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New Geocell-Reinforced Concrete Technology Paves the Way for More Resilient Infrastructure

New Geocell-Reinforced Concrete Technology Paves the Way for More Resilient Infrastructure

Roads, highways, and bridges are all examples of vital components of infrastructure that communities around the world rely on every day for commerce, transportation, and access to education, opportunities, and resources. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) identifies infrastructure as “the backbone of our economy and quality of life.” In fact, resilient infrastructure is so important to the prosperity and well-being of communities that the United Nations has adopted Sustainable Development Goal 9, or “SDG 9”, which aims to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation, as part of their efforts to tackle the world’s greatest challenges related to global sustainable development. 

Poor or nonexistent infrastructure adversely affects the quality of life for people living in these communities—particularly those living in remote or underdeveloped areas. Community leaders often have to stretch budgets when planning road improvement projects, but choosing cheaper solutions can result in high maintenance costs in the future.

A pavement innovation that allows for fast, cost-effective, and more resilient roads to meet communities’ needs can help overcome this challenge. The GEOWEB® Geocell Reinforced Concrete (GRC) pavement system combines strength characteristics of traditional concrete slabs with the flexible and adaptable advantages of modern geosynthetic technology. 

Designing Longer-Lasting, Lower-Maintenance Roads & Pavements 

The GEOWEB® 3D Confinement System confines and stabilizes the concrete infill material in the system’s high-strength network of interconnected cells. With the flexibility of articulating paver blocks, the strength of hard-armored concrete slabs, and the ease of a single-layer system’s deployment, the GEOWEB GRC system creates long-lasting roads and pavements. The GRC system accomplishes this with less concrete cross-section and less overall construction time and cost, resulting in 15-25 percent overall project savings. 

Many roadway designs incorporate a stabilized base beneath a wear surface, such as asphalt or concrete. When high-quality aggregate materials are scarce or costly, reduced cross-sections and innovative pavement structures can help with a value engineering solution. The GRC system offers the structure-saving benefits of cross-section reduction seen in most GEOWEB load-support applications along with the unique properties of the GEOWEB Geocell Reinforced Concrete surface: consistent, optimized concrete depth and no expansion joints. The GEOWEB system also serves as the formwork for pouring concrete and as the reinforcement in place of steel rebar.   

The GEOWEB GRC system has been approved by international road authorities and installed as residential roadways, industrial pavements in distribution centers, parking areas, truck and intermodal yards, ports, commercial drives, and energy company access roads. Presto Geosystems has worked with leading geosynthetics research teams and universities to develop a design methodology that can determine the optimal GEOWEB GRC cross-section based on traffic loading and site conditions. The GRC system has been field and lab-tested, with four million square feet (400,000 square meters) of GRC pavements installed across the world.

The GEOWEB Reinforced Concrete System Stabilizes Secondary Roadway in Colombia

A small Caribbean community and tourist attraction required a cost-effective yet strong pavement solution to support light traffic. The design engineer reached out to Presto Geosystems for technical support in evaluating their options for the project, and they ultimately selected the GEOWEB® Geocell Reinforced Concrete (GRC). 

The system required no special subbase treatment or geotextiles for reinforcement—only a moisture barrier beneath the section to protect the concrete. The GEOWEB GRC pavements allowed a concrete reduction of 15-25 percent and a significant reduction in base-depth requirements while maintaining the required design strength for the anticipated traffic load conditions. The geocells allowed efficient installation, with consistent concrete depth throughout— no voids or overfills.

The GEOWEB GRC pavements require less concrete depth compared to reinforced concrete slabs, and no other formwork, expansion joints, or reinforcement is necessary.

Leading the Way in Geosynthetics for Over Four Decades

Engineers have successfully used geosynthetics to create better-performing pavements for civil and environmental projects for over 40 years. Their functions include separation, filtration, reinforcement, strengthening, drainage, barrier, and protection. While most published research and road specifications have focused on planar geogrids and geotextiles, geocells offer benefits that planar systems cannot. Geocellular confinement systems (geocells) are three-dimensional, honeycomb-like structures that confine and stabilize soils, preventing movement vertically and laterally. Geocells can reduce a pavement cross-section by 50-70 percent and allow for the use of fill materials of lower quality and lower friction angles, such as onsite-recovered gravel, coarse sand, or waste rock.

Geocell technology has evolved over the past four decades, much as it has with geogrids and other planar geosynthetics. Presto worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers in the late 1970s to develop a grid confinement system that would maintain strength under heavy vehicle loading. The initial geocell applications were military road applications over sand, using sand as the infill material. The geocell system and its applications have grown since the 1970s to be commercially available and used in civil and environmental projects globally, with the cost-savings ability to use low-quality fill materials often found on the project site.

Let our Design Engineering Team prepare a free project evaluation to show the benefits of GEOWEB GRC Pavement for your project needs! https://www.prestogeo.com/free-project-design/.