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Federally funded research shows that generic Geosynthetically Confined Soil (GCS®) structures can have bearing capacities and safety factors more than 10 times those of Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) walls. The key to GCS® performance, as demonstrated in the very first “fabric walls” by the USFS in the 70’s, is close (8-12 inch) spacing of geosynthetic sheets in compacted granular backfill. MSE, on the other hand, is a simple composite and assumes that performance is predictable through element contribution. MSE has a failure rate, and with the certainty that many standing MSE walls are just marginally stable. A summary of research leading to the famous 1994 Class A prediction symposium where world experts over-predicted failure of GCS walls by factors of 10 to 20.

Past Chairman of NCHRP Project 12-59, charged with preparing Design and Construction Guidelines For Bridge Abutments on Geosynthetically Reinforced Soil.
NCHRP research demonstrated that GCS® walls and abutments can withstand any credible earthquake. Ruckman and Barrett were recipients of the IFAI International Design Award in 1997 for design and construction of a 55-foot-high GRS retaining wall. Barrett have been awarded 7 patents, on retaining wall design, on rockfall fences, on earthquake resistant abutments on fiberglass nails, on shotcrete alternatives and on scour micropiles. State of the art GCS® technology translates into better, safer, quicker, easier and cheaper retaining walls, bridge abutments, box culverts, foundations, rockfall barriers, avalanche and debris flow deflectors, and more.

This phenomenonexplains why Unique Composite GCS® structures even with the lightest fabrics can be designed to withstand loads over 20 tons per square foot (2.2 MPa).

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