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.
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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.