Pioneering Geocell Technology for Soil Stabilization and Road Reinforcement in Civil Engineering

Courtesy of Paradox Access Solutions, Authorized PRS Distributor in North America

The Role of Tough-Cells in Construction 

PRS Neoloy Tough-Cells are a green 3D mechanical soil stabilization solution to stabilize soft soils, reinforce support layers and improve pavement performance. Increased performance enables heavy-duty use and extended service life, with fewer repairs and maintenance compared to conventional methods. With engineering properties aligned to transportation and infrastructure needs, Neoloy Tough-Cells improve the strength and service life of pavements, rails and ports. In addition, Tough-Cells can be used for slope and channel protection, earth retention walls and landfills and reservoirs. 

Understanding Geocells 

Geocells with granular fill act as a mattress that later distributes applied vertical forces (e.g., vehicle wheel). The confinement restrains the lateral movement of soil particles via hoop stress on the cell walls. The stabilized soil improves layer modulus and reduces surface deformation. However, the extent of the reinforcing or stabilizing effect is determined by the “material from which the product is made …. geocells must also have the right properties … when it comes to dynamic stiffness, resistance to plastic deformation and tensile strength” ( Reinforcement Geosynthetics in Road Building Standard (Vega et al, 2018, Netherlands). 

Geocell Soil Confinement

PRS guarantees the geocell performance for the entire project design life

Although the geometry of geocells is similar, it is the polymeric material from which they are made that determines their performance. There are 2 main types: 

  • Soft Cells (Short Term) – made from HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene), offering flexibility, and suitability to landscape, low load and short-term applications. 
  • Tough Cells (Long Term) – rigid cells made from NPA (Nano-Polymeric Alloy) with high elastic and tensile stiffness suitable for civil engineering applications with low permanent deformation levels.  

Selecting the Right Geocell for Your Project 

Neoloy Tough-Cells are rigid cells made from NPA (Novel Polymeric Alloy), featuring the requisite stiffness, strength and durability to prevent volumetric change under dynamic loading over a project lifespan. According to ASTM and ISO standards, the three key properties of cells are: 

  • Dynamic Mechanical Modulus (Elastic Stiffness)– elastic behavior, to store and release dynamic loading while maintaining its geometry (ASTM E2254 DMA test). 
  • Permanent Deformation (Creep) – plastic behaviour at the end of project design life under designed loads (ASTM D6992 SIM test). 
  • Tensile Strength – defines the strength to withstand vertical load transferred to hoop tensile forces on the cell wall (ISO-10319 Tensile test, wide-width including perforations). 

Whereas one size doesn’t fit all, one cell type does not fit all projects. Neoloy Tough-Cells are manufactured in 4 strength categories (C-D) to match the geocell to the specific project requirements. This enables you to customize the geocell configuration to the project and optimize the solution performance vs. cost. Learn how to use Neoloy Tough-Cells Categories to optimize your performance and costs. 

Benefits Neoloy Tough Cells

  • Proven Solutions for Challenging Projects heavy loads, soft soils, lack of aggregate, difficult environs, remote locations.  
  • Reduced Construction Time and Costs achieved by using local sand and/or recycled materials as infill material, while reducing the thickness of structural and asphalt layers.  
  • Reduced Maintenance by creating stronger and more durable pavements, repairs are minimized, and maintenance budgets reduced.  
  • Reduced Environmental Impact due to lower construction footprint, conservation of virgin aggregate resources and decreased carbon emissions.    

Advantages of Using Tough Cells: 

PRS Neoloy Tough-Cells are well suited to the needs of today’s infrastructure and construction by providing better engineering performance at a more effective cost. PRS Neoloy Tough-Cells provide more stabilization, higher reinforcement factors and/or lower costs (capital and lifecycle) compared to any conventional or geosynthetics alternative: 

  • Neoloy resistance to plastic deformation – limits cell geometric change to < 3% to maintain dimensional stability even under heavy dynamic loading. This keeps soil compaction, limits settlement and prevents pavement degradation. 
  • Neoloy high reinforcement factors – validated by research and field studies, enable thinner pavement layers and the use of marginal-quality but locally-won soils (e.g., sand, recycled materials) for structural infill – at the same level or improved performance as conventional pavements.  
  • Neoloy performance is verified – by a large knowledge base of published literature, testing methodologies, international standards, and integration with existing design methodologies.  

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