Durable Roads with Tough Cell® High Performance Geocells
“[Tough Cell] maximize[s] the useful life of the road structure while reducing ownership cost and CO2 emissions.” – conclusion of engineering study
High performance geotechnical structures
Roads, like all engineered structures, must stand up to the punishment of the elements and traffic. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2017 “Report Card” for America’s Infrastructure is D+:
- construction with conventional methods
- resulting in
- gradual deterioration
- an intensifying maintenance regimen
- leading to
- eventual failure
- eventual failure
You may ask: Is this the way it must be?
The evolution of geosynthetics & geotechnical engineering has led to the science of cellular confinement, geocells. Tough Cell and Paradox Access provide solutions to the century-old challenges facing road builders.
What element of road construction means most to you?
A conventional road building company typically requires 25,000 tons of crushed stone per mile.
- With Tough Cell, you realize at least 25% savings on aggregate infill volume.
- (We’ve seen savings of 50% in some cases.)
- You can reduce pavement thickness by up to 50%.
- Tough Cell performs well by improving the modulus of lower grade infill. This allows you to use locally available ungraded or recycled materials, saving money and your carbon footprint.
- Full depth subgrade preparation is usually not necessary for Tough Cell, eliminating a substantial portion of preparation.
- Soil replacement is minimized and many times eliminated.
- Ultimately, such shallow treatment takes a fraction of the time.
- More time and money is saved because the base and subbase require fewer “lifts”, passes of material and compacting equipment.
- And since you can easily use locally available materials, you can save time and costs on trucking infill from excessive distances.
- The ACP thickness for a Tough Cell road is generally 25% less than that of a conventional base and this translates to less time and money spent on constructing this expensive layer.
- Finally, Tough Cell can be installed under almost any weather condition including northern climate winters.
All these result in shorter traffic disruptions, lower overhead and less time on site in general.
Asphalt and concrete surfaces often require less than half the thickness of base course layers when Tough Cell is employed even while bearing capacity is increased by a factor of 2-3x. Studies show how Tough Cell provides a high modulus improvement factor (MIF) of 3-15 times depending on infill material and subgrade condition.
- For the paving itself, the asphalt concrete pavement (ACP) can be reduced by up to 25% of the normal thickness without compromising the support structure.
- If you will be using RAP (Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement), there is no need to mix with virgin aggregate and chemical reagents. The geocell confinement reduces creep and improves the modulus of RAP infill in a wide range of milled grade sizes, including poorly graded materials.
- By reducing vertical stress and reducing differential settlement, increased traffic and loadings can be accommodated with less rutting, less pavement failure and less maintenance.
Because Tough Cell significantly increases base course strength, you can reduce layer thickness by at least 25%. Often more.
Tough Cell reinforcement permits overall road structures to be much thinner than all other methods yet possess greater stiffness. In addition:
- Weaker soils can be reinforced and used for subgrade support without compromising integrity.
- Gravel attrition is greatly reduced – up to 5x improvement.
All this adds up. A Tough Cell road can handle more traffic and heavier axle loads for a longer service life with less maintenance and less costs.
The combined savings on construction materials and time add up to significant savings, depending upon the different conditions.
- Labour, material and equipment costs can be significantly lower than conventional methods, for both construction and total cost of ownership.
- Purchase only the level of strength of Tough Cell needed for your project
- Gravel costs reduced by ~40% because of reduced volumes and quality.
- The Tough Cell advantages result in a minimum of 10% overall initial construction cost savings over conventional methods and often much more.
Tough Cell reduces maintenance cycles and life-cycle costs. This results from the reinforcement properties of Tough Cell Geocells maintaining the grade structure with minimal material attrition.
- Asphalt life can generally be expected to increase by 50%.
- Six years instead of four on like material thickness.
- Significant increase in base and subbase lifetimes.
The most heavily used working platforms made from Tough Cell experience dramatic reductions in maintenance costs over the course of time.
- One example installation is currently realizing over $1 million per year in maintenance cost savings compared to their previous conventionally-constructed yard.
The American construction industry consumes 40% of the country’s sand and gravel and emits 40% of the total greenhouse gas produced in the United States. The road construction industry is a major contributor to global warming.
Tough Cell technology slashes consumption and emissions in road construction.
- Far less infill and paving materials needed for construction.
- Low material attrition and extended maintenance means less material consumption over the life of the surface.
- Less equipment usage reduces CO2 emissions by 20% or more.
- Reduced hauling, processing, placement and compaction.
- Tough Cell can use poor infill.
- Works well with recycled or waste materials.
- You can use the local supply that may be unsuitable for other purposes (and use reduced logistics to transport it).
- RAP material can be used as-is, without additives or expensive processing.
Tough Cell geocells are made from Neoloy, a Novel Polymeric Alloy (NPA) and uses nanotechnology to create a new, stronger, and more durable material for geocell fabrication.
- Controlled tests project that Tough Cells can provide road structure support without failing for 75 years, far longer than any other geosynthetic product.
- Other tests show that Tough Cell can provide unprecedented strength as great at 22 kN/m .
- Tough Cell functions at subarctic freeze to Saharan desert (-60°C to +60°C) without degradation or deformation.
Every project is different with innumerable variables. Paradox Access knows and meets them head on.
- All Tough Cell installations from Paradox are value-engineered designs, customized to your project, certified by qualified geotechnical engineers.
- Only the appropriate product is selected from an array of sizes and thicknesses.
- Every project is monitored and quality controlled by the professional and veteran Paradox crews and project managers.
Tough Cell brings improvements to structural pavements that are measurable and considerable.
(settlement after 50,000 load cycles)
|8 mm||23 mm|
|Creep resistance||High (10x)||Minimal|
Paradox’s award-winning safety record is included in every construction project. A safe project is assured by:
- Construction management experience in a wide range of projects
- Seasoned earth and road works crews working in diverse conditions and situations
Total Cost of Ownership
Tough Cell may be the single most significant improvement you can make to your project.
While initial cost savings are attractive, the real value manifests over the project lifetime.
- Greatly reduced construction costs.
- Infill, earthworks, equipment and labour
- Minimum 10% budget savings initially
- Long term maintenance costs are reduced.
- Fewer overlays and longer periods between rehabilitation cycles
- Overall service lifetime increase means bigger spread in scheduled replacement.
- The savings multiply by extending the road design longer than ever before.