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Sun, sea and geosynthetics


Innovation and the future will be the special focus of the 7th International Conference on Geosynthetics, to be held at the Nice Acropolis Convention Centre from 22 to 27 September.

Organised by the French Geosynthetics Committee under the auspices of the International Geosynthetics Society, this is one of the most important events in the international geotechnical calendar.The conference will present a global view of research developments and practical experience, with emphasis on up-and-coming authors.This preview aims to give a flavour of the event and highlights of the technical programme as well as profiles of some of the companies participating in the accompanying exhibition.

Further information can be found at the conference website, www.7icg-nice2002. com

Conference president Philippe Delmas outlines the event.

It is 25 years since the first World Conference on Geotextiles was held in Paris. This year the French Geosynthetics Committee is once again the host for a global event - the 7th International Conference on Geosynthetics.

The conference's main aim is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and to provoke constructive discussion. It will be an ideal opportunity for the world's top geosynthetic experts from a wide range of scientific and technical backgrounds to compare ideas and share experience and knowledge.

A fundamental aspect of the event will be innovation and the future, with special emphasis on young and up-and-coming authors and on papers presenting innovative techniques and exploring new geosynthetic applications.

Discussions will be interdisciplinary, a melting-pot of environmental specialists, geotechnical engineers, geologists and hydraulics engineers, all interested or involved in using geosynthetics techniques.

The conference is aimed at all experts working in this field, whether researchers or academics, designers, contractors, engineers or operators. In the space of just a few days scientists and practitioners will be able to gather information that it would normally take several months to find. More than 200 papers will be presented at the conference, giving an overview of the latest research discoveries and field experiment results.

The accompanying exhibition of geosynthetic products, technologies and services will bring together more than 100 exhibitors from around the world, presenting the latest products as well as pursuing and building on exchanges of ideas and contacts between companies, experts and users.

Outside the conference proper, several social events will be organised for delegates and the people accompanying them, including cocktail parties, mini theme evenings, a gala evening, sports events (the traditional football match and a mini-marathon) and excursions.

Technical programme Instead of senior figures in the geosynthetics field, the conference organisers have chosen young engineers and researchers to present the keynote lectures.This will give those representing 'the future of the discipline'a unique opportunity to address an international and expert audience.

The keynote lectures are:

Landfills Presented by A Bouazza (Australia), D Adams (Austria) and J Zornberg (USA) Filtration Presented by EM Palmeira (Brazil) and J Fannin (Canada) General sessions More than 200 papers will be presented in Nice in 20 general sessions held in parallel over the four days of the conference. A poster session will run throughout the event.

The subjects to be covered are:

hydraulic applications

wall structures, slopes and foundations: design and applications

roads and railways: design and applications

Geosynthetics damage Presented by A Watn (Norway) and SH Chew (Singapore) Modelling soil-geosynthetic interaction Presented by P Villard (France), N Kotake (Japan) and J Otani (Japan).

The Giroud Lecture on Geosynthetic-reinforced embankments on soft foundations will be presented by RK Rowe (Canada)

landfill and environmental applications

hydraulic functions: materials, tests, standardisation and quality

mechanical functions: materials, tests, standardisation and quality

watertightness functions: materials, tests, standardisation and quality



Specific titles of papers can be found at the conference website, www.7icg-nice2002. com

Special sessions

Sixteen special sessions will be run, covering filtration, geomembranes, standard testing methods, installation damage, erosion control, design software, reinforced structures under seismic conditions, roads, railways, landfills, dams, geosynthetics and education.

As well as presenting state of the art research and practice, the emphasis of these sessions will be on discussion, with audience participation encouraged. International experts have been invited to take part in debates in each session.

Monday 10:30 and 14:30 Seismic stability of reinforced soil works Chairmen: F Tatsuoka and HI Ling Two special sessions are devoted to case histories and design issues of geosynthetic-reinforced soil structures under earthquake loading.

The first session focuses on case histories. It will feature presentations on model shaking table tests of a variety of geosynthetic-reinforced structures and comparisons with conventional solutions; postearthquake investigations; tie rods to stabilise reinforced soil structures; and finite element analysis results.

The second session will cover new applications, design and practice.

Presentations include: seismic design and strength of geosynthetic reinforcement; centrifuge modelling; field testing using blasting and high energy rock impacts; deformation during cyclic loading; and seismic performance of waste containment systems.

10:30 Geomembranes for landfills Chairmen: JP Giroud and N Touze-Foltz The session will cover leachate and pollutant transport through landfill barrier systems, design methods, laboratory and field data, the impact of geomembrane ageing on integrity of landfill barriers and the types of geomembranes suitable for landfills.

Featured presentations include: impermeable liner systems, hydraulic performance of geocomposites, geo-electrical leaks surveys, permeation of organic chemicals through membranes and ageing and degradation of liners.

Tuesday 10:30 Interface friction: peak, residual or in-between Chairmen: R Koerner and P Bourdeau There are may strain-softening interfaces in the shear strength testing of geosynthetics; most notably textured geomembranes and clay geosynthetic barriers. This session will present the rationale and logic of how to make the proper choice, with papers on shear and tilting tests, how test results can be used in design and looking at the thought process behind design and cost implications.

