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Rapid prototyping of geosynthetic interfaces: Investigation of peak strength using direct shear tests

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journal contribution
posted on 28.09.2017, 09:16 by Gary John Fowmes, Neil DixonNeil Dixon, Liwei Fu, Catalin A. Zaharescu
Rapid prototyping offers a platform technology for investigations within the geosynthetics research and manufacturing sectors. This paper considers the application of rapid prototyping for the development of geosynthetic interfaces. The benefits and challenges of three rapid prototyping techniques (fused filament fabrication, selective laser sintering and laser thermal ablation) are considered and comparisons are presented between the three technologies. The paper then compares prototyped models of geomembrane texturing to those of a factory sourced reference geomembrane, leading on to a systematic geometric assessment using laser sintered model geomembranes. The geometric assessment highlights the benefits of hooked geomembrane asperities to interact with geotextiles in low normal stress applications, with a 69% increase in peak shear strength reported for hooked asperities, compared to the factory reference geometry. Asperity spacing is shown to influence the measured shear strength, with an increase for a geomembrane geotextile interfaces with closer asperities and an optimum spacing observed for geomembrane clay interfaces, below which the failure plane slides over the top of the texturing. Increases in asperity height correlated to smaller than expected increases in shear stresses for both geomembrane-geotextile and geomembrane clay interfaces.Whilst current rapid manufacturing techniques are shown to offer the ability to test the influence of variables on the performance characteristics of geosynthetic materials, the limitations of each technique, polymer utilised and resulting chemical and physical behaviour of the sample must be understood to allow these techniques to be successfully deployed.


The support provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through grant EP/M015483/1 is gratefully acknowledged. The Authors also wish to thank the IGS UK Chapter for project funding.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Geotextiles and Geomembranes








FOWMES, G.J. ... et al, 2017. Rapid prototyping of geosynthetic interfaces: Investigation of peak strength using direct shear tests. Geotextiles and Geomembranes, 45 (6), pp. 674-687.


© Elsevier


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This paper was published in the journal Geotextiles and Geomembranes and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geotexmem.2017.08.009.