THE ENGINEERING PRINCIPLE
Two types of Soil Panel have been developed and used since the patented system was introducted in 1995
SOIL PANEL SN
The Soil Nailing (SN) version is typically used in applications where the creation of extra space requires existing embankments to be cut back forming steep sloping faces. Stability and structural support to these slopes is provided by soil nailing the newly excavated face and bolting the heavily galvanised steel Soil Panel cages to the protruding nails across the exposed face. The internal face of the 250mm deep cage forms the structural support to the embankment face and the outer, geotextile lined face allows filling with top soil growing medium for vegetation establishment or, if unlined, with stone.
The cages are flat packed and hinge outward once connected to the soil nails. Top soil is then placed into the cage and is either pre-seeded or, alternately, hydra seeded or planted later during normal growing seasons.
SOIL PANEL RS
The Reinforced Soil (RS) version, is used where new embankments are being created or built up, or for creating level areas on otherwise sloping sites. In this case the Soil Panel is connected to the reinforcing membrane within the rolled and compacted soil block. As in the soil nailing system the Soil Panel cage provides the structural support to the reinforced soil block and allows filling with top soil or stone as appropriate to the particular application.
ENGINEERING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
The prime advantage of the system is the separation of the growing medium from the structural requirements of a reinforced soil block, which requires heavy compaction of the structural filling.
The typically inert nature of the fill material and its subsequent compaction, effectively removes all air and creates a dense homogenous mass that is totally prohibitive to root establishment growth.
The Soil Panel therefore allows the structural specification for the reinforced soil block to be met, and then a covering of top soil to be placed and retained over the whole face. Quality graded top soil can be firmly consolidated to create the horticultural element necessary for proper vegetation growth and root establishment.
Both systems can therefore provide a natural looking vegetated embankment capable of reaching heights in excess of ten metres.
Additionally Soil Panel provides excellent protection to structural elements from accidental impact or fire damage, as well as protecting any geosynthetic fabrics which may have been used as the reinforcing element in the soil block, from U.V. light exposure. These advantages are not available on other systems.
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