Geotextiles shape and stabilize large-scale construction projects, but can’t warn of strains or soil shifts in the structures—until now. In 2010, TenCate Geosynthetics, Almelo, the Netherlands, launched “the first intelligent geotextile,” TenCate GeoDetect®, which incorporates optical glass fibers, special instrumentation equipment and software. The system detects slight settlements, changes in temperature and stress on embankments, dikes, seawalls, roads, railways, underground structures and pipelines.
The successful potential applications led TenCate to concentrate on selling the product in North American markets. In Europe, pilot projects for the technology have included embankments constructed for a French high-speed rail line and the IJkdijk early warning system for dams and seawalls in the Netherlands.