It’s no revelation that civil, environmental, and geotechnical engineering designs require a significant amount of calculation. The most advanced calculations, supported by due diligence and experience, can never be replaced by freeware and proprietary tools; but on the project selection and record-keeping side, a number of companies offer highly useful geosynthetic design software and calculator tools. Erosion and sediment control companies are doing the same. These aids can improve project efficiency and economics, as well as increase options for the user.
These tools can also help improve one’s understanding of geosynthetics and affiliated material use.
What follows is a roundup of offerings from geosynthetics and erosion and sediment control companies, brief descriptions of the resources, and links to how you might acquire them.
This list is only a small amount of what’s available. The editor of Geosynthetica welcomes your suggestions for future inclusions in this ongoing series. Contact us.
Geofabrics Australasia has developed a web-based road design app focused on drainage performance and cost calculation. Subsurface Drainage Design Software (SuDDS) produces net cost and design comparative reports based upon user-entered project/design data. The program summarizes the notable calculations and can include CAD files of drainage profiles. SuDDS enables multiple projects to be created for any account, and within each project multiple design scenarios may be created. This gives the user ample flexibility for testing different approaches. SuDDS reports are exported into PDF, designs can be exported to CAD, and specs for relevant products can be exported to Word files for simple reuse in project documentation. Register to use this resource at www.sudds.com.au.
MacFLOW from Maccaferri targets drainage geocomposite design usage to replace granular drainage layers within vertical, flat, and sloped applications. This includes back-of-wall drainage, trench drainage or within the base, caps, and side-slopes of landfills. The product database includes the safety factors to be applied to fully take into consideration the uncertainties, including, for example, the long-term creep flow rate reduction due to the vertical load and the shear stress applied. Visit the Design Software page on Maccaferri’s website, login, and access the resource.
ECDesigner™ is an engineer-designed, web-based calculator tool for rolled erosion product selection. The program, with slope and channel calculation sections, is supported by East Coast Erosion Control. ECDesigner™ quickly calculates site-specific conditions (e.g., gradients, project area, factor of safety) and delivers comprehensive outputs for design and submittals assistance. The program is rooted in RUSLE. East Coast Erosion Control reports that the software will update to RULSE 2 in the coming months.
Profile Products’ PS3 software delivers users into a sustainable, cost-effective erosion control and vegetation establishment system. PS3 is rooted in the company’s five fundamental approach: Soil Testing, Species Selection, Product Selection, Installation, and Inspections & Maintenance. Uniquely, Profile opens the program with a free soil test. The resource integrates Hydraulically-applied Erosion Control Products (HECPs), Rolled Erosion Control Products (RECPs), Sediment Retention Fiber Rolls (SRFRs), and Prescriptive Agronomic Formulations (PAFs). PS3 also allows for seamless soil testing and reporting of results. The software is free to use and has no limits on the number of projects that can be created. Full soil tests are included. The company’s new Proganics calculator is also available to compare costs of topsoil, hauling, and importing. Register for free access at www.ProfilePS3.com.
Tensar North American Green offers Erosion Control Materials Design Software (ECMDS). ECMDS, now in version 5.0, is a web-based program designed to ensure proper evaluation, design, and product selection of erosion control products for slope, channel, spillway, and similar applications. It’s accessible on standard computers and tablets. Materials included in the program’s evaluations include temporary erosion control blankets, hydraulic mulch, permanent turf reinforcement mats, scour protection, and hard armor (e.g., rock and gabions). The ECMDS also hosts the company’s Cost Savings Estimator Tools, which are used for evaluating value-engineered solutions and related savings on material, labor, and installation costs. ECMDS is free with registration.
INSTALLATION & CQA
Glen and Joanna Toepfer of CQA Solutions Ltd. have cornered the market on digital tools for geosynthetics installation documentation and CQA vendor training. Their flagship tool, SuperTek, is a tablet-based program that through real-time data validation eliminates the redundant paper checks for seaming logs and destructs. The program enables roles and permissions-based access, instant data exports for certification reports, up-to-the-minute project punch lists, and remote project management. Based on 20+ years of field experience, the software has been found to provide technician time savings of 18% and an impressive 97% time saving on data preparation for certification.
On the technology side, the SuperTek software has even earned Microsoft Gold Certification for its performance. The program was developed by CQA Solutions with programming support from NextSphere Technologies.
More recently, CQA Solutions has converted its in-house training system for CQA technicians into a field-supporting, digitally based, training system. The CQA Vendor Management Program establishes paths to train up site employees and to recognize and specify staff quality. Glen Toepfer has referred to it as an “insurance policy for the geosynthetics industry.”
Raven Engineered Films Division openly provides a ready-to-use pond liner calculator—as a guide only, not for design or determining specification limits—based on a set of conditions. Users enter width, length, depth, anchor trench alloawance per side, and slop angle. The web-accessible calculator subsequently calculates an estimated liner size. The company manufactures a wide range of geomembrane liners. Each geomembrane has certain width criteria to be used in liner production, details which dictate what sizes are available to most closely, and most efficiently, meet estimated liner size outputs.
Also from Raven, the free-to-use Sandbag Calculator web app estimates the number of sandbags needed to secure a liner in place during installation or for longer periods of exposure. Calculation options include length and width dimensions and total square footage of the lined area. Results include sandbags in the center and perimeter areas and total sandbags.
REINFORCEMENT: FOUNDATION IMPROVEMENT
Dimension® Solution Software calculates the bearing capacity and projected settlement beneath shallow foundations, which helps reduce project costs and improve foundation performance. Developed for Tensar International’s Dimension® Foundation Improvement System, the program can help increase the effective bearing capacity by a factor of up to three (versus unimproved foundations); reduce estimated settlement up to 60%; mitigate differential settlement; and improve the margin of safety for unforeseen soil conditions. Learn more about the optimal soil and site conditions for the program and request a copy here.
