BenefIts Of Gabions
Subjected to alternating forces of tension and compression, the inherent flexibility of a gabion structure enables it to deform rather than break. This prevents loss of structural efficiency. Deforming in response to subsidence of foundation or internal stress is a functional feature, and rather than being a fault is in fact, a benefit.
Since gabions are bound together as a monolithic unit, the wire mesh is extremely strong under tension. The wire mesh shell is not simply a container for the stone filling, but a reinforcement of the entire structure. Additional strength is achieved by the use of vertical diaphragms. These diaphragms are affixed to the base of the gabions to restrict internal movement of the stone filling and provide further reinforcement. Gabion efficiency, rather than decreasing with age, actually increases. During early periods of use, silt and vegetation will collect within the rock filling to form a naturally permanent structure, enhancing the environment.
Interstitial spaces in the stone fill within the baskets provide a great degree of permeability throughout the structure eliminating the need for a drainage system and preventing buildup of hydrostatic pressure which will displace and crack concrete structures. In river works, pressure and counterpressure on the banks due to variations in water depth between flood and low water are therefore also eliminated.
Wire mesh gabions are less expensive than most construction materials. Graded stone fill is usually locally available. Waste materials such as crushed concrete may be specified in place of stone.
Construction costs are reduced; unskilled laborers can easily learn to erect Modular Gabion Systems, fill them and close them properly. Many gabion structures may be built without any mechanical equipment. Pilings, underwater drainage systems and excavations are unnecessary. There's no need to drain the site or to construct a cofferdam for underwater installation. The first layer of gabions can be laid in water or in mud.
Upon completion, a gabion structure will take its full load immediately - without the waiting periods of up to one month normally associated with concrete structures. Gabion structures are virtually maintenance free.