geosynthetics. The co-authors are presently involved in a wide program of visits of sites (Program “OGAR”), in order to show the present state of old geosynthetics structures, comparing with the initial design, when this initial information is still available. The selected earthworks described in the present paper are intentionally corresponding to miscellaneous applications, seeing that geosynthetics are encountered in all civil engineering cases.