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Designing Hard-Armored, Flexible Channels with 3D HDPE Geocells

Designing Hard-Armored, Flexible Channels with 3D HDPE Geocells

Poured-in-place concrete channels control stormwater & erosion

Hard-armoring channels to resist severe velocities and hydraulic stresses are typically accomplished by reinforced concrete or articulating concrete block (ACB) systems. While both methods are acceptable solutions, they have drawbacks, especially in remote or difficult access areas such as on mining sites or through mountainous terrain.

Typical reinforced concrete requires forms and steel reinforcement that may be difficult to source and deploy. The concrete slabs may shift and crack with subgrade settlement, expansion and contraction caused by freeze-thaw allowing water to permeate below the surface and undermine the channel’s integrity. This can be especially problematic if waste material escapes beneath the liner underlayment. Heavy, precast ACB systems are transported to sites on numerous trucks and are placed by heavy equipment.  Deployment may be difficult especially in isolated areas.

Better Built Channels with Flexible HDPE System

HDPE GEOWEB® 3D geocells offer an easier way to hard-armor channels and protect them from erosion, cracks and leakage. The system’s 3D cellular network contains concrete without the need for additional reinforcement. Unlike typical reinforced concrete where whole sections can crack and uplift, GEOWEB® channels are flexible–they flex and conform to minor subgrade movement, controlling concrete cracks along the line of the cell walls.

Sections that expand to 240 sf in the field collapse to small 6 sf bundles for efficient transportation. Onsite, sections are expanded, anchored and filled. Over a liner, a tendon anchoring system holds sections in place without the need for penetrating anchors. A higher concrete slump may be used with geocell channels, facilitating faster concrete placement.

USBOR Report Gives Geocells/Geomembrane System Top Grade

A 10‐year canal lining study by the US Bureau of Reclamation (USBOR) tested four canal types for numerous factors including construction and maintenance costs, durability, and effectiveness against seepage reduction. The study credited the GEOWEB® geocells over a geomembrane and concrete cover as having the highest long-term performance results.

Colorado Irrigation Canal Project Includes Geocells

Colorado’s Mancos Water Conservancy District noted the region had been rehabilitating their canal systems for 15-20 years utilizing various methods including clay and shotcrete to protect canal liners—but regular, costly maintenance was always required. After the USBOR’s study, the district implemented the GEOWEB® channel system on a large irrigation canal system in Southwest Colorado.

Design Channels for Better Performance

Channel type, dimensions, hydraulics, foundation soil/ underlayment and desired infill influence GEOWEB® channel designs. A free project evaluation from the manufacturer helps determine design feasibility and component