Tunnels are made for the underground or underwater passage of pedestrians, automobiles, or wildlife, or for the purpose of excavating valuable minerals or other natural resources. These tunnels are completely enclosed by ground or water except for their entrances and exits. The decision to construct a tunnel for human or wildlife purposes is often made based upon the low cost of maintenance in combination with its fewer security issues.
However, constructing stable, reliable and durable tunnels can pose serious challenges due to the variance of conditions in a wide range of environments and climates. Some of the most important factors to consider when constructing internal tunnel support are water or groundwater, earth or water weight load stresses, faults, extreme temperatures, fire hazard, and the avoidance of problems related to these factors.
In fact, due to the continuous weight load from the surrounding earth or water, materials must be reinforced, as stabilization is critical. In the past, this has been achieved through steel reinforced concrete. Yet, this has presented many problems with endurance, longevity, performance, and security, especially due to corrosion of the steel.
Today, environmentally friendly basalt is replacing steel as the reinforcement in concrete for tunnels, as it provides more stability than steel due to its capability for better weight dispersion along with its inherently greater strength. Additionally, it is impervious to corrosion due to water or other chemicals, temperature and vibration resistant, and fireproof.
In addition to the increased safety and security that basalt reinforced concrete provides for tunneling, it also provides the maximum value in maintenance costs. Where steel reinforced concrete has a relatively short life span, sometimes only 10-15 years, basalt rebar can retain its integrity for over 100 years, maintenance-free.
Basalt America is using leading edge green technology to produce these basalt fiber reinforced polymer products that are two to three times stronger and 75% lighter than steel. These steel replacement products never rust, create virtually no carbon footprint and have lifespans of more than a century.
When used as an alternative to steel rebar to construct tunnels, they will last virtually forever. With its durability, strength and longevity, this superior product can ensure the performance that’s needed, while being economically and environmentally friendly.
If you would like more information on how our basalt products can help build better tunnels, please visit basaltamerica.com today.