Friday, July 29, 2011
Vines for reinforcement in weak ripraps
About 22 years back, a riprap or stone retaining wall was constructed along the steps leading to my house. Ten years ago I planted a crawling vine at the base of the stonewall, this vine spread itself on the ripraps as years pass by it attached itself on the individual stones as if it were glued to it. Eventually the stems of the vine grew bigger and held the stones like a net. I noticed that even if there were movements in the foundation of the wall because of soil erosion and other causes, the riprap remained standing despite bulging and convulsion in several locations.
This vine thrives well on walls be it stones or cement. Once it is planted and it begins to spread and do not need watering or much attention. The vine itself is very strong and sturdy. It is able to hold the stones in place preventing them from being dislodged by natural calamities or other causes.
Considering the benefits these crawling vines can give, why not give a try in ripraps of government projects in the Philippines. Anyway the scrutiny of inspectors of these projects is evaded as proven by erosions after a time which exposed the substandard structures. The ripraps grow weaker as time pass by but these vines can become a strong supporter by binding the stones tightly and preventing looseness that causes the walls from falling apart.
Nature has a way of helping man in its artificial quest of constructing, yet man fails to listen how nature speaks. Nature has a message of continuity and permanency while man thinks only of temporary matters and profit sacrificing excellence.