I reside in South Africa on the east coast of Kwa Zulu-natal. We experienced abnormally large seas and waves (up to 8 metres) during March 2007, resulting in huge damage to beaches, shorelines and both government and private property.
Many houses were completely destroyed and many more suffered flooding and structural damage. Basically everything and anything on low-lying ground along the coast took the brunt, up till today repairs are still underway with some not yet even started.
We, like many other countries, are looking for solutions. It seems however that there are many opinions about hard and soft options and the pros and cons of each, and then there is the question of what’s more important property, aesthetics, environmental impact etc etc, Authorities and environmentalists insisting on specific systems that cost an arm and a leg and home owners wanting something that will prevent further damage and losses in the future at a reasonable cost, with minimal maintenance.
It is/was interesting to note that the rocks, and especially the roundish boulders were all that was unaffected in all the destruction. After from dropping from the earth in which they were embedded, during the erosion of the waves, they lay where they fell. The shape and mass were obviously the characteristics to result in this.
As a result of this event I developed, patented and registered the design of a erosion control / barrier system to protect the shoreline which would ultimately prevent or at least minimize land loss and the related property damage.
I have attached a photo of my Sphere barrier system.
In a nutshell, the spheres are laid stacked against either an existing embankment or against a constructed embankment in a beadlike fashion over a suitable geo-fabric (to prevent sand loss), much like they stacked in the attached photo, then they are tied together loosely in a triangular arrangement, 3 at a time, creating a monolithic beadwork like barrier of concrete spheres all connected and of considerable mass.
The mass of the structure and the linking together make the system very safe, allowing movement and settlement without becoming unstable. Any forces that may occur are distributed throughout the entire system.
When installed on a sandy beach, the entire system should be constructed from the high water mark upwards and once tied together completely covered with beach sand. This allows for a natural looking dune on which vegetation can be planted and thrive.
As the sea and waves are not in contact with the structure during normal conditions the negative effects associated with sea walls or "hard options" will not occur, thereby offering a natural looking, aesthetically pleasing dune landscape with a concealed impenetrable barrier to offer protection during high or abnormal sea conditions.
At shorelines where beach or sand loss is not an issue the system could be installed at lower level and even in the wave zone much like a revetment.
One of the major advantages of the system are that although heavy the spheres are manageable and can be rolled to site, eliminating the need for heavy equipment and or vehicles on the beaches. They are secured together only when in position with a shipping type rope, which is abrasion and rot resistant.
Other possible uses include construction of breakwaters, underwater reefs, groynes.
It is obviously not practical to manufacture and transport these concrete spheres across the world so I will be looking to set up a manufacturing plants in various areas or assigning manufacturing rights to interested parties.
I would appreciate your opinions and comments.
My direct email address is - firstname.lastname@example.org