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Spotlight On IGS Stabilization Committee

The IGS Technical Committee – Stabilization (TC-S) is one of four forward-thinking groups helping the IGS to set standards and share industry best practice. Alongside our Hydraulics, Barrier Systems and Soil Reinforcement committees, TC-S is driving the correct, effective use of geosynthetics across the world.

TC-S was formed in Marrakesh, Morocco, in October 2017. As the group’s second anniversary approaches, TC-S Chair Jacek Kawalec shared an insight into the committee’s work.

Why does stabilization need a technical committee?

“Stabilization involves the use of geosynthetics to carry tensile forces thereby controlling the deformations within a soil-geosynthetic composite in structures such as highways. ISO TC221 identified ‘stabilization’ as an additional geosynthetic function; and, independent of whether the term stabilization should be used as a function or as an application, it is clear that the term ‘stabilization’ now represents a significant sub-discipline within the broader geosynthetics discipline, with its own theoretical developments, relevant properties, and research.”

Which applications is stabilization relevant to?

“Stabilization applies to all situations where it is important to minimize horizontal and vertical deformations of an unbound granular material. Hence typical applications include: paved and unpaved roads, railways, airport runways and taxiways, parking lots, container yards, working platforms and trafficked areas such as house driveways or pavements. It can be important in soil gas pipeline installation, and energy grid maintenance and mining. I’ve even seen a stabilization project at the paddock of stables.”

How is ‘stabilization’ gaining traction?

“It’s an exciting area of the industry, and there are a growing number of researchers specializing in this function. In May 2017 a Transportation Geotechnics Conference in St. Petersburg held two full sessions on stabilization. We’re also starting to see specifications referring specifically to stabilization.”

What is TC-S doing on stabilization?

“We are approaching the end of our first two-year plan, which saw us hold quarterly email meetings of committee members. We also held a general meeting, open to everyone, in Seoul at the International Conference of Geosynthetics (ICG) last year. Our first workshops take place in Prague in November.”

What is happening in Prague?

“TC-S is hosting back-to-back workshops with the IGS hydraulics technical committee. We will be running workshops on base and sub grade stabilization, and on railways and working platforms. We’ll also have a brainstorming session. The aim is to swap ideas, inform others about the latest thinking and standards, and share best practice. Because this event is run in conjunction with the hydraulics committee, it’s a convenient and inexpensive way to learn about two vital areas of the industry.”

Why should people attend the Prague event?

“Sharing technical expertise is integral to our aim to make the use of geosynthetics more efficient, more sustainable and safer. For those in commercial roles, being up-to-speed is essential in maintaining a competitive advantage, and those in academia need to keep their knowledge up-to-date so they can pass this on to their students in lectures or through research. We also need the industry to guide us in our research and creation of relevant technical papers. We think the location, the price and the quality of the content and speakers make the workshops excellent value for attendees.”

What is next for the TC-S?

“We’ll be conducting general meetings at all of the forthcoming regional IGS conferences, and will organize specialty sessions on stabilization at a variety of other events. We may partner with some IGS sister societies on specific initiatives to extend our reach, and will be facilitating research projects, field monitoring and the creation of technical literature to further understanding in this vital area. We’ll also seek to collect and compare design approaches and existing practice. But our work will always be guided by the IGS membership – which is why it is so essential we have as many people as possible join us in Prague.”

To find out more about the workshops in Prague, visit