What is a gabion?

For those of us who are not into the construction business, a gabion is a box that is made by welding together wire. It looks like a cage and is usually filled with mud, sand, stones or cement. Sometimes rooting branches are also used to fill a gabion. This makes the gabion slightly flexible compared to concrete blocks. Gabions are usually used for stabilizing a slope or to protect a particular area from erosion during construction.

There are different types of gabions and they are used for different purposes during construction. Let us have a look at the same.

1. Gabion Baskets

As the name indicates, these are mesh wire cages that are usually box shaped. They come in a variety of sizes. They are usually used in the construction of roads, highways and railways. They are economical as the filling of the gabion is usually the material that can be taken from quarries close to the construction site.

2. Gabion Mattresses

Another name for these – Reno mattresses. The height of these gabions is usually way shorter compared to the length and width. The most commonly used gabion mattress is sized 2 m wide, 0.3 m height and 6 m length.  These mattresses are usually used for preventing erosions, in channel coating.

3. Gabion Sacks

Gabion sacks can be made really quickly as compared to the other types of gabions. They are used in hydraulic operations. They are flexible and porous in structure and hence they come very handy during an emergency.

4. Gabion wire mesh

These are used to keep away rock fall during construction of roads and railways. The gabion wire mesh imparts stability to slopes in these construction areas. It helps curb erosion and also aids in strengthening the embankment soil if reinforced with the correct geo-grids.

5. Decorative gabion structures

As the name suggests, these gabions are used for aesthetic purposes. They can be used indoors as well as outdoors. They find a variety of uses in landscaping and gardening projects. They are suitable for the growth and development of plant roots.

Commonly known application of gabions

  1. Barrier to noise in construction sites
  2. Temporary walls to stop floods
  3.  Retaining walls to pertaining structures
  4. Structures used for preventing corrosion especially near water reservoirs
  5.  Some types of gabions are used in dams and others can be used to channel the flood water’s force in another direction.
  6.  Aesthetic usage

Advantages of gabions

  1. Flexibility – Gabions deform and settle down with ease. It does not affect their efficiency, more so when the construction is around moving water.
  2. Permeability – Gabions allow for easy drainage. Hence there is no need to install separate pipes for drainage.
  3. Strength – Gabions are extremely strong structures that can stand strong and resist a variety of forces like floods, torrents, ice etc.
  4. Economical – Gabion supply is huge across the world. It works out cheaper material-wise and labor-wise as compared to other alternatives.

Environment-friendly – Gabions can be filled with recycled matter. There are gaps in the soil in the gabion filling which acts as a base for plants to grow. Gabions are also not affected by any natural occurrences.

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