Development of Geosystems
In many cases Geosystems provide a sustainable construction approach involving combinations of traditional tried and tested techniques, however they are not a completely “new” concept.
The Ziggurat in Egypt and the Great Wall of China are the oldest examples of use of ‘Geosystems’. These techniques of incorporating man-made elements within the materials available on site are still employed in modern times and further developed by recent innovations involving the use of new materials and technologies.
Gabions were one of the first examples of modern Geosystems, dating back, in their earlier form, to the 1800s. More types of Geosystems were developed within the last four decades, with the availability of oil derived polymeric fibres and textiles. Polymeric geotextiles were first used to replace graded sand filters for drainage purposes in the 1970s and early 1980s. During the same period, the use of steel elements to reinforce granular fills and soil became widely accepted in the UK; polymeric and steel reinforcement based Geosystems were also starting to be considered for retaining walls and steepened slopes applications.
Geosystems are widely used in many areas of civil engineering, from retaining walls to drainage and pavements. While applications for Geosystems are increasing rapidly, there is still scope for further developments in the UK. Improving the levels of awareness of the cost and environmental benefits of these construction solutions, whilst conforming with current design standards and policies, is important. A better understanding of how Geosystems actually work will assist in this aim.
More information on the environmental and economic benefits of Geosystems is provided within the Benefits section, with Case Studies demonstrating these savings in practice . The Applications section provides an overview of suitable Geosystems for different site requirements.