A call for industry and universities to drive forward key opportunities for research into polymer geogrid applications has been made following a successful symposium to mark 25 years of technological advancement in the field.

More than 150 people attended the Jubilee Symposium on Polymer Geogrid Reinforcement in London, which identified important new directions for further development in geogrid reinforcement technology and innovation to achieve more cost-effective and environmentally responsible soil structures and road engineering.

Chris Jenner, chief engineer for Tensar International and a keynote speaker, said: “The overall conclusion was that that polymer geogrid reinforcement can be successfully used for an even wider range of soil structures than at present. To do that, further research is required into the fundamental interaction mechanisms between soil and grid.

We identified several opportunities where better understanding will lead to further advances in soil structures and pavement engineering and improved breadth and depth of application for polymer geogrids.”

A key speaker was John Armitt, chairman of the ESPRC, who emphasised the opportunities for funding further joint research and stated: “In the early 1980s, the EPSRC and Tensar International co-funded the collaborative research programme in polymer geogrid development, bringing together universities and industry in the area for the first time. We continue to support and encourage partnerships between academia and the construction industry which produce world-class research with potential to transform practice and have real economic impact.”

The Symposium welcomed leading academics in geotechnics and Professor JB Burland from Imperial College London gave the opening address. There was also active involvement from more than 20 engineering students with current research interest in geogrid engineering.

The legacy of success of the Geogrid Symposium is being continued on a dedicated website, and proceedings and webcasts can be viewed there; it will also be a source of background knowledge for the industry as a whole.

The Symposium was held at the Institute of Civil Engineers on Tuesday 8 September 2009 and was sponsored by key organizations contributing to the field, including:

  • Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists
  • Tensar International
  • The Ground Forum
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Engineering Group of the Geological Society
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • The British Geotechnical Association
  • International Geosynthetics Society