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How Task Force 25 resolved the inequity in the geotextile separation specifications.

How Task Force 25 Resolved the Inequity in the Geotextile Separation Specifications

There has been considerable debate between nonwovens and woven geotextile suppliers concerning interim specifications for their products. Nonwovens Industry asked Lew Gray, a former Phillips Fibers executive who served as chairman of Task Force 25, to provide a case history review of how the two competing sides of the issue were able to develop a dual set of specifications through the unique work of the Task Force. A lengthier review of the debate appeared in the October, 1988 issue of Nonwovens Industry in an article entitled "In Defense of Nonwoven Geotextiles," by Mark Marienfeld, of Phillips. What follows is a summary of the specifications agreed upon earlier this year. Task Force 25, organized in 1982, in a relatively short period proposed test methods, acceptance and rejection critera and specifications for five areas of geotextile application. These interim specifications included properties and values for drainage, erosion control, separation, pavement rehabilitation and silt fences.

The Task Force reviewed the available information and without significant disagreement among producers or users of geotextiles, reworked and published interim specifications for all areas of use except separation.

Very simply stated, the interim specification for separation favored fabrics produced by weaving as opposed to nonwoven processes. Thus, it was to the advantage of the woven producers to keep the specifications unaltered. This condition persisted for several years. During this period, nonwoven producers saw their market share slip from 80-90% to less than 20% while the overall market grew several fold.

There was, of course, pressure from the woven producers to keep the specifications "as is." There was also equal pressure from nonwoven producers to get relief from the specifications that were effectively keeping a lid on their opportunity.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to overcome this problem was the lack of definitive data on the relative performance of the geotextiles made by the two processes. Finally, in 1988 and 1989, several conclusive new studies were presented to TF25. Based on performance, there really was an inequity built into the separation specification.

At that time, the interim specification table was as shown in Table 1.

The data reviewed by the task force was presented by several sources, as listed at the end of this article.

In summary, the task force, after hearing and carefully studying this data adopted a new specification as shown in Table 2.

What was gratifying was that there was near unanimous approval of this new specification. INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, cast a favorable ballot in this TF 25 vote. IFAI, the Industrial Fabrics Association International, although it had a simple majority favoring adoption of the new specification, did not have its required two-thirds majority and cast a negative vote.

Task Force 25 has achieved its objective of developing and publishing a reliable set of specifications and test procedures. State design, materials and construction engineers will be able to use specifications that will permit purchase of geotextiles that will do the job at the most economical cost. [Tabular Data 1 & 2 Omitted]
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Gray, Lew
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Aug 1, 1989
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