Applications of Geocell in Geotechnical or Civil Engineering

Geocell is a growing product on account of rapid urbanization in developing countries. The application of Geocell is the fastest-growing erosion control technique.

In terms of government regulation aiming to reduce soil erosion and to improve sustainable infrastructure geocell is a super boost product in planer geosynthetics in the coming year.

However, in the lack of awareness in the application of geocell in Geotechnical or Civil Engineering, this super functioned product is not spread as usually but the demand for geocell is increasing day by day.

In this blog, I am going to share the application of geocell and its benefits.

What is Geocell?

Geocell is a three-dimensional honeycombed shape cellular structure. That forms a confinement system when infill with filling material like soil, crushed stone, aggregates, debris, etc.

The term Geocell came from two words one ‘Geo’ which means earth or soil, another is ‘cell’ it means cellular shape which infilled with soil.
Geocell looks like a 3-Dimensional shaped perforated honeycomb structure. Its color should be black but sometimes it’s available in white color. Geocell has another brand name called Geoweb.

History Behind Geocell:

Geocell History

In September 1970 U.S. Army Corps Engineers are started research and development on Cellular Confinement systems on constructing tactical bridge approach roads over soft soil. And that time they discovered that sand-confinement systems are performed much better than the conventional aggregate filling methods. And that time the Army corps contacted Prestro product Co. a plastic manufacturer to developing a high-strength grid confinement system that would maintain strength under heavy vehicle load.

Then Prestro’ s gray batch devised a method to weld polyethylene strip to make a hexagonal confinement structure that becomes known as ‘Sandgrid’ and finally, the structure would use by the military for their road construction project.

After testing and implementation in the various sites, this structure renovates to geocell and its usefulness turned to use in various soil stabilization work including road construction.

Raw material of Geocell?

Mainly Geocell is made from HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) but sometimes it’s made from LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene), Use of LDPE Geocell are minimum.

Know more about Geosynthetics

What is Geocell Technology/ How it works?

In terms of the effectiveness of geocell has more attractive features due to its 3-Dimensional structure from other planer geosynthetics reinforcement. Infilled geocell can provide more lateral confinement.
Filled geocell formed higher stiffness and shear strength than the unreinforced soil.

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Below is a top view of geocell pockets with filled and unfilled conditions.

Closs view of geocell
Geocell pockets top view

Application of Geocell:

Below is some of the application of geocell

  1. Erosion Control
    Three-Dimensional geocell with tendon anchoring technique insists long term stability on the slope with surface vegetation, concrete, or aggregate infill.
Geocell in erosion control
Erosion Control with Geocell

2. Ground Stabilization
Geocell is used as a load spreader when the load comes over the system. Sometimes geocell is infilled with very inexpensive locally available aggregates material in a multitude of ground stabilization projects like Runways, carriageways, road extension footways, railroad trackbeding, etc. In general, for ground stabilization, 75 mm down aggregate is a suitable infill material from others.

Application of geocell
Ground stabilization with Geocell

3. Slope Protection
Slope surface protection from soil erosion with geocell is very effective and economical.

Putting geotextile over the slope and making rigid facia over slope soil infill geocell with tendon anchoring, works a long-term result. After a few times, the geocell surface comes with vegetation, and its result is longer.

Geocell in slope protection
Slope protection technique

4. Reservoir & Landfill
In the reservoir, geocell is used to protect from erosion. A concrete-filled geocell is installed over a geomembrane to make impermeable and non-slip protection and durable impoundment of liquids and waste.

In this case geocell with concrete fill performed as a flexible slab.

5. Hill Slope Protection
Hillslope protection with geocell is a very sustainable technology. It can be reduced landslide and rockfall. In hill slope protection geocell can be filled with locally available granular soil.

Geocell in hill slope maintains a good drainage system which is the major critical issue in slope protection design.

6. Subgrade stabilization
Road construction over soft soil or low-bearing capacity soil is very difficult but geocell can minimize this problem.

Geocell system with geotextile or geogrid can increase up to 5 times bearing capacity. It can be decrease settlement by up to 80 %.

Application of Geocell
Geocell in Subgrade Improvement

Geocell in road subgrade can reduce 50 % vertical settlement. Pavement thickness can be reduced by using a geocell system. reeducation of asphalt/ bitumen layers up to 15-20% by using geocell.

It can be extending maintenance of road and life cycle factor 3 or more.

7. Railway trackbed Stabilization
Uses of geocell under railway tracks
is a new technology to reduce many factors. Geocell can extend ballast life by using vertical settlement and aggregate attrition.

Using geocell we can reduce the sub-ballast layer and should be used locally available soil for the sub-ballast layer. Uses of geocell at trackbed are more effective from the geogrid layer.

Geocell is very effective in trackbed for drainage purposes.

8. Canal Slope protection and lining
Concrete or aggregate filled geocell are used for canal lining with a combination of geomembrane and geotextile.

Geocell in canal lining
Geocell Canal Slope Protection

9. Retaining Wall/ MSE Wall
Granular soil or aggregate filled geocell make an ideal gravity wall or retaining wall, to make a Retaining wall multiple layers of geocell to be installed one over one with granular infill with compaction.

The geocell gravity wall design wall concept is as same as a conventional gravity wall design. Geocell gravity wall allows flexibility in installation with any surface criteria, and not to be need dressed slope.

Geocell gravity wall
Typical design of geocell Gravity wall

The horizontal surface of the geocell could be put to use for any appropriate

After above application geocell are also used as

  1. Earth Retention
  2. Tree root protection
  3. Rural Concrete road construction
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Benefits of Using Geocell:

  1. Geocell is a 3d Confinement cell system and when it is filled with compacted soil it’s made another composite result that improves Geotechnical and mechanical properties of the structure. The geocell structure is a sustainable and economical geotechnical structure from a conventional structure to improve soil properties.
  2. Application and implementation of geocell are easy and less technical complicacy.
  3. The installation of geocell is time-consuming work from another method.
  4. Geocell is not very difficult to introduce and its implementation not required very special trained manpower or skilled labor.
  5. Geocell are low cost, lightweight and high durability products.
  6. Considering as a geotechnical solution geocell is very user friendly for use natural resource.
  7. Infill of geocell is available locally, it can fill with locally available natural resources like granular soil, crushed stone, aggregate, debris, sand, silt, and concrete.
  8. Geocell is available in different shapes, sizes, sections, and depth with various colors which gives us freehand freedom to design any kind of structure and to meet the project needs.
  9. At the point, geocell utilized in road construction, asphalt road, railway trackbed, RE Wall, slope protection its maintenance is comparatively less from others.
  10. Geocell is easy to transport and handle at the site.
  11. Geocell is environmentally friendly and durable.
  12. Geocell is increasing the reliability of the structure and life of the structure.

Technical specification of geocell

Below is an example of geocell technical specification but it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and project requirements.

Disclaimer- I am an amazon affiliate marketer. All given links in this post are for promoting amazon. Please ensure to buy something from Amazon


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Jyotirmay Maity is a B.Tech Civil Engineer with more than 8 years of experience in various Civil Engineering field i.e. Geosynthetics, Building Design, Road, Draftsmanship, and Project Management. He is the founder of this blog and his motto is to share his experiences with you. You can connect with him via mail to [email protected]

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