Concrete Cloth for Seepage Reduction – Field Demonstration
Research Priorities to Enhance Canal Infrastructure Sustainability report number MERL- 2-14-54 listed "improved, less expensive canal lining, cover, and repair materials and methods (which districts can install themselves- low tech)" as one of the highest priority research needs for Reclamation in water infrastructure, canals category. Traditionally, concrete lined canals at Reclamation are repaired by cementitious repair products that require skilled labor and extensive surface preparation. In addition, if unlined canals require lining, either slip forms or skilled concrete flatwork finishers are required to place and finish the concrete. A recent innovation is "concrete fabric" or "concrete cloth" which is a geosythetic cementitious composite mat which can be rolled out, cut to size, and secured in place. Once hydrated simply by spraying with water, it will cure and harden to become a rigid barrier. This material has the potential to serve as a cheaper solution for lining a canal to reduce seepage or to facilitate faster and easier repairs.
This project is partnering with Reclamation's Columbia Pacific Northwest Regional (CPN) and Field Offices to secure a field site to conduct a demo of concrete cloth. The goal will be to see if it can reduce seepage of unlined canals. Erosion reduction and reduced maintenance costs are other potential values.
Need and Benefit
Concrete cloth was funded by S&T as a scoping study in FY19. This study was highlighted in the Canal workshop and discussed at the USACE/Reclamation coordination meeting in Dec.2019. It has also been discussed with Bobbi Jo Merten for other repair needs including corrugated metal pipe (CMP).Concrete cloth research also builds on the canal-lining demonstration projects that have been conducted by Reclamation. See also works cited in Section II- Research Strategy -Previous Work.
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