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GeoJute and Jute Geotextile




Applications :
 Jane Rickson of Silsoe College identified three current main applications for jute:

  • Erosion control and vegetation establishment

  • Agroplant mulching

  • Rural road pavement construction


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The salient properties which determine the effectiveness of a geotextiles are percentage cover, water holding capacity, the thickness and roughness of fibres and yarns, their orientation across the slope and installation procedures which do not disturb the site. Testing over 12 years at Silsoe has proved the technical excellence of jute compared with other natural and synthetic geotextiles under a range of environmental conditions, showing that vegetation establishment is highly effective when jute is used.

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A newly developed wick drain, formed from a jute sleeve packed with coir, showed how combinations of geotextile types provide benefits greater than the sum of each. Professor Bob Sarsby of Bolton Institute reported on full-scale trials of soil walls incorporating jute rope reinforcement. This work graphically demonstrated the strength of jute in supporting walls of 4m or more. He went on to describe the use jute in road construction especially over areas of poor ground. Not enough attention has yet been paid to this potentially extensive application.

The micro-climate surrounding jute geotextiles has been explored by Yves Henri Faure of Grenoble University who has tested the efficiency of jute sheets in preventing loss of soil in shallow and steep slopes. Earth works were built on a test-bed capable of being rotated to various inclinations and subjected to simulated rainfall, varying from light to heavy tropical downpours. The amount of soil lost to erosion was measured. 

The faces were then protected by various geotextiles and the soil erosion again measured. The tests simulated wash out of vegetated soil slopes and provided data of use in landscaping projects. Over the whole range of rainfall intensities and slope angles jute geotextiles outshone the other materials. A jute of approximately 500g per m2 appeared to be cost effective.

Using jute to protect large areas from erosion, including high-altitude ski-slopes with significant precipitation, has been trialed by Francoise Dinger of CEMAGREF. The ability of jute to absorb five times its own weight of water ( 3kg per m2 of slope ) was demonstrated. The retained water firstly attenuates the run-off into the drainage system and is then released gradually to soak into the adjacent soil to nourish the vegetation from severe frosts, so aiding growth.

Mike Hyder of Hy-Tex Ltd. commented that prevention of soil erosion was better and more cost effective than remedial works. The most vulnerable sites were over steepened slopes, exposed highly erodible sub-soil, and disturbed or badly compacted ground.

Consequences of soil erosion were: poor growing conditions, additional costs for remedial works, blocked drains and flooding, pollution of waterways and increased maintenance. Many applications of jute made by his company were illustrated by ‘before and after’ photographs showing the dramatic improvement in vegetation growth and erosion control.

Barbara Lois of SIRAS Company described the extensive environmental works undertaken in France using jute geotextiles, including rehabilitating mine dumps, restoring the Rhone river banks and the vegetating high altitude steep slopes at the Winter Olympic ski jump in Savoie. Landscaping of slopes alongside the TGV rail line and along highway cuttings and embankments showed the effectiveness of the geotextiles.

Dr. Finn Terkelsen from Denmark felt that the partners in this field are playing a waiting game. The jute mills are waiting for the engineers to tell them what to do, whilst the engineers are waiting for the jute mills to show them what is available. Much research has been carried out by several institutes in jute producing countries as well as in Europe. Interesting results were seen but wider use did not materialise. It will be important to address this issue and to use past experiences as stepping stone for future work. There is currently a very wide gap. Erosion control, foundations, sound barriers, filters, and reinforcement and drainage were suggested as the most appropriate target uses of jute geotextiles.











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