An environmentally-friendly way to settle soil
When building infrastructure on soft clay, one needs to ensure the ground has settled properly. This is done by installing prefabricated vertical drains to consolidate the clay prior to construction. Fibredrain is such a product invented by a team from NUS Department of Civil Engineering, comprising Emeritus Professor Lee Seng Lip, Associate Professors G.P. Karunaratne, M.A. Aziz, S.D. Ramaswamy and N.C. Das Gupta.
 
Like other prefabricated drains, Fibredrain is inserted vertically into the ground and a load is placed above it to force water up to the surface, allowing the soil to settle faster. However, what makes Fibredrain unique is its natural biodegradable fibres, which provide sufficient tensile strength to withstand installation stress. Besides being environmentally-friendly, Fibredrain does not interfere with future underground construction works.
 
NUS’ pioneering patent
Registered in the UK in 1982, Fibredrain was NUS’ first patented technology. It was subsequently manufactured by P.T. Indonesia Nihon Seima, Jakarta, and has been used for soil consolidation projects across Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan.

Despite the technology being invented some three decades ago, it continues to be used in the construction industry today!

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Milestones

Fibredrain invented by a team from NUS Department of Civil Engineering

Late 1970s

Technology first field-tested at Changi International Airport reclamation site

1979

Patent registered in the UK, became NUS’ first patented technology

1982 

Technology continues to be used in the construction industry in the region

2013