Title:
Expansion Device For Containing Overflows
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An expansion device for containing overflows of watercourses, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena, suitable for cooperating with further identical expansion devices for making barriers for containing overflows of watercourses, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena, comprises an enclosure suitable for allowing the water permeability through said enclosure and an expanding and absorbing material inside said enclosure and suitable for increasing in volume following the absorption of water.



Inventors:
Tagini, Giancarlo (Desenzano del Garda (Brescia), IT)
Application Number:
11/875384
Publication Date:
04/23/2009
Filing Date:
10/19/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02B7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LAGMAN, FREDERICK LYNDON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KILYK & BOWERSOX, P.L.L.C. (400 HOLIDAY COURT SUITE 102, WARRENTON, VA, 20186, US)
Claims:
1. An expansion device for containing overflows of watercourses, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena, suitable for cooperating with further identical expansion devices for making a barrier for containing overflows of watercourses, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena, wherein the device comprises a material suitable for absorbing the water and expanding when placed in contact with water, for enabling the passage of said device from an initial configuration, wherein the volume of said device is minimal, to a swollen configuration, wherein the volume of said device is maximum; an enclosure suitable for containing said material therein, said enclosure being suitable for allowing the passage of water inside said enclosure and for preventing the passage of said material out of said enclosure.

2. A device according to claim 1, wherein said material is suitable for reacting with water by a chemical and/or physical and/or chemical-physical and/or biochemical reaction, such as a gelling reaction, suitable for allowing the absorption of water and the volumetric expansion of said material.

3. A device according to claim 1, wherein said expanding material reacted with water, is suitable for favouring the adhesion between said device and said identical devices forming said containment barrier.

4. A device according to claim 3, wherein said material in contact with water changes at least partly into a colloidal state which is released by said material out of said enclosure, the colloidal state being provided with semi-adhesive properties.

5. A device according to claim 3, wherein said material comprises a semi-adhesive element suitable for favouring the adhesion between said device and said identical devices forming said containment barrier.

6. A device according to claim 3, wherein said enclosure is suitable for allowing the passage of said colloidal state substantially out of said enclosure so that said colloidal state spreads at least on the outer surface of said enclosure for favouring the adhesion between said device and said further devices for forming said containment barrier.

7. A device according to claim 3, wherein said enclosure comprises apertures in the walls thereof suitable for allowing the passage of water inside said enclosure and suitable for allowing the passage out of said enclosure of said colloidal state while preventing the passage of said material out of said enclosure.

8. A device according to claim 1, wherein said material comprises an element suitable for carrying out an adsorption of foreign matters present in solution in the water for imparting a higher specific weight to said device.

9. A device according to claim 8, wherein said element has a specific weight higher than that of water.

10. A device according to claim 8, wherein said element comprises a mixture of mineral compounds of volcanic origin with an open lattice crystal structure comprising tetrahedrons of alumina AlO4 and silica SiO4, such as zeolites.

11. A device according to claim 1, wherein said enclosure is made of a material such as a fabric, like natural cotton.

12. A device according to claim 1, wherein said enclosure is made of a waterproof material.

13. A device according to claim 1, wherein said enclosure is made of a selectively permeable material.

14. A device according to claim 1, wherein said enclosure is made of a biodegradable material.

15. A device according to claim 1, wherein said enclosure is suitable for obtaining a shape coupling between said device and corresponding associated devices for forming said containment barrier.

16. A device according to claim 1, wherein said enclosure is suitable for allowing the passage of water inside said enclosure and for allowing the passage of water out of said enclosure.

17. A kit for making a device according to claim 1, comprising: a material suitable for absorbing the water and expanding when placed in contact with water, for enabling the passage of said device from an initial configuration, wherein the volume of said device is minimal, to a swollen configuration, wherein the volume of said device is maximum; an enclosure suitable for containing said material therein, said enclosure being suitable for allowing the passage of water inside said enclosure and for preventing the passage of said material out of said enclosure.

18. A method for packaging a device according to claim 1, comprising the steps of: stacking the element on a bottom of the enclosure, so as to create a thickening of the enclosure at said bottom, rolling up the enclosure relative to said thickening of the bottom of the enclosure up to making the device take up a substantially cylindrical configuration.

19. A method according to claim 18, comprising the step of placing at least one device rolled up in advance into a container for storing said device.

20. A method for arranging a containment barrier for containing water overflows, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena, comprising the steps of: providing for a device comprising: a material suitable for absorbing the water and expanding when placed in contact with water, for enabling the passage of said device from an initial configuration, wherein the volume of said device is minimal, to a swollen configuration, wherein the volume of said device is maximum; an enclosure suitable for containing said material therein, said enclosure being suitable for allowing the passage of water inside said enclosure and for preventing the passage of said material out of said enclosure; carrying out a preliminary wetting of said device for allowing said device to reach an intermediate configuration wherein said device has such a weight as to overcome the pulling of the watercourse, by a fraction of water absorbable by said material; arranging a containment barrier by at least said device suitable for containing said water overflows, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena.

21. A material suitable for absorbing the water and expanding when placed in contact with water, said material when reacted with water, comprising a colloidal state suitable for favouring the adhesion between two adjacent bodies.

22. A material according to claim 21, comprising an element suitable for carrying out an adsorption of foreign matters present in solution in the water.

