As a means of protecting the environment, nonwoven geotextile manufacturer Fibertex uses chemical-binder-free products and production processes to manufacture Fibertex geotextiles, which are made of virgin polypropylene (PP) material.
Fibertex South Africa CEO Clive Hitchcock comments that virgin PP offers a high level of chemical stability over a wide pH range. For this reason, Fibertex geotextiles are particularly well suited to installation in areas where the textile might come into contact with alkaline rich waste materials such as certain types of slimes dams, and chemically corrosive environments such as waste sites.
The polymer characteristics of some of Fibertex’s geotextiles include resistance to most alkalis and acids, organic solvents and degreasing agents. The polymer material is UV stabilised, nontoxic and nonstaining, and also resists electrolytic attacks, fungi and rot.
Hitchcock details that these nonwoven geotextiles play an important role in diverse sectors, including mining, civil engineering, construction, and the waste and environmental fields. The geotextiles also have important functions in construction and building works for separation, filtration, drainage, protection and reinforcement, he notes, adding that these materials can also act as a waterproofing and stress-relieving membrane when used as a paving fabric with bitumen in road reseal applications.
The company also offers solutions to automotive, filtration, furniture and flooring industries.
Further, Fibertex nonwoven geotextiles’ primary function is to act as a separator between soils of varied quality. In this function the weak soil (most likely a clay soil) is prevented from ingress into the quality engineered fill material, and thereby does not lower its bearing capacity.
Hitchcock notes that the high tensile strength and elongation of the nonwoven fabric make it installation damage resistant, thus maintaining its mechanical stability and maintaining high flow rates, even though it has undergone significant deformation.
Subsequently, these materials are also used in various filtration applications, including roadside drainage, revetment works for coastal protection, as well as hydraulic construction in gabion works and railway ballast applications.
“The selected thickness of the PP fibres used to make Fibertex nonwoven fabrics allows for a pore-size structure that retains particles as fine as silt. Yet, it does not impede water flow through the fabric owing to the high porosity of the fabric.”
In addition, the geotextile can be used in drainage applications where the fabric itself becomes the drainage medium.
Hitchcock explains that the unique drainage capability of a nonwoven geotextile is made possible by its transmissivity, or the flow of a liquid within the plane of the geotextile, rather than passing through the fabric, as is the case with the filtration feature. “This can be a very useful function when draining fill behind abutments and other hard concrete structures,” he says.
Geotextiles with a high puncture resistance are required for use as protection layers in the lining systems of waste disposal landfills, opencast mining leach pads and tunnel construction.
He explains that Fibertex geotextiles protect waterproof membranes and other sealing materials from punctures when sharp fill-material and loads are applied perpendicular to the plane of a sealing system. This is owing to stress absorbance and the redistribution of any point loads from heavily loaded layers above. This ensures that the protected material below is not stressed to the point of failure.
The company also manufactures flexible nonwoven paving fabrics for use in new road construction and maintenance.
“The company’s continued focus on quality and customer needs has led to the expansion and improvement of business operations. Coupled with this, global support guarantees the edge in product design, impeccable manufacturing standards, cost efficiency, safety and reliability of every material,” Hitchcock concludes.