The geosynthetics related activities at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (hereafter referred to as IIT Madras) have started way back in mid 80's in a modest way. Prof. N. R. Krishnaswamy and Prof. T. S. Ramanatha Ayyar had paved the way for geosynthetics at the institute. They have initiated a new course titled “Reinforced Soil Structures” for post-graduate students of the geotechnical engineering program at the Department of Civil Engineering. Limited under-graduate and post-graduate student projects on the topics related to CBR value of reinforced subgrade, bearing capacity of reinforced soil beds were initiated. The laboratory facilities were limited to the direct shear and triaxial compression test machines and a few hand operated hydraulic jacks. The loads were measured using proving rings and the displacements were measured by the mechanical dial gauges. One continuing education program was conducted at IIT Madras with the support of ISTE and a booklet was published titled “Reinforced Soil Structures” in 1980's.
Since the inception, geosynthetic activities at the institute have expanded with time. Several masters and doctoral students have worked on geosynthetic related research topics. This write up provides a brief history of developmental activities pertaining to the geosynthetic materials at IIT Madras. It also describes the highlights of prominent research work carried out; important numerical & experimental facilities developed over the past decades, technical support extended to major industrial consultancy projects; geosynthetic relevant courses offered for undergraduate & postgraduate students, industry as well as to teachers of other engineering colleges.