Geosynthetics laboratory

Irstea (National Institute for Research in Environmental and Agricultural Science and Technology) carries out tests on geomembranes, bentonite geosynthetics and related products in the geosynthetics laboratory.

Identification and performance tests are carried out as part of certification programmes or on behalf of producers or users. These tests may be the fruit of work conducted by the teams as part of research projects
Irstea includes several members of the French Geosynthetics Committee (CFG) and is actively involved in the work of standardisation commissions (AFNOR, the French Standardisation Association, CEN, the European Committee for Standardisation and ISO, the International Organisation for Standardisation).  Irstea also carries out technical expertise interventions.

The work of the geosynthetics laboratory is divided into 3 main lines:

  • Tests

The geosynthetics technical support centre at Antony carries out identification tests, as well as hydraulic and mechanical tests on geosynthetics. The laboratory is COFRAC-accredited for 90% of the tests it carries out. All of the laboratory's research on geosynthetics also profits from its recognised metrological expertise in the field of standardised tests.
The laboratory also has an inclined plane for determining the friction angles of geosynthetic interfaces under standard weak stresses, and a test bench for determining the anchorage capacity of geosynthetics in ditches at the head of slopes.

  • Expertise

Irstea runs technical expertise facilities enabling it to monitor the performance of geosynthetic materials on structures and the general performance of structures that include geosynthetics. Recent examples of its work include monitoring dams waterproofed with geomembranes, taking samples to assess ageing.
Samples of bentonite geosynthetics are also taken from waste storage installation covers and dams to assess the durability of these materials.

  • Research

Irstea runs research to determine how geosynthetics perform. Geomembranes, bentonite geosynthetics, geotextiles and related products are subjected to in situ experiments, in real conditions of use and in laboratory conditions, to study how the materials perform more closely.

Irstea's areas of intervention cover a wide range of geosynthetics applications:

The research is carried out at Antony with many public and private partners: ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency), BRGM (France's leading public institution in Earth science applications), VEOLIA propreté, SUEZ Environnement, INSA Lyon (national engineering school), LCPC/LRPC, LTHE, LNEC (Portugal), Queen's University (Canada).

Research departments


Participation in colloquiums

Forthcoming events

  • Geoamericas 2, 2nd Pan-American Geosynthetics Conference, Lima, Peru, May 2012
  • Eurogeo 5, 5th European Geosynthetics Conference, Valence, Spain, September 2012

 Past events

  • Geosynthetics Meeting, 22-24 March 2011 in Tours

8th French-speaking geotextiles, geomembranes and related products colloquium organised by the French Geosynthetics Committee (CFG). The members of the scientific committee are attached to CNAM, LTHE and Irstea.

  • Geo-Frontiers 2011, 13-16 March 2011 in Dallas (USA).

The key events in the field of geotechnical engineering took place at one location: Geosynthetics 2011 – Geo-Institute Annual Congress – biennial conference of the North American Geosynthetics Society – GRI24 Conference.

The Team

Team leader

Nathalie Touze-Foltz -Geosynthetics research

Scientists Guillaume Stoltz -Geosynthetics research
Camille Barral - Geosynthetics research
Roland Gallo - Geosynthetics tests
Didier Croissant - Geosynthetics tests
Technicians Alain Thomas - Geosynthetics tests
Elodie Lohéas -  Geosynthetics tests

The laboratory is COFRAC-accredited, a national accreditation authority.
Quality control scientist: Jacques Méry.