Xbloc armor units

Development and application of concrete blocks as armor units

Xbloc is an innovative single-layer concrete armor unit. Concrete armor units are used for the outer layer of breakwaters or shore protections, which is also called “armor layer”. This layer fulfils two distinct functions: Firstly, the layer absorbs wave energy and reduces wave overtopping, reflection and run-up. Secondly, it protects the finer materials in the inner layer from washing out. Conventional armor layers consist of rocks placed in two layers which are stable by their weight alone. However, under severe environmental circumstances, such as a breakwater located in deep water on an exposed ocean shore, the required rock size would get so big that it is virtually impossible to realize. For this reason, the Xbloc has been developed to respond to these more demanding conditions. This article outlines both the manufacturing process and several applications of this element.

During the previous centuries, breakwaters were constructed in more and more exposed locations. For locations where the use of rock armor (breakwater stones) was not possible, non-reinforced concrete armor units were developed and used as an outer layer element. The first concrete armor units were applied in a double layer just like the conventional rock armor layers, and stability was also mainly derived from the weight of the blocks. An example of such an armor unit is the concrete cube which was applied around the 1950s. Later on, other concrete armor-layer units were developed to obtain...

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