Sectors such as Civil Engineering or Mining continuously transform the surrounding landscape to provide services to the community and improve the infrastructures.
In this transformation, it is sometimes mandatory to gain access by excavations or blasting. If the environment was balanced, will it continue in this state after removing part of it? The geotechnical study will answer this question and the answer will depend on several factors like the material composition, the slope, geological fault or hydrology.
This aspect must be deeply studied in the works phase to assure security for the workers during the whole process, and on the operating phase to provide a continuous and safe service because in case of an accident the number of fatalities could be really high: it can even sweep out a whole town, like in the Vajont tragedy.
In case of danger, the balance must be assured and, for this reason, we have plenty of landslide prevention techniques depending on the soil. Three interesting alternatives are described below:
Geogrid: Geogrids are materials for erosion control that ensure the soil capacity to grow plants, reducing the damage caused by heavy rains and wind in slopes and embankments. They are two-dimensional structures made by polymers to supplement soil stress. The best application is in soft soils such as sand or clay.
Expansive anchor bolt: They are made from tubular steel and through a high-pressure water injection pump (pneumatic, hydraulic or electric) expand and generate additional contact stress between the bolt and soil. Tow main forces take action: a perpendicular axil pressure through the whole length and a static friction, also in the whole length. The bolt tensile strength ranges between 120 and 240 KN/linear length and depends on the kind of rock.
Construction methods: They allow decrease the associated risk to landslide and they are the most cost-effective solution. A brief techniques summary is shown on the following picture:
In conclusion, a detailed study must be elaborated in any environment transformation to avoid an accident that could cause a high number of fatalities and economic impact.
Can you think of any more solutions for this engineering challenge? Let us know in the comments!