Hearing the noise of traffic outside your window all day long is irritating and distracting and, in the long term, also harmful to your health.
This is why the WHO and a number of laws govern the use of noise remediation systems in cities: the Framework Law no. 447 of 1995 for Italy and the European Directive on Environmental Noise no. 49/2022. If the cause of the noise cannot be addressed, the solution is to install protective barriers. Various kinds can be used, but in this case we focus on reinforced earth structures that require specific measures, which we discuss here.
What do reinforced earth noise barriers consist of?
For this type of embankment with its typical trapezoidal shape, earth is used that will be covered by vegetation over time. Geosynthetic reinforcements and geogrids are added to support the earth, which already has good compressive strength. These are inserted horizontally into the ground and develop friction and tension that stabilise the structure, increasing its resistance to stress.
The TeMa Geo Solutions offer includes the X-Grid Pet PVC range of geogrids, with different resistance values, which are ideal for all kinds of contexts.
Another aspect to bear in mind is surface erosion of the soil: to counteract this, synthetic geomats are applied, also with a mulching function to encourage the growth of grass cover, or natural fibre bionets.
Also in this case, TeMa Geo Solutions offers a wide choice ranging from Ecovermat F Grass and Ecovernet FJ to the K-Mat range.
Why use a vegetation barrier as a protective noise barrier?
A vegetation barrier has an unquestionable ability to limit the spread of sound waves: some of them are absorbed, some reflected and some deflected. As a result, the amount of sound waves reaching the receiver is greatly reduced and noise can be dampened by several decibels.
The advantages of a reinforced earth sound-deadening barriera
Creating reinforced earth structures brings considerable advantages:
- it costs less because you can often use earth available on-site
- no special maintenance is required other than regular trimming.
- it helps the environment and integrates with it: the use of vegetation also reduces vehicle emissions by absorbing CO 2 and purifying the air.
The safety of road infrastructures is the main goal, and maintenance work – whether preventive or supplementary – is systematic.
Road surfaces withstand heavy traffic loads and atmospheric changes with significant variations in temperature. Constant maintenance is therefore required in order to ensure even surfaces and the stability of structural elements.
Let’s look at the main factors involved in building new roads or maintaining roads.
Controlling surface erosion
Erosion is largely due to freeze/thaw cycles, which make asphalt less elastic and therefore more prone to internal voids. Such voids allow water to penetrate into underlying layers, gradually eroding the structure.
In addition, heavy traffic loads, especially heavy vehicles, cause deformation of the surface layers: this results in water penetration, which “softens” the structure and makes it less resistant.
The water capillarity, i.e. the ability of liquids to move in micro-spaces even against the force of gravity, is a rather complex concept closely monitored in the construction industry. With the help of pressures exerted on lower layers, water rises upwards, dragging the finer components of materials with it and causing deformation.
It is therefore necessary to provide a drainage geocomposite, a three-dimensional membrane obtained by bonding two or more synthetic components in order to convey fluids to the exterior and prevent them from rising.
You can discover all our solutions here.
It may sometimes be necessary to install reinforcement grids, especially if there is a more or less pronounced slope that would cause a road shoulder to slide downwards.
The choice of the most suitable type of reinforcement, and therefore also of the position of the geogrid in the layering, clearly depends on the problems to be faced i.e. reinforcing the surface area to limit the spread of cracks to underlying layers, improving the load-bearing capacity and reducing the stresses transmitted to lower layers, or providing a separation (and anti-contamination) function.
Discover all our solutions here.
During intervention works, softer soils may be encountered, which may be subject to instability or even collapse in the early stages of intervention works. Even if this should not jeopardise the feasibility of the works, there is still the risk that the minimum legal safety requirements will be compromised.
Also in this case, geosynthetic products are the solution to the problem, as they absorb tensions at least until the intervention work achieves structural stability.
Discover the solutions in the X-Grid line here.
In recent years, reinforced earth structures have been particularly popular in projects due to their excellent functional and aesthetic importance in the residential building and public building industries.
Such intervention works achieve the best results by allowing the soil and geosynthetics to “work in synergy”, each one with its own features of ensuring the stability of the work as a whole.
It’s easy to see the high environmental value of such solutions, but let’s take a closer look at the two major factors in reinforced soil works. In this way, we can understand how and why, working together, they lead to amazing results, also in aesthetic terms.
What are reinforced earth structures?
They are structural intervention works in various gradients and dimensions aimed at retention and/or stabilisation. We can identify a few main areas of application:
- Road and railway embankments.
- Restoration and consolidation of collapsed soil on a road.
- Construction of ramps for ascending and descending flyovers.
