What is the difference between woven and non women geotextile membranes?


Geotextile membranes are commonly used on today’s job sites, there are various applications for geotextiles but they’re mostly used for either erosion control, soil stability or drainage.  This technology is used to separate soil layers and for reinforcement in building and engineering projects, they also have other applications, such as for equestrian and stormwater attenuation purposes – they are very versatile.   

With so much choice out there, you may be wondering what’s the difference between woven and non-woven geotextile membranes? And how could they work with your project? 

Woven geotextile membranes

Woven geotextiles are composed of woven slit film polypropylene materials. This type of geotextile is made from two sets of parallel threads or yarns. They combine high strength and low permeability, making them very effective at bridging over wet or inferior soil layers. 

Main Characteristics:

  • Reinforcement
  • Separation
  • High load capacity
  • Impermeable
  • Classified by tensile strength 
  • Plastic-like

Typical applications for woven geotextile membranes are beneath driveways, car parks,  residential streets and motorways.  The products have proven to be particularly effective in bridging over either wet, weaker, or less desirable materials.  In such cases, the low permeability of the fabric provides long-term separation and stabilization simultaneously.  When properly specified and installed, woven geotextiles deliver improved performance, reduced long-term maintenance costs, and extended project life.

Woven geotextile membranes can be used for underground stormwater attenuation tanks where large water is stored before discharging into a watercourse – instead of being allowed to seep into the ground. 

Non-woven geotextile membranes

Non-woven geotextile membranes are made from needle punched polypropylene, allowing separation and filtration to occur simultaneously.  Non-woven geotextiles combine the strength of woven fabrics with high permeability, due to them being needle punched, making them a better choice when applications require both separation and filtration. They are made from continuous yarn filaments or short staple fibers. They are bonded with thermal, chemical or mechanical techniques, or a combination of techniques, rather than being weaved together. 

Main Characteristics:

  • Filtration
  • Separation
  • Drainage
  • Permeable
  • Classified by weight
  • Felt-like

Due to their ability to allow moisture to pass through, non-woven geotextiles aren’t as suitable for stabilisation or reinforcement projects. Instead, they are best suited to applications concerning protection, drainage, separation, and filtration. Non-woven geotextiles are chosen when both soil separation and permeability are required.  These products are often used to wrap soakaway crates or in conjunction with other sub-surface drainage solutions where the water can be filtrated into the ground. 

The Differences

Ensuring you make the right choice of geotextile fabric for your project means understanding the differences between them. Generally, woven geotextiles have higher strength values, while non-woven geotextiles have higher flow rates and permeability. 

Here’s a quick explanation of the differences.

Manufacturing process: Woven geotextiles are weaved together on a film or loom while non-woven geotextiles are manufactured by bonding fibres together.

Physical attributes: Woven geotextiles are plastic-like in feel and appearance, while non-woven geotextiles have a fuzzy-like feel and appearance. 

Permeability: Woven geotextiles are impermeable whilst non-woven geotextiles are permeable.

Classification: Woven geotextiles are referred to by tensile stress while non-woven geotextiles are referred to by weight. 

Strength: Woven geotextiles are weaved by thread crossing which creates a strong reinforcement, meaning they are stronger and more durable than non-woven geotextiles.

Cost: Non-woven geotextiles tend to be more affordable because they are quicker to produce, whilst woven fabrics are more expensive to produce and take more time to manufacture.

How can we help you?

Here at Cotterills we supply both woven geotextiles and non-woven geotextiles – our experts can advise you on the best solutions for your applications. Give us a call on 0121 351 3230 or visit our website today!

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