Flexible slope stabilization systems made from wire meshes in combination with nailing are widely used in practice to stabilize soil and rock slopes (Fig. 1). They are economical solutions and a good alternative to measures based on rigid concrete liner walls or massive supporting structures. Apart from designs using conventional steel wire, meshes from high-tensile steel wire are now also available on the market. The latest can absorb substantially higher forces and transfer them onto the nailing. Special concepts have been developed for the dimensioning of flexible surface stabilization systems for use on steep slopes in more or less homogeneous soil or heavily weathered loosened rock, but also on fissured and layered rock in which the bodies liable to break out are determined by fissure and layer surfaces. Stabilizations implemented in soil and rock, with and without vegetated face, confirm that these measures are suitable for practical application (Cała, et al. 2012). The research work presented in this paper explains the latest verification of the existing dimensioning concept for superficial slope protection system based on test results coming from a large-scale field test setup. Thereby the influence of properties of the facing as well as deformations under loading and forces on the nails are tested and the results will be presented.


Various aspects of slope stability are the subjects of study of many fields of engineering such as road and rail engineering, mining. There are numerous methods for stabilizing slopes that can be chosen depending on the scale of the occurrence, technical conditions and terrain characteristics. To enable the best possible solution it is necessary to take into consideration several variables that could impact the effectiveness of such protection. At the same time the technical and economic aspects of the proposed construction need to be taken into account. Another aspect to be considered is whether the construction is environmentally friendly. It is also important for the slope stabilization to ensure not only its global but also superficial stability.

In many cases the optimum solution is to use nailing in combination with the flexible facing systems. It ensures global stability (nailing) and protects the slope against the possible local instabilities and rockfalls. High effectiveness of such solutions was proved in the recent years' installations.

It can be claimed that the aspects of nailing are relatively well known, whereas, in the case of slope facing there are still many questions. In order to understand better how the nailing and slope facing work together and what the role of mesh is in bearing and transferring the forces to the nailing system, first results of the full scale tests, setup and equipment that was used will be presented in this article.

The entire project is supported with CTI Swiss funds and lead by Bern University of Applied Sciences with cooperation with Geobrugg AG and AGH University of Science and Technology.

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