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Earth Retaining Walls

This involves the design and supply of Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) wall systems that are essential elements of many highway and railway designs, and they represent the retention system of choice more frequently than in the past. For many years, retaining structures were almost exclusively cast-in-place (CIP) concrete structures that cannot accommodate significant differential settlement, specifically with tall walls and poor subgrade conditions.

 

MSE wall systems are cost-effective earth retaining structures that can tolerate larger settlements than conventional retaining wall systems, such as CIP walls. By placing tensile reinforcing elements (inclusions) in the soil, the strength of the soil can be improved significantly such that the near-vertical face of the soil/reinforcement system is self-supporting. 

Unlike traffic loading, the forces that act in earth retention structures are constant. When used in applications such as retaining walls and earth embankments, Geogrids must have a resistance to "creep".

 

Soil reinforcement Geogrids are made with materials and processes that minimize creep making them well suited to such applications. Most soil reinforcement Geogrids are uniaxial, meaning that they are considerably stronger in one direction versus the other. It is important, when using a uniaxial Geogrid to properly position the material so the higher strength direction is in line with the direction of the highest anticipated load.

 

The use of a facing system (such as modular blocks or concrete panels) to prevent soil raveling between the reinforcing elements allows near-vertical walls to be constructed safely. The selection of the most appropriate system will depend on the specific project requirements. 

MSE walls have many advantages compared with conventional reinforced concrete and concrete gravity retaining walls:

  • Reduce right-of-way acquisition

  • Need less space in front of the structure for construction operations

  • Require less site preparation than other alternatives

  • Use simple and rapid construction procedures and do not require large construction equipment

  • Do not require experienced craftsmen with special skills for construction

  • Do not need rigid, unyielding foundation support because MSE structures are tolerant to deformations 

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