If you’ve ever seen a cable concrete mat installation, you’ll recall that each individual block of the mat looks like a pyramid that had the top lopped off. And while you might not have thought much about the shape of the cells themselves, it’s important to realize that this design is no accident: cable concrete cells are specifically engineered to have this structural design.
Why not perfect squares? Why not a circular design? What makes the pyramid design the best possible engineered shape for cable concrete mats?
The answer is complicated, and it has to do with a number of critical variables. Take a look at how the pyramid shape lends itself to cable concrete mat installations:
- The pyramid lends flexibility to the installation, largely through something call “angular variability.” Basically, in not-so-scientific terms, the wide base and narrowed top of each cell means that the installation as a whole can easily adapt to sharp changes in land grading. For example, if a 22-degree slope immediately transforms into a flat plane at a convex point, the concrete has the ability to fold to meet this dramatic change.
- There’s a huge element of stability that’s derived from a wide base and narrowed top, making the pyramid design exceptionally strong and resilient. When laid, the wide base of a cell keeps it staunchly in place, while the narrowed top serves to concentrate mass to the center of the base, thereby preventing movement over time.
- The gap between concrete cells is perfect for filling—either with vegetation or soil. In essence, the tapered design of a cell creates natural trenches, which protect vegetation that’s taking root, while also allowing ample space for that vegetation to grow safely. Concrete protects the base and sides of these natural trenches to prevent erosion and other factors that might weaken natural fill efforts.
- The strength of the pyramid design is perfect for access roads and other areas where the immense pressure of vehicles and other equipment can create cracks and fissures in lesser shapes. The tapered top concentrates added mass into the wide base of each cell, distributing weight evenly.
The above examples are just the cornerstones of the pyramid design that cable concrete cells are known for—the benefits continue to pile up in support of the tapered construction based on the ultimate application of the cable concrete mat itself. From the grading slopes of riverbanks, to the need for vegetative fill on causeways, the benefits continue to abound.
There’s power in design—this couldn’t be more evident than when it comes to cable concrete cells. While the mats themselves can be shaped and tailored to meet unique applications and areas, the cells themselves will always rely on a pyramidal design—even those with open cell construction. With all of the benefits above and more to fuel the unparalleled performance of concrete mat applications, there are few if any other designs that could rival it.
For more information about concrete mats and the specially engineered cells that make them up, contact International Erosion Control Systems Inc. today!