Geobrugg, let it rock! More natural and, therefore, more complex than ever. Geobrugg dropped stones into a rockfall barrier under laboratory conditions at the Walenstadt test site. The test blocks are targeted at the edge of a net field. This test places more stress on the system than the most demanding guidelines currently require.
Further tests are carried out in nature. The same barrier is installed on the Flüela Pass, near Davos for experimental purposes, and fitted with measuring cells on ropes and posts. As a result, it is possible to determine what elements are loaded or accelerated and to what extent. A large "Super Puma" helicopter flies test blocks of different shapes from 0.8 up to 2.7 tons to the drop point 150 meters above. Scientists from the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) prepare the stones to drop them towards the barrier at the foot of the slope again and again because no rockfall is the same as another.
The test series is all about finding out what influence the stone shape and the subsoil have on the trajectory, speed, rotation, and jumping heights of rocks in nature. Geobrugg is particularly interested in how the rockfall barrier behaves under real conditions. What is the effect of central and boundary field impacts, what happens with post hits? How does the netting react to fast-rotating stones? Everything is precisely measured, recorded, and documented for later evaluation.
The effort is great, but so is the benefit. The goal for the SLF is to refine its rockfall simulation models further. For Geobrugg, the priority is to make the barriers even more adaptable to real conditions. To ensure a reliable measurement database, Geobrugg will continue the test series in 2020, with many more rock drops.
See the video from the natural testing at Flüela Pass here