A gabion is a welded wire cage or box filled with materials such as stone, concrete, sand, or soil. Thus, gabions are partially flexible block structures used for slope stabilization and erosion protection during construction. Various types of gabions are constructed and used in different engineering constructions. This article describes the definition, types, applications, and advantages of gabions.
A variety of gabion configurations can be chosen depending on cost and function. Common types of gabions are as follows.
Gabion walls are double twisted hexagonal woven 95% Zn and 5% Al coated steel wire mesh compartmentalized baskets with a rectangular box shape. The compartments or cells are of equal size and dimension and are formed by internal diaphragms being placed within the basket. The compartments or cells are filled with natural stone and the diaphragms minimize stone migration within the basket providing even distribution of the stone fill throughout the basket even after structural movement.
It is a mesh screen produced in box shapes and different sizes.
It is used for road and railroad projects.
This will be economical unless fill material is not available in the quarry near the project site.
Gabion mattresses are also known as reno mattresses.
It is used for channel coating to prevent corrosion. Thus, it addresses the velocity caused by waves and erosion.
Common dimensions, 6 m long x 2 m wide x 0.3 m high.
It is used to prevent possible rocks and stones from falling on the surface of highways and railroads.
Gabion mesh maintains the stability of slopes close to highways and railroads.
It is used for erosion resistance of side slopes.
Combined with geogrid reinforcement to improve the strength of embankment soil.
Used for interior and exterior decoration, garden design, and landscaping.
Gabion elements provide a suitable environment for the growth of plant roots
Gabions are used in several projects and for various applications. Common applications of gabions are as follows.
Retaining structures, such as retaining walls, revetments, and toe walls to road embankments and rock chips.
Erosion resistant structures such as seawalls, riverbank defenses, canal banks, dams, weirs, breakwaters, and for protect reservoirs and lake margins.
Cylindrical metal gabions are used for dam or foundation construction.
It is used as a noise barrier.
Gabions are also used as temporary floodwalls.
Used to redirect the forces of floodwaters around weak structures
Step gabions improve the dissipation of energy in the channel.
Gabions are sustainable, while concrete structures can have a high carbon footprint. They are often used to form flexible, permeable monolithic structures and are aesthetically pleasing, so they can be used where concrete is not mandatory. This is why gabions are still suitable for modern construction.
Carbon footprint analysis shows that the use of gabion solutions can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% compared to concrete retaining walls of the same height. If growth is allowed, vegetation can be established within the gabion wall, which can further contribute to the carbon sequestration of the solution.
While classic concrete walls or retaining walls are monolithic, gabion retaining wall blocks filled with local materials are more in tune with their surroundings. Gabion structures can also be designed so that revegetation occurs when plants settle in the interstitial spaces between the rock fill, thus returning the solution to nature. We can say that gabions are a way to preserve nature!
Historically, large investments have been required to build beautiful infrastructure. The case of gabions is slightly different, as their inherent nature reduces the cost of transportation and overall retaining walls. But it is unfair to simply label gabions as a low-cost solution. Gabions are a high-value-added product because their return is not measurable when variables such as environmental and aesthetic achievements are considered.
Many modern buildings and infrastructures today are using gabions to update their appearance and meet sustainability needs. Gabion solutions constitute the architectural leverage when it comes to landscaping and urban design.
Even if the basic technology remains the same, the wire mesh of each retaining wall block can be adapted to different needs. In addition, Gabions structures are perfectly scalable, as they can be used for both large and small structures.
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Tags: gabion walls, gabions, landscape and architecture
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