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SECTION D Paper D.1 FILTRATION FUNCTION IN GEOTEXTILES RM Koerner In “Designing with Geosynthetics” Third Edition Prentice Hall ‘A short Course on Geosynthetics Applications in Civil Engineering NUS & SEAC-IGS May 98 EILTRATION FUNCTION IN GEOTEXTILES rom Designing with Geosynthetics by Bob Koerner) ‘The geotextile function of filtration involves the movement of liquid through the geo- textile itself, that is, across its manufactured plane. At the same time, the geotextile serves the purpose of retaining the soil on its upstream side. Both adequate permeabil- ity, requiring an open fabric structure, and soil retention, requiring a tight fabric struc- ture, are required simultaneously. A third factor is also involved, that being a long-term soil-to-geotextile fiow compatibility that will not excessively clog during the lifetime of the system. Thus a definition of filtration is: Filtration: the equilibrium soil-to-geotextile system that allows for adequate liquid flow with limited soil loss across the plane of the geotextile over a service lifetime compatible with the application under consideration. This function of filtration is a major one for the geotextile industry (recall the applica tion areas presented in Section 1.3.3). Geotextiles, when properly designed and con- structed, offer a practical remedy to many problems involving the flow of liquids. Permeability. This particular discussion of geotextile permeability refers to cross-plane permeability when liquid flow is perpendicular to the plane of the fabric. Some of the geotextiles used for this purpose are relatively thick and compressible. For this reason the thickness is included in the permeability coefficient and is used as a per- mitivity, which is defined as (28) where W = permittivity, k, = cross-plane permeability coefficient (the subscript » is often omitted), and 1'= thickness at a specified normal pressure. ‘The testing for geotextile permittivity follows lines similar to those used for testing soil permeability. It should be noted that some designers prefer to work directly with per- meability and require the geotextile’s permeability to be some multiple of the adjacent soil’s permeability, that is, 0.1, 1.0, or 10.0 (see Christopher and Fisher [3]) Soil Retention. For a greater flow of liquid to be allowed through a geotextile, the void spaces in it must be made larger. There is, however, a limit—that being when the upstream soil particles start to pass through the geotextile voids along with the flowing liquid. This can lead to an unacceptable situation called soil piping, in which the finer soil particles are carried through the geotextile, leaving larger soil voids behind. ‘The velocity of the liquid then increases, accelerating the process, until the soil struc- ture begins to collapse. This collapse often leads to minute sinkhole-type patterns that grow larger with time. This process is prevented by making the geotextile voids small enough to retain the soil on the upstream side of the fabric. It is the coarser soil fraction that must be ini- tially retained and that is the targeted soil size in the design process. These coarser-sized particles eventually block the finer-sized particles and build up a stable upstream soil structure. Fortunately, filtration concepts are well established in the design of soil filters, and those same ideas will be used to design an adequate geotextile filter. 86 Designing with Geotextiles Chap. 2 There are many formulee available for soil-retention design, most of which use the soil particle size characteristics and compare them to the 95%-opening size of the geoteatile, defined as 0os of the geotextile. The test method used in the US. to determine this value is called the apparent opening size (AOS) and it is a dry-sieving method. In Europe and Canada, the test method is called filtration opening size (FOS) and it is ac- complished by wet and hydrodynamic sieving, respectively. Both of these latter meth- ods are preferable to the dry-sieving method used in the US. ‘The simplest of the design methods examines the percentage of soil passing a No. 200 sieve, with openings of 0.075 mm. According to Task Force #25, the following is recommended [4] * For soi < 50% passing the No. 200 sieve: 055 < 0.60 mm, that is, AOS of the fabric = No. 30 sieve * For soil > 50% passing the No. 200 sieve: 0o5<0.30mm that is, AOS of the fabric = No. 50 sieve Beginning in 1972, a series of direct comparisons of geotextile-opening size (09s, Oso, oF 0,5) was made in ratio form to some soil particle size to be retained (dao, dys, deg, OF ds) (see Christopher and Fischer (3]). The numeric value of the ratio depends upon the geotextile type, the soil type, the flow regime, and so on. For example, Carroll [5] rec- ommends the following: 055 < (2 oF 3) des 29) where dis is the soil particle size in mm, for which 85% of the total soil is finer. In contrast to the simplified methods above, a more comprehensive approach to soil retention criteria is given in Figures 2.4a and 2.4b, for steady-state and dynamic flow conditions, respectively (Luettich et al. [6]). To utilize the figures we must first completely characterize the upstream soil. A grain-size distribution, along with Atter- berg limits and dispersivity characteristics for the fine fraction, are necessary. Exam- ples 2.3 and 2.4 illustrate the use of the figures. Example 2.3 What is the appropriate formula to obtain the required 09; of a geotextile filter under steady-state flow conditions if the upstream soil is 25% less than 0.002 mm and the fine fraction is nondispersive? Solution: From Figure 2.4a. 0); < 0.21 mm, which is equivalent to a No. 70 sieve or tighter. Example 2.4 ‘What is the appropriate formula to obtain the required 0s, of a geotextile filter under dy- namic flow conditions if the upstream soil is less than 50% fines and less than 90% gravel and the situation is one of severe wave attack Solution: From Figure 2.4b, 0ys < dsp, where dsy is the median particle size of the up- ‘stream soil.