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Over the past decade, critical earthen structures have been designed to incorporate geosynthetics. To facilitate proper design and assure long-term stability, it is necessary to know the susceptibility of these geosynthetics to biological deterioration. The perception is that the polymers and their additives used in geosynthetics are not susceptible to biological degradation. However, the literature clearly shows that some polymers and common additives are susceptible. Through mutation, microorganisms can develop specificity towards a host material. Biocides exhibit specificity and limited effectiveness. Unfortunately, current test methods are quite inadequate, for many reasons, in assessing the biological stability of the geosynthetics on the market today. A alternative test protocol circumvents these shortcomings and accounts for synergistic effects, heretofore ignored. A means of predicting long-term stability through superposition principles is suggested.
biological degradation, geosynthetics, microorganisms, biocides, synergisms, test standards
Manager, The Tensar Corporation, Morrow, Georgia