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Cellular Confinement

Gabion Baskets



Definition:
Cellular Confinement Systems (CCS, also known as geocells) are widely used in construction for erosion control, soil stabilization on flat ground and steep slopes, channel protection, and structural reinforcement for load support and earth retention. Typical cellular confinement systems are made with ultrasonically-welded high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or other polymeric alloy strips that are expanded on-site to form a honeycomb-like structure which may be filled with sand, soil, rock or concrete

History:
Research and development of cellular confinement systems (CCS) began with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in September 1975 to test the feasibility of constructing tactical bridge approach roads over soft ground. Engineers discovered that sand-confinement systems performed better than conventional crushed stone sections. They concluded that a sand-confinement system could be developed that would provide an expedient construction technique for building approach roads over soft ground and that the system would not be adversely affected by wet weather conditions. These early efforts led to the civilian commercialization of the product by the Presto Products Company to produce the first cellular confinement system from high density polyethylene (HDPE) that was light weight, strong and durable. This new cellular confinement system was used first for load support applications in the United States in the early 1980’s; second for slope erosion control and channel lining in the United States in 1984 and; third for earth retention in Canada in 1986. Research on cellular confinement in these application areas also started during the 1980's.

Research by Drs. Bathurst and Jarrett discovered that cellular confinement reinforced gravel bases are “equivalent to about twice the thickness of unreinforced gravel bases” when placed over a saturated peat sub-base. Further, 1.25 mm (50 mil) HDPE performed better than single sheet reinforcement schemes (geotextiles and geogrids) and was more effective in reducing lateral spreading of the infill material under loading than conventional reinforced bases. In terms of the effectiveness of confinement, geocells have more attractive features due to its 3D structure than any other planar geosynthetic reinforcement. Since this early work, the results of large-scale triaxial test on isolated geocells has demonstrated that cellular confinement imparts apparent cohesion to cohesionless compacted granular material on the order of 169 kPa - 190 kPa (3500 psf - 4000 psf). Cellular confinement systems are now recognized as an important technology when applied to load support (Webster, 1986 and Bathurst & Jarrett, 1988) under roads and rail lines, gravity and reinforced earth retaining wall systems (Crowe, Bathurst & Alston, 1989), (Bathurst, Crowe & Zehaluk, 1993), slope stabilization and erosion control, channel lining systems (Engel, P. & Flato, G. 1987) (Simons, Li & Associates, 1988) (Wu & Austin, 1992) and other innovative uses.


 

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