- Canal or river bank elevations.
- Rockfall barriers.
- Noise barriers along roads or railways.
- Widening of elevated car parks.
- Construction of terracing systems in vineyards.
- Soil consolidation at tunnel entrances.
What are geogrids and why are they often the best solution?
Soil has the intrinsic features of friction and compressive strength, but practically no tensile strength. This is not enough to ensure the stability of a structure.
Major slopes, weather conditions, proximity to embankments, etc. can erode soil, causing landslides and subsidence. For reinforced earth structures, it’s therefore necessary to use geogrids, two-dimensional structures horizontally inserted into soil, which integrate with it without deforming. Their open-mesh structure develops “passive” resistance, thereby increasing the stabilising effect.
This bonding exploits the abilities of the two construction elements, making the entire structure more efficient.
Naturally, the feasibility of retaining works needs to consider:
- the intrinsic characteristics of the soil, such as grain size, the degree of thickening and shear strength, as well as the dilatancy phenomenon;
- the characteristics of the geogrids, such as tensile strength and stiffness, the use of raw materials (polymers) that can also withstand harsh chemical and physical conditions (attacks by chemical agents, soil pH, etc.), and the appropriate geometric structure.
Eventually, grass will grow and none of the intervention work will be visible: a really attractive and natural reinforced structure. In addition to its aesthetic function, greening also plays an important role in helping the natural friction of soil.
Find out more about our products here.
Our passion for work does not stop, it simply continues at our company, in a little more limited way. You certainly cannot see us running up and down building sites or going in and out of our research labs, but we can assure you that we are still working on our production of geosynthetic products with the same commitment and perseverance in order to formulate new projects and develop ideas that we will see materialised soon, once everything has ended.
TeMa and Geosynthetic Products
TeMa Geo is the TeMa division created almost thirty years ago with the aim of exploring and expanding the world of geosynthetics, which it still does today. By “geosynthetic products” we generally mean all categories of synthetic coverings that are not only used in contact with earth or other building materials but are also appreciated for their use in various building fields. In the building industry, their main advantage is that they are user-friendly in technical terms, which is why engineers and planners prefer them to other technical solutions.
The Advantages of Geosynthetics
The advantages of geosynthetic options not only lies in the fact that they are easy to use but also in their cost-effectiveness: certainly less expensive, they provide excellent performance that remains unchanged over time. Furthermore, their versatile use makes them the ideal solution to various on-site problems.
Geosynthetic Products “In the Field”: the Serravalle Project
In more practical terms, today we want to tell you about the intervention works we carried out in the Piedmont region in 2016. It involved extension works for Serravalle Retail Park. In preparation for the works, we had to make the slope in front of the new complex safe. In order to proceed, we had to prepare several reinforced soil structures, separating them into banks, and solve the problems of surface drainage for the management of water, whose catchment area was located above the area.
For works of such magnitude, we used geogrids from the XGrid PET-PVC range as a structural element. In addition, to avoid any seepage in the future, drainage elements were installed close to the reinforced structures of the horizontal sections of each berm. This is just one of our products and one of the many fields of application explored by TeMa.
To discover all our membranes, visit our section dedicated to products.
In 2018, we were called to a private house in Pordenone. As a result of sudden and severe meteorological events, the escarpment behind a reinforced concrete retaining wall collapsed. We were quick to intervene to avoid any kind of damage, since the house was under construction and the environmental impact had to be almost minimal.
We therefore decided to use our PET-PVC 55 XGrid, the uniaxial woven PET geogrid that provides new stability for soil. It is a reinforcement geogrid made of polyester synthetic yarns, obtained by weaving, which is highly resistant and coated with a protective layer (PVC). Uniaxial PET-PVC XGrids are used to implement soil reinforcement support works, whereas biaxial XGrids are used for soil reinforcement and stabilisation.
Uniaxial PET-PVC XGrid
Biaxial PET-PVC XGrid
TeMa Geo Solution has the mission of intervening on the environment using geosynthetic products and the lowest possible impact. This goal is pursued by researching and inventing new products for environmental engineering, actively involving planners and companies while assisting customers in the pre-sale phase and during and after installation.
Thanks to a modern integrated production system with branches in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Russia, Romania and the USA and a widespread sales network in more than 60 countries, TeMa offers tailor-made solutions for all projects involving structural, protection, maintenance and safety elements in the residential and civil building sectors and in the field of major environmental works. Furthermore, TeMa is not only involved in the industrial building field but also in the private building one.
This is just one of many stories we could tell you about our company, which focuses on technological innovation, ongoing research and territorial responsibility.