A Sensor-Enabled Geotextile
Traditional attempts to monitor soil strain and temperature in-situ have been met with instrumentation problems as well as other significant challenges: difficult and costly installations, construction delays, installation damage, excessive maintenance, poor accuracy, and only short-term results.
The patented TenCate GeoDetect® system starts with a unique design that embeds fiber optic sensors into a composite geotextile during the manufacturing process. The geosynthetic composite has a highly efficient interaction with the soil and therefore can accurately measure soil strain. Thus, the TenCate GeoDetect® sensor-enabled composite offers an accurate measurement system that can be easily adapted to monitor a wide variety of geotechnical engineering structures. TenCate’s exclusive Distributed Anchoring System enables the sensor-enabled geotextile to have an intimate relationship with the soil. Strain and temperature information is transferred from the soil directly to the fabric and to the fiber optic with nearly perfect accuracy.
Figure 1. The TenCate GeoDetect® composite geotextile has fiber optic sensing cables embedded onto it during the manufacturing process.
Once installed, the sensor-enabled geotextile communicates the soil strain and temperature data to the TenCate GeoDetect® system’s interrogator equipment. Soil strain as low as 0.02% can be measured, and with the proper software, changes in temperature can be monitored at 0.1C with a spatial resolution as precise as 0.5m to 1.0m.
The TenCate GeoDetect® system is comprised of the sensor-enabled geotextile, data acquisition instrumentation, data logging, visualization, alert and reporting software as shown in figure 2.
Figure 2. The TenCate GeoDetect® system components
This actionable information can be used for a number of functions:
- Field performance monitoring
- Early-warning system
- Structural health monitoring
- Observational Design and Design validation
With the TenCate GeoDetect® system, engineers now benefit from an in-depth look into the integrity of geo-structures. They can utilize geosynthetics in applications that were previously not considered because of insufficient design knowledge and long-term performance uncertainty.