Why You Must Have Proper Scour Protection at Cruise or Container Ship Ports and Maritime Terminals

It goes without saying that cruise and container ship terminals are logistically challenging maritime environments, given the size and design of the vessels involved and the magnitude of ship traffic. Among numerous concerns in managing these waterfronts, scour protection ranks high up there.

To protect waterfront installations and seabeds from this pernicious form of erosion, look no further than the innovative HYDROTEX fabric formworks we offer here at Synthetex. As capable underwater as on dry land, our cast-in-place fabriforms provide a superior alternative to rip-rap, armor stone, precast concrete blocks, and other traditional solutions.

Scour at Play in Cruise Terminals

Hydrodynamic scour involves the erosion of seabed material and degradation of underwater structures by currents and waves. In a maritime terminal, the bottom material of the port and a variety of installations, including berths, quays, piers, and seawalls, are vulnerable to a number of forms of scour.

Natural wave and tidal action can produce scour in cruise or shipping terminals, as in any waterfront facility. Then there’s the scour resulting from the turbulence and suction produced by the propellers, thrusters, and wakes of powerful, low-clearance cruise ships, tug wash, and other vessels using or servicing the terminal.

Left unchecked, scour can damage the underwater environment and waterfront structures, and undermine the stability or performance of various terminal infrastructure. Regular innovations in cruise-ship design—from engine and size upgrades to new thruster technologies intended to boost the maneuverability, mooring, and offshore steadying of these hulking vessels—makes scour protection a dynamic issue facility managers need to stay on top of.

HYDROTEX Scour Protection for Cruise Terminal Applications

Traditional scour-protection solutions such as rip-rap and prefabricated concrete blocks often leave much to be desired. These materials are expensive and bulky to transport, require heavy equipment for off-loading, need large lay-down or storage areas, tend to require a fair amount of heavy machinery and human labor to install, and commonly end up demanding long-term maintenance. The structurally complex and heavily trafficked environment of a cruise terminal and other ports used by large watercraft can test the limits of these materials and the logistical realities of their proper installation.

This is where HYDROTEX fabric formworks can come right to the rescue! Our fabric-formed concrete is cast in place and completely customizable from start to finish, adapting to any number of waterfront setups.

Efficient to transport, requires no heavy equipment for off-loading, needs a very small lay-down area, and easy to precisely arrange in unfilled form, HYDROTEX fabriform mattresses, grout bags, and other armoring units are pumped in situ with fine aggregate concrete, requiring minimal machinery and manpower. Depending on the depth of water and type of structure involved, they can be filled from the surface or by divers. These flexible, anti-scour HYDROTEX products provide long-lasting protection with little maintenance required.

Among the HYDROTEX products well suited to cruise terminals are:

Our engineering team will help you devise the perfect HYDROTEX solution for your scour-protection needs and the structural and dimensional requirements of the given terminal. We’ll also work with you and your contractor to ensure all of the right materials and procedures are used, with Synthetex engineers also available to provide on-site consulting and technical support during the design or installation process.

Tackle Scour Protection in Cruise Terminals the Right Way Using HYDROTEX Fabric-formed Concrete

To learn more about how HYDROTEX products can perform in cruise-terminal applications, check out this case study profiling Port Canaveral, one of the world’s busiest cruise ports. Most recently, our HYDROTEX Articulating Block and Uniform Section concrete mattresses were fitted for scour protection on a major project at the Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal Berth 1.  However, our HYDROTEX solutions have continued to be used by Port Canaveral since the 1990s.

And then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Synthetex team for a free consultation or project estimate: We can be reached here at the website, or by calling 1-800-253-0561 or 770-399-5051. We look forward to hearing from you!

Bridge Abutments & Why They Require Scour Protection

Hydraulic scour destabilizing bridge abutments is a leading cause of bridge failure in the U.S. and around the world. Combating this common form of erosion is both imperative and challenging, given the naturally dynamic bankside and shoreline environments and the frequently unconsolidated or otherwise unstable sediments where bridges are needed.

Fortunately, HYDROTEX fabric-formed concrete offers versatile, customizable, and long-lasting bridge-scour protection. Read on to learn more about the issue, and how our products help tackle it!

Hydraulic Scour Around Bridge Abutments

Bridge scour refers to the removal by hydraulic forces of sediment around abutments and piers. It results from the interaction of flowing water and these man-made obstructions, though it can be instigated or enhanced by natural processes such as riverbank undercutting by meandering rivers, erosion of tributary channels, and coastal erosion from breaking waves.

