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Maccaferri’s rockfall solution still secure biggest dam in Thailand

Rockfall protection

The country’s biggest dam was secured from rockfall with a simple drapery system projected with MacRo proprietary software.

Rockfall can be a very dangerous phenomenon. Roadways can be interrupted for several days when huge boulders or landslides detach from slopes, causing loss of viable connections that hurt local communities. But rockfalls can also damage infrastructures, industrial facilities, neighborhoods. For this reason, preventing such disasters is mandatory in order to ensure that no harm is done.

There are two main kinds of rockfall solutions: those that work to prevent the unsafe detachment of rocks and debris from the slope, and those that contain or catch rocks that are already falling from the slope. Although these are sometimes referred to as active and passive systems, the engineering community understands that there are no truly “Active” systems, other than rock anchors where a known load is applied to a certain point on a rock slope. Therefore these surface stabilisation systems systems prevent rockfalls by constraining rocks and unstable layers where they are supposed to be, making sure that no rocks fall, and if they do fall, they are contained behind a protective mesh curtain. Such solutions include rockfall drapery meshes that “embrace” the slope. Passive systems, on the contrary, act by stopping debris once they actually detach: in this case we are talking about dynamic barriers and other embankment-like structures, aimed at absorbing the kinetic energy of tons of rocks and debris falling at many kms per hour.

In Thailand, we like to remember a simple but important project performed close to one of the largest dam of the country, the Bumipol dam. Built in 1964, it’s original purpose was aimed at controlling floods, but it also became an important source of electricity. The dam is located very close to a steep mountain, therefore a rockfall netting system was necessary in order to protect the spillway of the concrete dam from falling rocks and debris.

Maccaferri proposed a simple drapery system, consisting of a steel wire double twist hexagonal mesh with a fixed anchorage at the top and a removable anchorage at the bottom aimed at facilitating maintenance operations. This enables any rock debris collected behind the mesh curtain to be emptied when needed.

These days, the design of the implementation would have been made far easier with the use of our Maccaferri MacRO software to calculate the most suitable mesh, in terms of puncture resistance and performance!
The project proved to be efficient and budget-friendly.

For more technical details, please download our Case History.

For more information, please contact us!

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