At EuroGeo 6, the International Geosythetics Society recorded one of its “Two for a Few” installments, which brings together field experts for brief talk on a high-level issue. This time around, IGS Vice President Prof. Chungsik Yoo and IGS Council Member Dr. Fazli Erol Güler sat down to discuss geosynthetics in underground construction.

Dr. Güler opens the 9:00-minute conversation by asking Prof. Yoo why he has chose to focus on geosynthetics in underground construction with his keynote lecture at the conference.

Foremost, Prof. Yoo says, geosynthetics in underground construction, such as in tunneling, is a topic that has been very underrepresented at conferences. And, while, geosynthetics can be vital to successful underground works, the lack of technology transfer and education about geosynthetics into the tunneling sector poses some problems.

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“In tunnel construction, we have to find a way to handle groundwater ingress into the tunnel, either by sealing or drainage,” says Prof. Yoo. “If you want to seal, you need a waterproofing system. If you want to drain the water, then you need a drainage system, which requires drainage and filtration layers. Drainage? Filtration? Waterproofing? They are basic functions of geosynthetics.”

VIDEO: Chungsik Yoo and Erol Güler Discuss Underground Construction
Tunnel lining photo by NAUE Geosynthetics

From there, the conversation addresses interesting technical areas, such as considering grain size in the drainage and filtration design, consequences of failure, the increase of load in a tunnel over time on drainage performance, and more.


One of the key points they come away with is that while geosynthetics are well suited for use in tunnels and utilized not infrequently, the geosynthetics field has not focused on developing products that are specific to tunnel applications. This presents an opportunity, conclude Dr. Güler and Prof. Yoo. The materials already perform well, but their performance could be enhanced further and make them indispensable to the tunnel engineering and construction toolbox.

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