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IGS Chapter Focus: Thailand

IGS Thailand Chapter President Suksun Horpibulsuk

The Thailand Chapter of the IGS will soon celebrate two decades of Society membership. Chapter President Suksun Horpibulsuk shares trends in the Thai market for geosynthetics, and highlights priorities for the group.

When was your chapter formed?

The chapter was approved by the IGS Council on 2002.

How many members do you have?

We have two corporate members and 19 individuals. Most of the members are academics and engineers.

 What are you proud of in the chapter?

Since the Chapter has been established, we have carried out many activities with the educational, industrial and construction sectors. We organize a short course on the applications of geosynthetics once a year. Also, we have been technically supported by Suranaree University of Technology to establish a complete Geosynthetics Laboratory for certifying the quality of geosynthetics. This laboratory plays a key role in the support of geosynthetic applications in Thailand.

What have you been doing in the chapter?

Every year the chapter has been organizing a short course on geosynthetics, and in the future, we plan to increase chapter activity with training courses given by geosynthetics experts.

Participants at one of the Chapter’s short courses on geosynthetics
Do you have a Youth section?

We do not have a youth section yet but we are looking into creating one.

How would you describe the level of adoption / understanding about geosynthetics in your region?

In Thailand, geosynthetics have been widely used in civil engineering applications. Technical knowledge about geosynthetics is increasing.

Where are the areas of most opportunity?

At present, Thailand has a mega project to expand transportation infrastructures (e.g. high-speed railway, double-track railway), and geosynthetics are heavily involved here.

What does the industry need to do to ‘grow the market’ in your area?

The industry needs to promote new products to suit more versatile applications, and it needs to collaborate with the educational sector to develop a specification for design and construction of projects using geosynthetics.

Can you describe the geosynthetics marketplace in your region? Is there great opportunity in a certain location?

The geosynthetics market in Thailand has been steadily increasing. The use of geosynthetics products has been widely accepted, especially Prefabricated Vertical Drain (PVD), which is popular to improve the soft clay in the central region of Thailand.

Where is the geosynthetics industry concentrated in your region?

Most geosynthetics industries are located in the central region of Thailand, and the most produced products are geotextiles.

What type of products have good adoption / less adoption?

The main products (i.e. geotextile, gabion box-mattress box, and geogrid) are well adopted in Thailand. Geocomposites (e.g. geonet and GCL) have less adoption than the main products.

Are there any notable facts about the market or the chapter?

The geosynthetics market in Thailand has been expanding every year, and market trends are still good due to the mega-construction projects planned for the country.

Are there any notable projects in the region that have used geosynthetics?

Yes, Suvarnabhumi International Airport (Bangkok Airport). This airport was located on soft and thick Bangkok clay. PVDs were used to improve the engineering properties of soft clay before the airport could be constructed.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about geosynthetics use in your chapter region?

Geosynthetics are becoming more accepted for construction projects in Thailand. In the future, we plan to increase understanding about geosynthetics in the marketplace.

This article was featured in the IGS Chapter Chat. Chapter Chat is a quarterly publication released by the International Geosynthetics Society. Each edition shines a spotlight on the work of the IGS’s 47 worldwide chapters. The Summer version of Chapter Chat also features profiles on the Portuguese and Australasia chapters and includes a round-up of global chapter news and events. To read the 2020 Summer Chapter Chat, please CLICK HERE and please remember to share the issue via your social media profiles.