Develop biobased, degradable solutions for geotextiles in short term applications such as temporary earthen structures and vegetation protection.


Nov 30, 2021


May 30, 2024

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Geotextiles successfully perform a variety of different functions such as separation, protection, filtration, reinforcement and erosion control. This variety is reflected in the numerous applications of geotextiles, such as dams, dikes, embankments, open-cast mines, landfills, road construction, forestry and landscaping. Over 1.4 billion m² of geotextiles are installed worldwide each year. Only 2% of today's geotextiles are made from renewable materials, although the potential to substitute with renewable materials is estimated at 50%.

Considering increasing ecological and social challenges, building safe, durable and cost-effective infrastructure without geotextiles is unlikely in the future. The durability of geotextiles in soil, at several decades, is generally equivalent to the life of earthen structures. However, there is a substantial market for non-durable geotextiles that is not satisfactorily served by the products available today. The problem here is the fate of the geotextiles remaining in the soil once they have fulfilled their function. The market is currently dominated by products made from petro-based plastics.

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The aim of "DegraTex" is to develop biobased, degradable solutions for geotextiles in short term applications such as temporary earthen structures and vegetation protection. Within the project, various textile structures for those applications will be explored and evaluated regarded their impact on the surrounding environment by their degradation process. Furthermore, the project aims to develop evaluation and development tools for degradable geotextiles. The results will enable the substitution of conventional geotextiles in technically and ecologically useful applications by biobased and degradable product solutions, thus reducing the impact on the immediate environment and the use of petrochemical plastics in nature.

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“DegraTex” will focus on two main applications. Once the reinforcement and erosion protection of earthen structures and once the vegetation protection. As the two applications have very different requirements, the first step is to draw up specifications. In addition to the application, these also take into account aspects of the textile, yarn and polymer as well as aspects of the biological assessment of the environmental impact. Subsequently, biobased, degradable geotextiles will be designed using different textile technologies and the associated textile production processes will be developed. At the same time, a methodology will be developed to investigate the time-dependent interaction mechanisms of the geotextile in contact with soil, air and organisms due to the degradability. Once the textile structures are available, the installation methods will be tested in laboratory and field environments. An evaluation framework for degradable geotextiles will be developed throughout the project. This will provide a basis for decision-making based on technological, ecological and economic evaluation of the processes and resulting products with regard to their life cycle.

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