In October 2015, a Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mat (GCCM) was used to line a series of ditches along a railway in Liberdade, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The site was characterized by severe access issues. Several of the ditches were cut into steep slopes on either side of the railway. Poured concrete was considered for the installation; however, this would have required lengthy line closures and complex, costly logistics.
The use of Concrete Canvas® GCCM (CC) offered a number of environmentally friendly advantages, offering a hard solution like poured concrete but with the convenience and efficiency of a geosynthetic lining system.
SPI Engenharia e Representações supplied the CC materials to the project. The client was VLI, one of the largest private rail concessions in Brazil.
COMPOSITE MAT INSTALLATION
The railway runs through a national park under preservation, which further emphasized the need for a solution with minimal disturbance of the environment.
To prepare the site for installation, vegetation was removed from the invert and the ditch graded to profile. Batched rolls of 8mm thick CC (CC8TM) were delivered to site and manually transported to the ditches. For the ditches located higher up the slope, a rope and pulley system was used, assisted by a small backhoe.
The batched rolls were laid longitudinally with subsequent lengths overlapping the previous by 100mm. Each layer was pegged every 2m on the shoulder of the ditch, and the overlaps were jointed with 25mm screws at 150mm intervals.
In total, 4000 m2 of CC8™ were installed at speeds of up to 300 m2 per day. A crew of 7 was able to accomplish this work, including during heavy precipitation—it was the rainy season—and with air temperatures of up to 35°C (95 F). No line possession was required.
The client was impressed with the speed and safety of the install, noting that this was the first incident-free installation they’d had with this volume of concrete infrastructure.
“This application was not only practical, and fast, and we had many rainy days during the process with not one stoppage, and it was the safest job and the lowest accident rate we have ever experienced in our company.” – Thiago Lisboa, Manager, VLI
“The second day, when we came back to the site, we were amazed – the CC was hard and in place, we could not believe it.” – Diego Ferreira, Manager, Portex Terraplanagem
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