Geocell In Road construction – Types, Advantages, Disadvantages & Applications

What Are Geocells?

Geocells are three-dimensional, expandable panels made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyester, or other polymeric material.

During installation, the interconnected strips expand to form flexible, three-dimensional cellular structural walls where backfill materials such as sand, earth, stone, etc., are placed and compacted. 

It creates a free-drainage system that holds the filling materials and prevents movement by providing traction through tensile reinforcement. Geocells thus improve the structural and functional behavior of soil and aggregate filling material.

Did You Know?

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Geocell was first developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s by presto geosystems. Typical geocells for geosynthetics are made using ultrasonically welded HDPE strips and expanded on-site to form a honeycomb structure filled with materials such as sand, earth, stone, etc.


Geosynthetics is simply a synthetic product used to stabilize the soil. The main purpose of using geocells in road construction is to control erosion and soil stabilization, channel protection, and structural reinforcement for load support and earth retention.

Different Types Of Geocell

Geocells come in different types and specifications that solve various problems in different soil types. Geocells are mainly categorized into two types:

  1. Perforated geocell,
  2. Non-perforated geocell.

1. Perforated Geocell

Perforated geocells have uniform holes in the cell walls that improve stress distribution and reduce deformation. This is done through a large number of edges that turn into cells. The integrity of the geocell depends on the strength of the perforated strip and weld.

Tensile strength and seam weld strength of geocell is determined by a tensile testing machine. The weld strength of the strip must be equal to or greater than the tensile strength of the strip itself.

2. Non-Perforated Geocell

Non-perforated geocells have thick, smooth walls. It is usually a polymer sheet with a three-dimensional mesh structure with a rivet link or ultrasonic welding.

How Does Geocell Work In Road Construction?

Generally, unpaved roads are often built on unstable soils, such as wide clay, peat bogs, or sand. If these roads are not built with the right technology, then there is a chance that these materials will crumble and threaten road stability.

Geocells provide the solid stiffness and creep resistance needed to reinforce soft soils. They prevent the shrinking and cracking of the clay, facilitate lateral dispersion and filtration of sandy soils, and strengthen the subsoil in all soft soils.

Road maintenance with cellular restraint systems keeps them in the right conditions. Roads can have maintenance problems due to unsuitable underground conditions(due to inappropriate characteristics of subsoil), which can lead to damage, cracking, washing out, and settlement of unpaved surfaces. 

By using geocells permanent and temporary roads can be constructed, and their ground stability condition can be improved. Geocell improves the load-bearing capacity of granular pavements and porous surfaces used in heavy machines, are and, at the same time, reduces costs.

The system reduces the amount of water on the surface and replenishes groundwater supplies. In addition, the traffic or parking lot can be covered with plants or small weeds, which is a beneficial solution for saving space.

No equipment is required to expand the geocell sections, which simplifies installation because the cells can be placed in the softest substrates, and no low-pressure equipment is required for filling. Fully loaded dump trucks can easily unload cargo and disperse granular material inside and on the geocell.

Application Of Geocells

Following are some of the areas of applications where geocells are used to fulfill the engineering requirements:

  • Strengthening the shoulder on the road,
  • Strengthening the waterfront,
  • Geocells are used to construct geomembrane protection,
  • Geocells are used in building a geocell cell restriction system,
  • Roads, construction of highways,
  • Strengthening and strengthening the Military Route,
  • Reinforcement under load,
  • Geocells are used in channel protection,
  • Geocells are used in Airport runways,
  • They can be used in constructing access roads,
  • Hidden area watershed,
  • Intermodal / port facilities,
  • These are used in Shipping terminals and containers.

Advantages Of Geocell In Road Construction

Following are the advantages of geocells in road construction:

  • Available in a variety of cell sizes, depths, section lengths, and facade colors to suit the project’s needs. 
  • Geocell gives strong protection to the impervious layer. 
  • It Provides significant subclass deformation without loss of structural integrity. 
  • Transportation and installation of geocell are easy. 
  • High resistance to tensile stress, tearing, punching, and fatigue. 
  • Geocell is an environmentally friendly material. 
  • Geocells are lightweight, cheap, and have high durability. 
  • Compared to other products, the use of geocell is very economical. 
  • They increase the reliability of the structure and the structure’s life span.
  • They help to form embankments on poor load-bearing soil.
  • They help to form earth retention walls and soil sound-absorbing structures.

Disadvantages Of Geocells In Road construction

The following are the disadvantages of geocells in road construction:

The long-term performance of the specifically formulated resin used to make the geocell must be guaranteed by using suitable additives, including antioxidants, ultraviolet filters, and fillers. 

Management, storage, and installation must be guaranteed by careful quality control and quality assurance.


Geocell has excellent potential to be used as a cost-effective solution to many technical problems. Modern construction methods also extend the application of a geocell-reinforced soil retaining wall, which includes new cladding elements, reduces construction time and costs, and allows better aesthetic conditions for the final structure. Generally, geocell is widely used in many environmental projects.


FAQs On Geocells

Q. What is the purpose of Geocell?

Ans – The main engineering purpose of using geocells in road construction is to control erosion and stabilize the soil, channel protection, and structural reinforcement for load support and earth retention.

Q. What is the structure of geocell?

Ans – Geocells are 3D honeycombed structures filled with materials such as sand, earth, stone, etc.

Q. What is geosynthetics engineering?

Ans – Geosynthetics are polymer products used with soil, rock, etc., to fulfill engineering requirements.

Q. What is Geocell made from?

Ans- Geocell products are three-dimensional, expandable panels made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyester, or another polymer material.

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