Water retention of nonwoven polyester geotextiles

Abdelmalek Bouazza, Michelle Freund, Hani Nahlawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Planar polymeric geotextile materials are increasingly used in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering applications to perform various functions such as filtration, drainage and reinforcement. In most cases, they are placed above the groundwater table where soil and geotextiles pores are filled with water and air (i.e. under unsaturated conditions). In this respect, the development of the geotextile water-retention curves is of great importance to model the transient water flow in earthen systems containing geotextiles where unsaturated conditions may prevail. This paper, presents the results of a study on the cross-plane and in-plane water-retention characteristics of two nonwoven, polyester geotextiles. The geotextiles cross plane water-retention data demonstrated their hydrophobic nature with both specimens being essentially non-conductive to water beyond suction heads of 0.2-0.3 kPa. Pore size and porosity seemed to have a controlling effect on both the desaturation and resaturation processes. The geotextile with the larger apparent opening size and porosity de-saturated at very low suction pressure (0.4 kPa), whereas a slightly higher suction (0.9 kPa) was needed to de-saturate the geotextile with smaller apparent opening size and porosity. Both specimens exhibited significant hysteresis in their water-retention function, such that at a given suction a geotextile contained more water when drying than when wetting. The in-plane water retention of drying geotextiles indicates that both geotextile specimens absorbed no water at suctions greater than zero; thus the water retention of a dry specimen in the in-plane direction is effectively equal to zero. This implies that the geotextiles used in the present study were more hydrophobic in the in-plane than the cross-plane direction during wetting. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038 - 1043
Number of pages6
JournalPolymer Testing
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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