How to Combat Erosion & Scour Using Articulating Concrete Block Mats

Moving water—the flow of a river current, the surge of an ocean wave, even simply ephemeral runoff, sheetwash, and rilling during an intense cloudburst—is the Earth’s signature erosive agent. Hydraulic action, when it gnaws away at river, lake, or seabed material or channel embankments, performs a particular sort of erosion commonly described as “scour.” Needless to say, this can be a major concern from a structural and geotechnical engineering perspective.

Fortunately, the fabric-formed concrete HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats from Synthetex tackle the scour issue head-on, offering premier solutions for engineers, city planners, contractors, and anyone else concerned about the structural integrity of bridge pilings, piers, embankments, pipelines, offshore oil & gas assets and wind farm assets, and others such as marine terminals, ports, quay wall protection, shoreline and underwater installations exposed to this pernicious and powerful force of erosion.

HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats

Agents & Effects of Hydrodynamic Scour

The gnawing force of a river current is easy enough to visualize. Scour can also come about from wave action, including wind waves, caused by airflow over water, and swells, which are longer-wavelength, farther-traveling waves that can travel great distances from their generating area (which may be a storm hundreds, even thousands of miles away). Of course, human action may create water movements that translate to scour, as in the case of propeller wash from props, bow thrusters, and tugs, or simply the wakes of large ships.

Whether slamming as surf or river current into piers, breakwaters, and shorelines or, via the vortices induced through water flow around obstacles, drilling out holes on one side of a piling or bridge abutment, hydrodynamic scour can be a big-time problem. Its effects may manifest subtly over years on end, or abruptly through the catastrophic failure of a support structure on account of a scour hole.

How HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats Are Used for Scour Remediation

Receiving and breaking up the hydraulic power of moving water, whatever its ultimate origin, is the ultimate purpose of HYDROTEX Articulating Block Concrete Linings used to combat scour and erosion. These articulated concrete mattresses can protect any number of structures exposed to the scouring effect of water on the move, from bridge pilings and submarine conduits, to pipelines, the banks and shorelines of rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs, and even offshore wind farms, oil & gas drilling platforms, subsea pipeline span corrections, and within the ports and marine terminals around the world.

The fabric forms of our Articulating Block Mats come segmented in compartments anchored together by interwoven filter perimeters with grout ducts and high-strength revetment cables. The incredibly durable and articulated structure provides the perfect protection for those structures pummeled by wave or current action, not to mention spillways or landfill caps, down chutes, collector channels, and any other installations subject to potential scour or erosion.

These Synthetex Articulating Block Mats are one form of our advanced, supremely versatile HYDROTEX fabric-formed concrete solutions. Our articulated concrete mattress fabric forms (sometimes generically referred to as fabriform or fabricform) can be sized (in length, width, and thickness) exactly to the specifications of a particular site, positioned in the easy-to-maneuver unfilled state they’re delivered in customized panel sizes, then pumped full of high-strength fine aggregate concrete to provide a customized, modular, articulated mattress armor  

Pumped in Place Articulating Concrete Block Mats

Additionally, we have the advantage of being able to pump the concrete below water to create a concrete mattress in-place.  In cases where a lift and place articulating concrete block mat (ACB or ACBM)  installation is needed, Synthetex has a solution.  Our Articulating Block (AB) mats can be delivered as a fabricform of customized dimensions, pumped on-site or on a barge, then lifted and placed.  Our Hydrotex AB solution offers tremendous freight savings and logistical simplification because we are shipping lightweight formworks.  And we can provide our AB mats to customized widths, lengths, and thicknesses.   (See photo)  The product is available in a wide range of thicknesses:  3” (75 mm), 4” (100 mm), 6” (150 mm), 8” (200 mm), 10” (250 mm), 12” (300 mm), and beyond.  This allows us to help design the most efficient Articulating Block revetment solution for your project.

Pumped in Place (Underwater) Articulating Concrete Block Mats

Lift and Place Articulating Concrete Block Mats

From retention ponds and dams to bridges, harbors and ports, our HYDROTEX Articulating Block Mats are suitable for a vast range of settings and applications.

Advantages of HYDROTEX Articulated Concrete Mattresses in the Shipping & Installation Phases

Because our Synthetex HYDROTEX Articulating Block Concrete Linings are shipped in unfilled, incredibly space-efficient geotextile form, they require far less space and thus shipping expenses as compared to precast concrete alternatives. They’re exactly laid out and adjusted before the concrete fills them in, which makes for an efficient installation (without the many hands and heavy machinery alternatives require). And they’re incredibly low-maintenance and durable for long term performance.

Given their design and fabrication advantages, our Synthetex HYDROTEX Articulating Concrete Block Mats deliver a 100% customizable solution for combating the destructive and often disastrous impacts of hydrodynamic erosion and scour. Virtually any sort of offshore, marine, or onshore infrastructure can benefit from the erosion and scour armorment rendered by our Articulating Concrete Block Mats.

The benefits don’t end with the premier geotextile fabric-formed concrete product itself. Our Synthetex engineers are also available to provide engineering design support and consultation for the entire process, including on-site installation assistance.  Learn more about what our HYDROTEX Articulating Concrete Block Mats offer—including drilled-down product specifications and case studies—right here!

Find Out How Synthetex HYDROTEX Articulating Concrete Block Linings Can Work For You

Drop us a line here at Synthetex for a free consultation and more information about how our cutting-edge Articulating Block Mats can protect your structures and installations from hydrodynamic scour and erosion. We’re just a phone call away at 1-800-253-0561 or 770-399-5051! You can also get in touch with us via contact form. We look forward to hearing from you, and helping to address your scour vulnerability!