Coir Fibre: A Sustainable Engineering Material for the Caribbean Islands




Coir fibre


One of the most inventive, sustainable strategies used in ground engineering is the substitution of biodegradable materials for non-biodegradable materials, particularly in situations where short-term ground improvement is needed. Biodegradable materials such as vegetable fibres have excellent engineering properties that could be used in the construction industry to enhance filtration, drainage and reinforcement. Two of the most important properties of vegetable fibres used for soil reinforcement are their high initial tensile strength and environmentally-friendly qualities. This paper investigates the time-dependent behaviour of basal-reinforced embankments erected on soft ground using biodegradable geotextiles, such as coir fibre, derived from coconuts, as reinforcing materials. An analytical model for soil reinforcement, which incorporates changes of foundation soil strength over time due to consolidation, is analyzed using the GEO5 slope stability computer software. The initial strength of the fibre reinforcement required to achieve a specific factor of safety is calculated.

Author Biography

Abrahams Mwasha, University of the West Indies

Lecturer, Construction Materials Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


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