10:30 Dams Chairmen: P Royet and D Cazzuffi Dams are one of the most prominent civil engineering structures in terms of public safety concerns, including worries about overspill, breach or rupture. They are often subject to high environmental effects - mechanical, hydraulic and climatic - and are expected to operate safely for long periods, sometimes up to a century.

Longevity is a key consideration in design and only tried and tested techniques are normally used. Interest is growing in the use of geosynthetics in dam construction and repair, sparked by increased experience of the products in these applications.

The aim of this special session is to exchange information on the latest developments and to discuss practice around the world.

Papers will cover geotextile filtration systems for dams; the performance of geomembranes for waterproofing; the use of geocomposites in the core of a rockfill dam; and the use of geotextiles for repair and refurbishment.

14:30 Geosynthetic design software Chairmen: D Leshchinsky and RH Chen Computer software, particularly advanced CAD, is extremely useful in the design of geosynthetic reinforced structures. Presentations in this special session will include performance prediction of structures and implementation in design; 3D effects; design of basal reinforced embankments; and finite element analysis software.

14:30 Geosynthetic containers Chairmen: M Heibaum and MK Breteler Geosynthetic containers are engineering elements that use geosynthetic fabrics to encase other materials such as sand, concrete and waste. There are a wide variety of applications. Those to be presented include construction of underwater dykes; the use of geotubes to slow contamination migration in dredged soils; and geotextileencased columns for dyke foundations on very soft soils. Testing and finite element modelling of geosynthetic containers will also be discussed.

16:30 Geomembrane liners on steep slopes and walls Chairmen: I Peggs and HY Jeon This workshop will cover the design and installation of geomembranebased lining systems on steep slopes, steep quarry walls, dams, tanks and concrete walls. Each panel member will give a provocative fiveminute presentation and there will then be an hour of discussion involving the panel and the audience. Subjects include UK developments in steep wall linings, anchoring and protecting steep slopes and textured membranes.

Wednesday 10:30 Retention capacity and clogging of geotextiles Chairmen: J Lafleur and W Wolski The session will focus on how the filter properties of geotextiles can be optimised to cover the broadest range of soils and the influence of dynamic and static conditions on these properties. Presentations will include soil-nonwoven geotextile filtration behaviour, the relationship between permeability and retention criteria for geotextile and granular filters and design and index tests for geotextiles being used as filters in unsteady flow conditions.

Thursday 10:30 Embankments in zones prone to subsidence Chairmen: JC Blivet and V Rao The session will be spilt into three categories to examine how geosynthetics can be used to combat the risk of damage from localised subsidence: the use of experimental test results and experience gained from construction sites where subsidence has occurred; design approaches; and warning systems to give information for fast remediation.

Presentations will cover case studies from across Europe including full scale tests at the Grobers railway node in Germany (GE December 2001), laboratory tests and proposals for design methods.

There will be opportunities for questions and discussion throughout the session.

10:30 Long term durability Chairmen: A Bezuijen and D Suits How geosynthetic materials behave during their design life, is a key issue for design. Areas of particular concern include performance in chemically aggressive environments such as landfills, where leachates may affect and damage the materials, or in physically demanding environments such as coastal defence structures. Presentations include analysis of the in-service performance of geotextile separators and geomembranes.

13:00 Reinforced embankments on piles Chairmen: CJFP Jones and C Lawson The use of reinforced embankments supported on piles offers significant economic and technical benefits. The session will review the current state of practice and illustrate the technique through specific case histories. The design approaches adopted will also be discussed.

Presentations will include case histories on railway embankments and road widening; the behaviour of soils reinforced by flexible piles; and the arching effect of soils over voids, numerical modelling and design implications.

13:00 Creep, rupture and accelerated testing under load Chairmen: JH Greenwood and S Thornton This session will examine latest findings on creep, rupture and other essential inputs to reinforced soil design. It will question whether, in the light of experience with reinforced structures, the extensive data demanded by approvals authorities are really necessary.

Generic data, particularly for polyesters, may be sufficient. Simple tensile data and accelerated tests such as SIM may provide all the information needed to predict long-term design strength. Results on the synergy of creep and damage indicate that designers may be too conservative. Is it time to relax their guard and be less cautious?

Papers will cover methods for determining the creep-rupture behaviour of geotextiles; the creep of geotextiles in compacted sand fill; long term performance of nonwoven geotextiles; the combined effects of installation damage and creep; performance criteria; and design life assessment.

15:15 Clay geosynthetic barriers Chairmen: H Zanzinger and A Cancelli Clay geosynthetic barriers are geocomposites consisting of geosynthetics and bentonite. They were invented in the mid 1980s and are also known as geosynthetic clay liners (GCL). GCLs are mostly used for environmental applications such as in landfill capping cover systems.

The session will discuss short and long-term shear strength aspects of clay geosynthetic barriers, their performance and the hydraulic behaviour of bentonite under the influence of solutions, leachate, bedding conditions, soils and ion exchange. Papers will cover case histories, field and laboratory tests and bentonite behaviour.

15:15 Railways Chairman: P Godart The main characteristic of railways is dynamic loading of subsoil by passing trains. These effects can cause settlement of underlying material, leading to problems with the level and line of railway tracks.

The session will try to answer how geosynthetics can help in dealing with dynamic loading. Papers detail railway case histories from around the world and how geosynthetics have been used to remediate railways affected by settlement.

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