Flowing water, whether a river or tidal current, forms eddies and vortices downstream of a bridge abutment as well as a bridge pier. This can cause localized scour directly around these structures. Water passing through a constriction, as formed by the chokepoint of bridge abutments along a riverway, speeds up, gaining erosive power and generating vortices to produce contraction scour.

These and other forms of scour can create scour holes on the downstream side of abutments as well as gnaw away at riverbanks or coastal bluffs. Such hydraulic scour and erosion destabilizes bed and embankment surfaces, causing abutments to lower, lean, or even collapse. Given the critical support bridge abutments provide at either end of bridge spans, it doesn’t take much deep thought to recognize the perilous impact hydraulic scour can have: resulting, at best, in costly repairs, and at worst in all-out bridge collapse and loss of life.

Combatting Bridge Scour With HYDROTEX Fabric-Formed Concrete

Armoring is the leading countermeasure when it comes to bridge-scour mitigation. From matrix and grouted riprap to gabion baskets and retaining walls, bridge-abutment armoring can take a wide variety of forms.

But such mass-manufactured installations often leave much to be desired, if they can even be effectively installed in the first place. HYDROTEX fabric-formed concrete provides the better solution in many contexts.

Because it can be produced exactly to specifications (width, length and thickness), and laid out unfilled to precisely conform to abutment structures before being pumped with fine aggregate concrete in situ, our fabriforms provide a truly custom solution with exceptional, long-lasting scour protection.

Compared to mass-produced and pre-cast alternatives, our HYDROTEX fabriforms offer low-cost transport and can be efficiently installed without heavy machinery or a large, specialized work crew. The ease with which HYDROTEX can be installed extends to underwater and low-head clearance applications. Many times, no excavation is required to put in our fabriforms, and they can be installed in low-clearance and other logistically tricky sites. And they can be effectively used for any number of kinds of bridges—highway bridges, railroad bridges, etc.—and in a multitude of settings and scales.

HYDROTEX Products Ideal for Bridge Scour Protection

The number-one go-to HYDROTEX product for bridge-scour prevention is our Articulating Block Fabric Form. These cast-in-place concrete mattresses come reinforced with internal revetment cables (either steel or polyester cables) to provide rock-solid but flexible scour protection that stands up with minimal maintenance for the long haul. Pumped with fine aggregate concrete in situ, our articulated block mattresses provide a superior armoring solution for bridge abutments regardless of design style or location.

Along with our top-quality articulated block mats, you might also choose our HYDROTEX Grout Bags for bridge-scour repair. These cast-in-place concrete bags can fill up scour holes and prop abutments back up to level. These fabriform concrete bags can be produced to exact-specification height and width to deliver custom bridge-scour protection solutions for any kind of bridge abutment.

And in many cases, both articulating block and grout bags can be used in coordination with each other.  Between our articulated block mattresses and concrete bags, you’ll be able to address any bridge-scour issue head-on!

The Synthetex Solution for Bridge Abutment Scour

The Synthetex approach gives you more than just a (fabulous and first-rate) solution for bridge scour protection and bridge scour repair. We’re with you every step of the way, from helping plan out the exact custom design and specifications to meet your needs to providing contractor bidding as well as on-site technical support and planning consultation for contractors. We’re not just a materials supplier here at Synthetex: We’re your partner on the project!

Turn to Synthetex HYDROTEX Fabric-Formed Concrete to Combat Bridge Abutment Scour

Whether you’re addressing bridge scour already underway or trying to prevent it in the first place, look no further than HYDROTEX fabric-formed concrete! Our 100% customizable articulated concrete mattresses and erosion-control bags provide easy-to-install, highly cost-effective, and top-performing solutions.

Get in touch with Synthetex today to find out more about how our HYDROTEX fabric formworks can address bridge abutment scour on your project. For a free consultation and project estimates, call us at 1-800-253-0561 or 770-399-5051 or touch base via our online contact form.

How HYDROTEX Products Help With Contaminated Sediment

The containment of contaminated sediment ranks among the most pressing concerns in industrialized shoreline environments. For the integrity of aquatic ecosystems and for human health and safety alike, sealing off contamination—which very often stems from past industrial activities subject to laxxer environmental standards—must be a top priority.

Advanced HYDROTEX fabric-formed concrete provides a geotextile solution for sediment capping and remediation, offering a product that can be used as a standalone cover or in combination with other capping methods.

