Geobrugg: New world record in rockfall protection

Geobrugg: New world record in rockfall protection

In Walenstadt, Switzerland, on October 16, 2017, a rockfall barrier from the Swiss company Geobrugg, stops the impact energy of 10,000 kilojoules: a new world record. A protective system which can stop such high forces has never before been tested live.

In the afternoon of October 16th, a 25-ton concrete block is thrown onto a rockfall protection barrier at the Geobrugg test site. The 30-meter-long and 7-meter-high net is installed vertically on a rock wall. The block with the weight of a heavy truck is released at a height of 42 meters and accelerates to 103 km/h. With a loud crash, it falls into the center of the net, which successfully stops the impact. This represents a world record. The magic mark of 10,000 kilojoules of impact energy in rockfall protection has been broken. Thus, Geobrugg’s engineers have set a milestone in the mitigation of natural hazards.

Certified and ready for series production

In the coming months, Geobrugg will certify the new rockfall barrier in accordance with the international standard ETAG 027. Under the name RXE-10000, the giant underneath the rockfall protection barriers will be ready for series production in spring 2018.

Lightweight system with low cost

This new development is particularly interesting because a barrier of this magnitude can replace conventional dams, such as those built, for example, in the vicinity of traffic routes. These systems made of steel wire nets. They are relatively light and cost only a fraction of the investment and installation costs in comparison to dams, where huge amounts of soil have to be moved.

Global warming requires protective measures

The record has a serious background: global warming is leading to an increase in heavy rainfall and destabilization of thawing permafrost subsoils. Settlements and traffic routes in exposed areas are increasingly at risk. The catastrophic floods in South America and landslides in Switzerland this year are a dramatic illustration of this. More and more extensive safety measures are needed.

Watch the video HERE.

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