By Brian Hartman, Lead Compliance Manager - Minnesota // 2021-01-21
Articulated concrete blocks, also known as ACB’s, are a type of energy dissipation used to prevent erosion on the soil. ACB’s are an alternative to rip rap and concrete used for energy dissipation. Generally, ACB’s are installed in areas with high amounts of water flow, such as drainage channels, riverfronts, retention basins, and lake shorelines. The articulated concrete block system is comprised of a flexible mat made up of individual concrete blocks placed together to form an erosion-resistant overlay. The concrete blocks are connected by cables that pass through each duct in the blocks. The ducts in the blocks can be filled with soil to allow vegetation to grow as well. The ACB system includes a filter layer underlay that allows infiltration and exfiltration to occur.
There are many benefits to an ACB system, however, one of the most important benefits is that it is flexible. For example, if the ground underneath an ACB system were to shift, the flexible mat would be able to shift with it since the blocks are connected by cables. On the contrary, concrete would crack if the ground shifted. Other benefits of the ACB system include sustainability, allowance of vegetative growth, aesthetic, and it is environmentally friendly. Articulated concrete blocks are a great way to prevent erosion in areas with high amounts of water flow.