What is a gabion in construction?
Generally used in infrastructure works, the characteristic gabion walls are composed of 'metallic cages' made of hexagonal galvanized steel mesh, making them resistant to weathering for an extended period of time, free of oxidation. Internally, they are filled with stones of different sizes, thus becoming a permeable structure.
Gabion walls are wire cages filled with heavy material that serve for the construction of roads and other civil engineering projects, and can serve as decorative walls or dividers for gardens or even be used in interior spaces.
The advantages and disadvantages of retaining walls (gabions) can be built by assembling rectangular baskets of electrowelded mesh from end to end and then filling them with gabion stones.
Gabion walls pdf do not require foundations and can flex with the contours of the land, prevent erosion and at the same time allow water to flow through them. Gabion walls are labor intensive, but can be built at a low cost, especially if local materials can be used.
Due to its aesthetics, the lunfardo gabion has gained space in diverse uses: from its primary function as a retaining wall, to walls, urban furniture, and others.
What is the history of gabion walls?
The term "gabion" comes from an ancient Italian word, gabbione, meaning "large cage". Approximately 7000 years ago, gabion wall type structures were built to protect the banks of the Nile River.
Stone gabions were used in the Middle Ages as military defense forts. Throughout history, civil engineers have attached great importance to gabions and have widely used gabions for bank stabilization, shorelines, roads and slope erosion control.
From the banks of the Nile River where they were created to the present day, gabion walls are a benefit to the landscape. It has been used for thousands of years as a gravity retaining structure and makes an attractive, efficient and inexpensive wall system.
Types of gabion
In this world of construction, there are several galvanized gabion options that can be selected based on cost and function. The most common types of gabions are as follows:
1. gabion baskets
This is a wire gabion mesh that is manufactured in the form of a box and in different sizes.
It is used in road and railroad works.
It can be economical unless backfill materials are not available for sale in quarries near the project site.
2. Mattress gabions
Mattress-type gabions, also known as reindeer mattresses.
Their height is less than the other types and their common size is 6 m long by 2 m wide by 0.3 m high.
It is used in channel lining in rivers to prevent erosion. Therefore, it addresses wave-induced velocity and erosion.
3. Gabion bags
This type of gabions are usually assembled quickly.
They have a porous and flexible structure.
Gabion bags are commonly used in water works for emergency situations.
4. Gabion mesh
It is used to keep rocks and stones from falling on road and railroad surfaces.
Gabion wire mesh maintains the stability of slope near the road and railroads.
It is applied for slope anti-erosion.
It improves the soil strength of embankment in combination with geogrid reinforcement.
5. Decorative gabions
It is used for indoor and outdoor decoration, garden design and landscaping.
Decorative gabion elements provide a suitable environment for plant root growth.
Gabion wall construction process
How to build a gabion wall?
Place stakes at the ends of the site where you want to build the gabion wall. With the help of a shovel, clean the site by digging up any grass or plants that may have roots below the surface of the wall.
Check and determine the type of soil where the gabion compact wall will be placed. In case it is soft or clay soil, excavate a few centimeters and fill the excavation with gravel to give extra support to the weight of the wall.
With the hoe, smooth the soil or gravel surface. Next, place the panels on the ground and make sure the base of the wall is level.
Step 4: Place a border around the boundary of the wall.
Place a border around the site boundary and make a weed mat on the ground below the wall to prevent weeds from taking root.
For the installation of wire mesh or metal mesh baskets, purchase prefabricated wire gabion baskets or purchase metal mesh such as chicken wire or building wire. Check that the wire mesh you purchase is galvanized or otherwise coated to resist corrosion and provide added durability.
Place the wire baskets on the ground where you want to build the wall. In the case of prefabricated baskets, when the sides are already attached to the base, lay them flat with the base in place.
If the sides are not attached, position the base in the correct place and place the sides in position around it. For wire mesh, cut a base and lid of equal size, two ends of equal size and two equal sides. Place the base in position and the sides around it.
For an Atlantic gabion, in baskets, use galvanized wire to wire the corners and sides to form a rectangular basket. Keep the lid open so you can place the stones. For wire mesh, use the galvanized wire to secure the corners and sides of the rectangular basket, leaving the lid open as well.
Place the stones inside the wire baskets. Use local rocks if they give you the look you want and if they are larger than the wire mesh holes. If you can't use rocks from the site, buy the size and type of rocks you need.
Place the rocks flat side out and use angled or corner-shaped rocks for the corners. Use bricks or cement blocks in the middle of gabion baskets to save rocks and speed up filling the baskets.
As you fill the baskets, install cross braces with wire every three to six inches in height to reduce bulging. Wrap galvanized wire around the gabion mesh on opposite sides of the baskets, passing the wire through the stones and wrapping it around the mesh on the opposite side.
Once you have filled the baskets, attach wire to the tops of the gabion. If you need a higher wall, wire an additional set of baskets on top of the first set.
Advantages of gabion walls in architecture
Aesthetic: Box gabion walls have a natural look and can link a house to the landscape using fill materials taken from the site or local terrain.
Environmentally friendly: When fill material is used on site, transportation costs and associated fuel consumption are eliminated.
Sustainable: Used as shade screens in hot climates, gabion walls provide passive cooling; they allow air to move through them, providing ventilation.
Permeability: Gabions are permeable and free-draining; they cannot be washed away by moving water.
Easy installation and built-in strength: Gabion stone infill conforms to ground contours and has such frictional resistance that no foundation is required. The strength and efficiency of the wall can increase over time as silt and vegetation fill voids and reinforce the structure. Another advantage over more rigid structures: Gabions can adapt to soil movement.
Design of gabions in rivers
The stone gabion is an ideal choice for river erosion control, as well as for coastal management, and as sea levels rise, there is an increased risk to coastal communities.
The coated wire mesh used to make mattress gabion is one of the few construction materials that can withstand highly corrosive marine environments.
Gabion walls have an advantage over traditional building materials, such as concrete, in that they are extremely strong and cannot be washed away. They are also permeable and flexible enough to accommodate soil movement, as well as help dissipate and slow the flow of water.