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Geotech firm designs recyclable flood barrier

Geotechnical outfit Maccaferri has launched a modular flood barrier system, designed to protect vulnerable homes and properties.

The system, FlexMac DT, is a gabion-derived, flat-pack structure made from double-twisted, heavily galvanised wire mesh panels, reinforced with vertical steel bars and lined with a geotextile membrane.

The geotextile lining allows the barrier to be filled with locally available bulk materials such as sand, general fill or similar.

FlexMac DT is supplied ready assembled but folded to allow easy handling on site.

The unit opens to form a cube 500mm across, which can be connected to form linear runs of any required length. The barrier height can also be increased by stacking additional units on top of the bottom run.

The open base of the FlexMac DT cells means that the units can be removed by mechanical lifting, allowing the fill to discharge, then folded away and retained for future use.

They are intended chiefly for temporary flood protection, embankment repair and rapid-response, inundation-prevention.

Maccaferri says a single FlexMac DT unit can be assembled by two to three people in around 20 to 30 seconds. It estimates that, using conventional hand-placed sand bags, 30 people would require three hours to construct a 10m long embankment, whereas using FlexMac DT, five people could construct a 60m long embankment in the same time period.

Readers' comments (2)

  • If the barrier height does not need increasing beyond the one unit height I wonder whether a quicker filling and more economic solution could be achieved by just filling the units with water.
    This would however have to ensure that the internal membrane was sufficiently strong such that it is not punctured by the external gabion mesh???
    I assume that each unit is fully secured to the adjacent one ??
    A. Hames C.Eng. MICE, MCIHT

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  • Filling with water is not practical, without the addition of some form of impermeable liner in each cell. The base of the Flexmac units are not fully lined . The lining to the cell sides is a heavy duty non-woven needle punched geotextile (which itself porous).

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