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Feeling is believing

Those who visit Tensar International on Stand 421 will find more than the well-known Tensar range of high density polyethylene geogrids. On show for the first time will be the Basetex range of knitted geotextiles - a radical departure for the Blackburn-based company.

Tensar is best known for geogrids manufactured by a patented process involving the controlled stretching of heated pre-punched sheets of high density polyethylene. These new fabrics, however, will be produced on four specialist knitting machines recently installed at Tensar's Blackburn headquarters. Initially Basetex fabrics will be knitted from high tenacity polyester fibres, but, Dixon says this is unlikely to be the end of the story.

'We could use all sorts of fibres, up to and including such exotics as polyamides, to produce some very high performance fabrics.'

Tensar claims the fibres in Basetex are effectively dead straight, which gives the fabrics a performance advantage over their woven competitors - 'less initial deformation under load,' Dixon explains, adding: 'And there should be less damage on site as well.'

Tested to BS 6906: 1987, a typical Basetex fabric would turn in performance figures showing a longitudinal tensile strength of 800kN/m linked to a transverse tensile strength of 50kN/m. Extension at failure is around 10% in both directions, and the 100% polyester fabric is 2.5mm thick and weighs in at 1.48kg/m2. Basetex fabrics are normally supplied in 4.4m wide rolls up to 100m long.

Civils 98 will be the first opportunity for most potential customers to see - and feel - Basetex. Tensar will be offering its usual design support. There will also be a 'new corporate identity' on show - mainly to emphasise the company's separate identity within the Netlon Group.

Dave Parker

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