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What are Grasscrete, its types, and its uses

Grasscrete is a reinforced cellular cast-on-site concrete in which natural grass can be grown or gravel can be filled into the cavities. It is a green solution that aids in the creation of aesthetically beautiful and environmentally sustainable urban environments. It is a green alternative that provides an impermeable surface for emergency vehicle access, parking, and water management. Concrete is poured over styrene void formers in a simple technique to make grasscrete. It’s a cellular reinforced concrete system cast on site with voids generated by formers. The former is essentially a piece of equipment or a mould that creates spaces in concrete that can later be filled with porous materials like stone, gravel, or plants.

Fig 1 Grasscrete Paver Block
Fig 1: Grasscrete Paver Block

What is Grasscrete and its Importance:
Grasscrete is a cellular reinforced concrete system with voids generated by plastic formers that is cast on site. It’s also known as void structured concrete or void concrete. It has a distinct pattern of voids created with disposable forms that, once removed and replaced with grassed soil or stone, allow water to seep through the concrete. As a result, the prior character of Grasscrete is created not through the use of chemical admixtures, but rather through the use of a preset mechanical mechanism to generate voids in a systematic, regular way.

It’s also commonly utilised to reduce the island’s heat, improve stormwater management, have a long life span, and require less upkeep. As a result, it has a number of advantages over precast concrete and plastic paving systems.

The unique qualities of grasscrete reduce the number of construction procedures required, allowing for greater flexibility. It also gives vehicles and pedestrians a level platform. Grasscrete is significant in a number of ways. It is due to:

1. Structural stability of Grasscrete
The firm concrete structural edge of grasscrete pavement allows the surrounding ground levels to merge organically into the surface without breaking. The self-draining structure of Grasscrete allows rainwater to naturally flow to the ground. It also prevents differential ground settlement due to the self-absorption of water from its surface to the ground base.

2. Differential Settlement Resistant and Self-Draining
The self-draining ability of Grasscrete aids in the preservation of the landscape’s natural beauty, giving the whole thing a great aesthetic view. Grasscrete has a penetration rate of roughly 90% of that of natural ground. It also aids in the reduction of underlying clay shrinkage.

3. It ensures secure emergency access
Safe emergency access and escape should ideally be included in the design of any structure. The load-bearing capability of soil in naturally grassed areas can never be estimated. A fire access path must be able to support not only the weight of moving appliances, but also the weight of static equipment. As a result, it is the most environmentally friendly solution to emergency access issues.

Types of Grasscrete:
Different types of grasscrere for different purposes are:

a) Partially concealed grasscrete
The grass or vegetation is positioned parallel to the concrete in the partially covered concrete. Along with the plants, five and a half inches of concrete are provided, as well as half an inch of root protection.

Grasscrete with partial concealment is appropriate for high-traffic areas. It is also useful, environmentally friendly, and aesthetically beautiful due to the presence of vegetation.

b) Concealed grasscrete
There is a 1-inch layer of soil above the concrete in hidden Grasscrete. The concrete beneath this layer of earth is hidden and is five and a half inches deep. This form of Grasscrete is appropriate for low-traffic areas. Concealed Grasscrete is also a great solution for your home’s and garden’s pavement.

c) Stone filled grasscrete
Crushed stone replaces the soil in this type of Grasscrete. Crushed stone thickness can only be 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch thick. Grasscrete with stone fill can drain at up to 450 inches per hour while retaining 100% of the water.

Advantages of Grasscrete:
Following are the advantages of grasscrete:

1. High load-bearing capacity:
The main advantage of Grasscrete in terms of structure is its great load-bearing capability when used with a saturated sub-base. It can support a vehicle load of up to 114000 pounds (51858 kg).

2. It can resist differential settlement:
A monolithic concrete slab evenly distributes the load across a larger surface area, preventing differential settlement, which is common in modular Grasscrete systems.

Grasscrete pavements’ structural strength is independent of vegetation, and they can be sold once the concrete has reached the desired compressive and flexural strengths.

3. Slope Protection and Freeze-Thaw Resistance:
The Grasscrete’s unique pocket design allows it to frost heave in response to hydrostatic pressure. This advantage of the Grasscrete pavement aids in difficult slope protection projects.

4. Sub-base with a shallower depth is enough.
Grasscrete can be put with a lower sub-base thickness than other forms of pervious pavements due to the thickness of the section and its continuous reinforcement.

5. It has a longer life cycle:
When compared to other forms of impermeable pavement systems, it has a longer life cycle.

6. It reduces the cost of infrastructure:
The ability of Grasscrete to allow natural water infiltration is one of its most useful features. In some circumstances, the need for costly stormwater infrastructures like curbs, gutters, and underground piping can be reduced or even eliminated.

7. Maintenance cost is low:
Pavements made of stone-filled Grasscrete are the most low-maintenance choice. It is also the most extensively used Grasscrete. Clogging of voids in places with a slope of less than 1% is uncommon; these voids are easily cleared out.

8. It increases the uses of recycled materials:
From the production of the concrete mix to fill the voids and sub-base layers, Grasscrete encourages the use of recycled materials. Grasscrete keeps its commitment to the environment by employing recycled materials to their full potential.

Grasscrete gives an architect, engineer, or town planner a new notion or concept for working with a surface or paving material that combines the load-bearing capabilities of reinforced concrete with the aesthetic appeal of grass.

Because of Grasscrete’s adaptability, new uses are continually being developed. Grasscrete is a socially acceptable and modern innovation. It offers all of the practical answers where concrete, asphalt, or other materials may be employed while also relaxing the urban scene.


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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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