Gabions are used in modern applications in engineering mechanics. They are rectangular or cylindrical baskets with partitions, manufactured from hot-dip galvanized or plastic coated wire and they are filled mainly with rocks. Over the last 100 years, they have been used in river bank, slope and coastal protection constructions, protective piers, river dams, bridge foundations, rock retaining constructions and many more, all over the world. When compared to similar erosion control systems, gabion boxes have many advantages:
FLEXIBILITY One of the most important features of gabion boxes is flexibility. The double twisted hexagonal gauge offers great resistance to external forces without being destroyed, as it absorbs them through ground retention and hydraulic pressure.
LONGEVITY Double twisted hexagonal gauge gabion boxes can last for many years as they are manufactured from highly durable materials and are filled with natural stone. They are connected to each other to form a strong construction that resists underground movements without losing its original shape. Gabion boxes integrate with the landscape and they are supported and reinforced by the plants growing through them as they offer a natural protection to the mesh and the rocks. Gabions are often covered, sometimes even as soon as they are installed, with soil and plant roots that keep the rocks together and make the whole construction very flexible. Finally, even if a wire breaks at some point, the double twisted hexagonal gauge gabion boxes and the bank protection mesh keep their shape as the wire does not unfold.
DURABILITY Being durable and flexible, gabion boxes can resist to water and soil forces. For example the river banks and coastal protection and retain systems where the solid construction remains efficacious and functional for a long time even when part of it has collapsed. The durability testings conducted on gabion boxes specify the technical standards of the product and can be seen at ASTM A975-97, EN 10218-2, EN 10223-3 and EN 10244-2
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY Gabion boxes constructions are environmentally friendly and hardly intervene in the natural habitat thanks to the inert materials and the use of natural stone. When gabions are filled with rocks natural pores that allow the circulation of air are formed. The small gaps between the rocks are usually covered with soil which allows plants to grow and often take up the whole construction. Many construction have been completely covered with plants over the years and are not at all visible , thus avoiding any change in the landscape. Different methods can be used for speed appearance and growth of vegetation.
LOW COST Gabion systems offer cheap solutions for various constructions for many reasons. Little preparatory ground work is needed. The gabions can be assembled and installed on site even by a non-specializing working crew. Minimum assembly and installation time is needed compared to the fact that the construction will probably need no maintenance work whatsoever in the future, since the soil that covers the gaps between the stones increases its efficacy. No water extraction works are needed since the gabion baskets have pores that allow water to flow. Finally the stone fill used can usually be found in a close distance from the working site, at a local quarry or businesses.
LANDSCAPE AESTHETIC INTEGRATION Gabion systems integrate into the landscape creating highly aesthetic constructions. Unlike other products that are used in this kind of constructions, such as (prefabricated) concrete walls, gabion baskets are not corroded or lose their paint coat by the water. As a matter of fact, over the years they are eventually covered by vegetation and they integrate into the landscape.