Contaminated Sediment Remediation With HYDROTEX Fabriform Concrete Mattresses

The aim of sediment capping is to stabilize contaminated sediment and to isolate it from both a physical and chemical standpoint, thereby minimizing exposure of aquatic ecosystems—including pathways directly affecting local human populations—to potentially harmful industrial chemicals and byproducts.

A wide variety of capping materials and designs may be employed. Sand, gravel, silt, and clay are commonly used alone or in combination, depending on whether a permeable, semi-permeable, or impermeable overlay is desired. Often, amendments of one kind or another, such as organophilic clays, activated carbon, biopolymers, and zero-valent iron, are added either to the contaminated sediment or to the overlying cap or within hybrid products geotextiles that entrap these amendments. These may be used not only to reinforce physical containment but also, for example, to sequester heavy metals, prevent certain contaminants from becoming bioavailable in the environment, or ward against chemical degradation that can lead to pollution.

Installations of sediment caps, amended or otherwise, often employ the use of geotextiles. These can not only boost the performance of an overlayer as a physical barrier, but also secure or sandwich other capping material (such as amendments) and protect them from the ravages of erosion and scour or physical damage from boats, tug wash or anchors. HYDROTEX fabric-formed concrete, which are cast in situ, offer huge advantages for geotextile sediment-remediation systems.

Using HYDROTEX Fabriforms in Sediment Capping & Erosion Protection

HYDROTEX fabric-formed concrete mattresses are ideal for containing contaminated sediment and protecting other capping layers and filtration media from damage and degradation. The ability to lay these fabriforms in place (above or below water) and then pump them with fine aggregate concrete, to manufacture them in varying thicknesses, and to select mostly impermeable or highly permeable HYDROTEX installations gives you a fully customizable solution.

From rivers, harbors and ports to wastewater facilities and landfills, HYDROTEX fabric-formed concrete helps enclose and isolate contaminated sediment while also shielding the sand, clay, organoclays or other capping layers. These fabriforms create an armor over sediment caps resilient in the face of surging currents, pounding breakers, battering debris, and ship anchors.

Whether used alone or in conjunction with other capping materials, HYDROTEX fabriforms can be your best friend when it comes to protecting the environment from contaminated sediment!  And as a soft install of pumping in place, there is minimal disturbance to the underlying sediments.

HYDROTEX Solutions for Sediment Capping

A variety of HYDROTEX products are ideal for sediment-remediation projects. They include our Articulating Block Mats, which allows you to install a cable-reinforced concrete block mattress that can stand up to strong wave or current action while tightly hugging the subgrade.  These solutions also allow vertical drainage in combination with the properties of the underlying sediment cap.  Along with sediment capping, they provide long-lasting, low-maintenance embankment protection—another critical aim in many industrial-shoreline settings.

Another of our top sediment control products, HYDROTEX Uniform Section Concrete Linings can be efficiently employed to prevent the escape of chemicals and industrial waste in open channels and basins. Highly chemical-resistant, these Uniform Section Concrete Linings can also protect geosynthetic liners such as GCLs (geosynthetic clay liners) or RCM (reactive core mats) from a variety of damage, from mechanical impact and freeze-thaw to UV degradation.

Often it’s desirable to boost the ecological value of a sediment-capping system by incorporating living vegetation on top. Our HYDROTEX Enviromat Concrete Linings are ideal for this, manifesting as a fabriform mattress with both concrete-filled and unfilled sections that can be seeded or planted or naturally allowed to grow plantlife.

Part of the great appeal of HYDROTEX products are their equal application in above- and below-water settings. The incredible ease with which they can be installed and their ability to conform precisely to a wide variety of structures and subgrades—including unconventional footprints and hard-to-access areas—makes them the perfect choice for a wide variety of sediment-remediation efforts.

Contact Synthetex for More Information on How HYDROTEX Can Be Used for Erosion & Sediment Control

It’s imperative to select the right materials and design for any sediment-remediation effort based on the site environment and the nature of the contaminated sediment. The supreme customizability and wide-ranging product thickness of the in-situ fabric-formed concrete installations we offer here at Synthetex means there’s almost assuredly the perfect HYDROTEX solution for your needs.