REINFORCEMENT: PAVED & UNPAVED DESIGN
The MacREAD package from Maccaferri features key design approaches including the design of the road (or parking areas) foundation and the pavement reinforcement in different configurations (on soft soils, loose soils, with concentrated and distributed loads). It enables the user to optimize the relationship between construction layer thickness, fatigue life of the structure, and the use of geosynthetics, depending on the goals of the designer/project. The software has been fully updated into a suite of programs all related to soil stabilization and enables the verification, layer by layer, of the stress-strain requirements to be provided by the geosynthetic material to be used as the “stabilization” layer. Visit the Design Software page on Maccaferri’s website, login, and access the resource.
NAUE’s SecuCalc 2.2 is a geogrid calculator tool for unpaved base reinforcement. SecuCalc 2.2 performs generic calculation of non-reinforced and geogrid-reinforced aggregate bases. Applications targeted by the design and cost estimation tool include roadway, access and haul road, parking lot, and similar designs. The user-friendly functionality takes into account specific site parameters and estimated material costs. The calculator details aggregate thickness, volume, and mass; area (m2) of reinforced soil; and design/system cost contrasts based upon the project-specific data. Request the free tool at www.naue.com/en/secucalc.
MiraSpec software from Tencate Geosynthetics provides an analytical tool for engineers to design cost-effective flexible paved and unpaved roadways by incorporating geosynthetics. MiraSpec allows the designer to perform flexible pavement Structural Number (SN) and Equivalent Single Axle Load (ESAL) calculations based on the AASHTO 1993 design method and gravel thickness and cost savings comparisons using the Giroud-Han (2004) design method. Both sets of design calculations can be performed with or without geosynthetics. In addition, designers can calculate thickness reduction savings and “green” savings that the addition of a geosynthetic provides. Request the program at http://www.miraspec.com.
Tensar’s SpectraPave4-PRO™ Software (SP4-PRO) provides pavement design engineers a powerful tool for evaluating design options and optimizing pavement performance. The software was developed for use with Tensar® Geogrids and the company’s Spectra® Roadway Improvement System. With it, engineers can design for a specific level of performance, analyze support and loading conditions and serviceability limits, and compare designs and costs for unbound aggregate and mechanically stabilized aggregate layers. Includes subgrade stabilization and pavement optimization analysis. Available at no charge following completion of a free training module delivered by a Tensar specialist.
REINFORCEMENT: WALLS & SLOPES
Maccaferri’s MacSTARS program is used to design reinforced soil slopes structures and walls (including segmental blockwork walls and vertical faced concrete panel structures). The software can also design soil-nailed slopes. Complex slope geometries and strata can easily be accommodated as well as the usual load cases including seismic conditions. The software enables the user to design in accordance with many of the worldwide design codes including ASTM methodology, EC7 and BS8006. Visit the Design Software page on Maccaferri’s website, login, and access the resource.
NAUE opened 2016 with the release of SecuSlope 3.0 for mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) applications. The program was fully updated for state-of-practice use with FHWA (limit equilibrium), BS 8006 (ultimate limit state), and EuroCode 7 (EC7). SecuSlope software assists designs for geogrid-reinforced slopes, walls, and abutments. Using project-specific inputs, the program produces optimal geosynthetic reinforcement layouts, such as for length and spacing of layers. The program’s recommendations are rooted in the extensive design record of Secugrid® geogrid reinforcement products. A free, downloadable version of SecuSlope 3.0 is available at www.naue.com/en/secuslope.
Geocellular confinement systems are increasingly used in mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls.
PRESTO GEOSYSTEMS®, manufacturer of the well-known GEOWEB® soil stabilization and stormwater management products, introduced its GEOWEB® MSE design freeware in 2014. The program creates MSE designs for vegetated and non-vegetated walls, based on the GEOWEB® system for reinforced slopes and for gravity and geogrid-reinforced walls. The software is based on industry-standard design methods and contains specific algorithms that capture the unique interaction between the geocellular system, infill and backfill soil, and geogrid reinforcement and specific factors of safety. Analysis is performed with logical data input screens and full graphic design analysis output and cross-sectional drawings are created. Also connects to the company’s SPECMaker® Tool. (See “SPECIFICATION” section.)
With a 20+ year record of use, and frequently updated to meet newer codes, TensarSoil® Software from Tensar International is a fully interactive program that allows the user to input and alter project geometry, geogrid grade or layout, surcharge loads and/or soil characteristics to determine stability data and material costs instantly. The latest version has been expanded to evaluate the feasibility, potential performance, and cost benefits of each of the company’s geogrid-reinforced systems, including the Mesa Retaining Wall Systems, SierraScape Retaining Wall Systems and Tensar Temporary Walls.
Presto Geosystems offers the convenient SPECMaker® Tool, an easy-to-use online program for quickly developing complete material and construction specifications. Through answering only a few essential questions, the program generates specifications that are tailored to your project application and details. It also saves the specification in the in CSI format in Word or HTML and enables additional modification. For field professionals utilizing geocellular systems and porous pavements, the SPECMaker® Tool is a time-saving asset. http://prestogeo.com/specmaker_tool
Companies featured in this story:
CQA Solutions: www.cqasolutions.co
Geofabrics Australasia: www.geofabrics.co
Presto Geosystems: www.prestogeo.com
Profile Products: http://profileproducts.com
Raven Engineered Films: www.ravenefd.com
Tensar North American Green: www.tensarnagreen.com
The resources listed in this article are only a small amount of what tools are available in the field. The editor of Geosynthetica welcomes your suggestions for future inclusions in this ongoing series. Contact Chris Kelsey, firstname.lastname@example.org.