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What are Gabions?

11/8/2013 7:58:14 AM | by Anonymous


Gabions are cylinders, cages or concrete boxes filled with rocks or sometimes soil and sand for use in civil engineering, military applications and road building. The erosion control is caged riprap which is used for dams or cylindrical metal structures in construction. In a military context, sand or earth filled gabions are used to protect the artillery crews from enemy fire. The term is derived from the Italian word gabbione which means “big cage”. Gabions have been in use and employed by many civil engineers since medieval times.


In the actual construction, the gabion is somewhat like a cage and may be cylindrical or in the shape of a rectangular or square box. The cage may be constructed with a number of different materials depending on the application for use. In some cases, gabion is made with metals while gabions that are intend for temporary use may be composed of an outer shell of canvas or any similar material. For instance, wick can also be used as the material of choice for a gabion.


The most common use for a gabion today is to create a barrier that can prevent erosion. This is strategically by constructing a retaining wall to prevent topsoil and silt from been washed during heavy rains or even floods, can preserve the land for crops as well as to secure land for the use of airstrips, buildings and other functions. Often, these types of gabion are made of metal and other materials that will not break down in the short term.


Similarly, a gabion may be used to construct a temporary flood wall by stacking the gabions. They can help to save buildings from flood damage and allow time for the water to recede once the disaster is brought under control. As the collections of gabions are temporary, they can easily be removed once the crisis is over and often a qualified civil engineer will oversee the installation and removal of the gabion wall.


In the past, gabions were also a means of protecting troops in the field of battle. Gabion cages are made from wicker and filled with sand that provides quick barriers and structures that would protect artillery from the arrows and projectiles of the enemy. Furthermore, these types of military fortifications can assembled in a short period of time and also to be broken down for a quick advance if necessary.

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