Interested in how HYDROTEX can help with contaminated sediment remediation? Get in touch for a free consultation, project estimates, and other information by calling us at 1-800-253-0561 or 770-399-5051 or our online contact form

Precast Articulating Concrete Blocks vs. Synthetex’s Articulated Block System

When you’re looking for an alternative to, say, traditional rip rap or gabions for erosion control, scour protection, or shoreline stabilization, you may find yourself considering precast articulating concrete blocks (aka ACBs). We’re here to explain how superior our fabriform HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats are to such precast products.

HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats vs. Precast Cellular Concrete Blocks

The Different Designs of Articulating Concrete Blocks vs. HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats

ACBs consist of precast cellular concrete blocks bound together by revetment cables in a flexible mat. By contrast, Synthetex’s HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats are geotextile, cable-reinforced fabric formworks that are pumped with fine aggregate concrete in situ, after being installed as an unfilled mattress. 

Advantages of Synthetex’s HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats vs. Conventional Precast Articulating Concrete Blocks

Among the chief virtues of our HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats as compared with precast ACBs is their ease of transport and installation, with corresponding cost savings when it comes to freight, labor and equipment (no cranes or large trackhoes).

Transport & Installation Comparisons

There are only so many precast concrete block plants, which means ACBs are typically conveyed across long distances. The lengths of these precast mats are constrained by the length of the flatbed trailers that haul them, which usually shakes out to 8-ft wide x 40-foot long limits. A single flatbed trailer can usually transport about 1,300 square feet of precast block mats. This means that multiple flatbeds are generally required to transport the required amount of precast ACBs to the jobsite—and again, those multiple flatbeds are often traveling many miles. That adds up when it comes not only to freight costs, but also pollution, traffic loads, and public driving safety.

Given HYDROTEX fabriform mats are delivered unfilled and rolled up, they’re much more space-efficient than their precast counterparts. They’re usually shipped in a single load with up to 200,000 square feet hauled by one truck. Needless to say, that’s a significant cost-savings, and a smaller environmental and safety footprint, to boot.

For the same reason, our HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats are also much easier to install than precast ACBs. Besides the multiple trucks and trailers needed to deliver them, those precast mats require heavy equipment such as cranes or trackhoes to lift, place, and otherwise maneuver them. Compare that to the single small, trailer-mounted grout pump used to install Synthetex’s Articulating Block Mats.

And it’s not only the fact that our HYDROTEX concrete block mattresses need less machinery and less manpower to set up; The flatbed trailers, cranes, and other equipment associated with the delivery and installation of precast ACBs may prove at the very least challenging, and possibly unfeasible, for particular projects with clearance issues, underwater installations, and general square-footage constraints.

Customizability, Efficiency, and Performance

Because our HYDROTEX fabric formworks are laid on or around embankments, channel slopes, dam slopes and spillways, offshore oil & gas drilling platforms, and other structures before being pumped with concrete, they can tightly conform to the subgrade. This means intimate contact and fit, in many cases, than what precast concrete block mattresses can deliver.

They can also be manufactured exactly to width and length requirements. Precast mats come in set 8-foot widths—and, as we’ve already mentioned, often maximum 40-foot lengths. To perform effectively, they also require precise grading of the site’s subgrade, given subgrade undulations may hamper the fitting-together of the precast mats. They may also bridge subgrade changes, while HYDROTEX fabric formworks hug the subgrade closely, flexing with shifts that occur during installation.

A leading authority on revetment design, K.W. Pilarczyk, has pointed to a significant weak point when it comes to precast block systems: namely, the connection between adjacent mats. With precast articulating blocks, for example, interface seams at every eight feet (corresponding to the widths of the mat) are marked by half-blocks forming butt-joints. These half-blocks are—surprise, surprise—half as stable as the full blocks. The design of ACBs also means there is at least a foot of slack in the transverse cables between each mat. The half-blocks and cable slack between mats add significant instability to this setup.

On top of all this, fabric-formed concrete as compared to precast or dry-cast concrete blocks offers outstanding tensile and compressive strength, greater durability due to a superior water-cement ratio and better resistance to sulfate exposure, and a case-hardened lining thanks to water loss through the fabriforms during the pumping of the concrete.

Choose HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats Over Precast Articulating Concrete Blocks

With all of its advantages, our HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mat technology also comes with full engineering-support and consulting services and all-around assistance of the Synthetex team, here to help advise engineers and contractors and provide in-the-field technical support to make sure these fabriform mattresses are properly installed for maximum performance and minimal maintenance in the long-term.

For a project estimate, drop the Synthetex team a line at 1-800-253-0561 or 770-399-5051.