23. A material according to claim 22, wherein said element has a specific weight higher than that of water.

24. A material according to claim 22, wherein said element comprises a mixture of mineral compounds of volcanic origin with an open lattice crystal structure comprising tetrahedrons of alumina AlO4 and silica SiO4, such as zeolites.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The object of the present invention is an expansion device for containing overflows of watercourses, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena, suitable for cooperating with further identical expansion devices for forming barriers for the containment of overflows of watercourses, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena; moreover, the present invention generally relates to the arrangement of expansion devices for the control and containment of watercourses and/or flows, as in the case of overflows of watercourses, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

When floods or overflows of watercourses occur, barriers, walls, banks and similar containment system is made up of bags filled with sand.

Bags and sand are separately carried to the site of use, then the bags are filled with sand and arranged in the desired position or optionally, bags already filled with sand are carried to the site of use and are arranged in the desired position to make up said containment system.

The procedures described provide for the transport of bags and sands, or of bags already filled, by lorry and both require difficult operations for the preliminary arrangement of the bags themselves, or their filling, or in any case the transport of the bags themselves once filled with sand.

The procedure provides for the transport to the overflow site of the bags filled with sand or their filling at the site of the operations and then, their manual arrangement along the watercourse, or in any case to contain the water flow for forming a barrier or a wall with the sand bags themselves. This is a very expensive and difficult procedure from the point of view of manual operations to carry out, since the sand bags are very heavy and cumbersome, both in the transport to the emergency site, and in their use during the making of the containment barriers and finally, in their disposal, since wet sand is heavier than dry sand.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of the present invention is to provide an expansion device for containing overflows and like phenomena, suitable for cooperating with further identical expansion devices for forming barriers for containing overflows, which should be easy to carry, handy and storable and should allow making an effective barrier for containing overflows and like phenomena.

Such object is achieved by a device according to the following claim 1. The dependent claims describe embodiment variations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features and advantages of the device according to the present invention will appear more clearly from the following description, made by way of an indicative and non-limiting example with reference to the annexed figures, wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective partial section view of a device according to the present invention, in an initial configuration;

FIG. 2 shows a schematic view of the qualitative operation of the device of FIG. 1, when immersed in water;

FIG. 3 shows a perspective partial section view of a barrier made according to a plurality of devices according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 shows an enlarged view of the device of FIG. 1, in a swelled configuration;

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of the device of FIG. 1, in a packaging step;

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the device of FIG. 1, in a further packaging step.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the annexed figures, reference numeral 1 globally indicates an expansion device for containing overflows, suitable for cooperating with further identical expansion devices for making barriers for containing overflows and/or floods and like phenomena.

The expansion device 1 for containing overflows of watercourses, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena is suitable for cooperating with further identical expansion devices for making a barrier 10 for containing overflows of watercourses, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena, and said device 1 comprises:

a material 3 suitable for absorbing the water and expanding when placed in contact with water, for enabling the passage of said device 1 from an initial configuration, wherein the volume of said device 1 is minimal, to a swollen configuration, wherein the volume of said device 1 is maximum;

an enclosure 2 suitable for containing said material 3 therein, said enclosure 2 being suitable for allowing the passage of water inside said enclosure 2 and for substantially preventing the passage of said material 3 out of said enclosure 2.

Barrier 10 or a containment wall for the water coming from overflows and/or floods or like phenomena, is obtained by piling up, or stacking, a plurality of devices 1 substantially identical to one another and is shown in FIG. 3, for example between the edges of a breakage of a bank or a wall, a bulkhead, a dyke, or arranged transversal to a watercourse. Barrier 10 comprises a plurality of devices 1 for water containment.

Device 1 comprises enclosure 2 suitable for allowing the water permeability through the enclosure itself.

Enclosure 2 is shaped as a bag, for example rectangular, suitable moreover for acting as a container for the expanding material 3, as illustrated in the description below.

Enclosure 2 is made of a material such as a fabric; in accordance with the present invention, the density of weft and warp of the fabric is suitable for allowing the passage of water inside the bag itself, through special apertures 4 (FIG. 2). For example, apertures 4 are defined by the weft itself of the fabric. Enclosure 2 is preferably made of natural biodegradable cotton, of suitable thickness calibrated for the purpose, and suitable for allowing the inlet of water therein, through apertures 4 defined by the weft of the fabric itself.

Alternatively, apertures 4 are obtained mechanically, if enclosure 2 is made of a waterproof material, such as a polymeric material or a synthetic or plastic material; in other words, enclosure 2 is made of a waterproof material which is after made permeable.

Alternatively, enclosure 2 is made of a selectively permeable material, that is, which allows the passage of water only inside enclosure 2 and not from the inside f enclosure 2 cut of the same.

According to the present invention, enclosure 2 is made of a biodegradable material.

Favourably, enclosure 2 is made by two rectangular sheets having the same dimensions, coupled, for example by sewing, for forming a shape substantially similar to that of a “pillowcase” (FIG. 1).

Device 1 further comprises material 3, suitable for absorbing water and at the same time, expanding in volume, thanks to the absorption of water itself, that is, thanks to the hygro-absorption and to the concurrent expansion.

Material 3 is an expanding agent which, in contact with water, is suitable for developing a chemical and/or physical and/or chemical-physical and/or biochemical reaction that makes the volume thereof increase, substantially thanks to the incorporation of the water itself and to the changes undergone during said chemical and/or physical and/or chemical-physical and/or biochemical reaction. Material 3 is suitably arranged into enclosure 2, that is, material 3 is inserted into enclosure 2, which is then closed, for example by sewing, gluing, crimping and the like, so that the increase of volume, that is, the expansion of material 3 following the contact with water penetrated into enclosure 2, makes enclosure 2 itself swell, so that device 1 may be used as element for constructing barriers suitable for containing overflows and floods.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment, material 3 is a polymer suitable for reacting with water for absorbing the water itself and expanding; the polymer gels in contact with water, thus considerably increasing in volume and imparting structural and ponderal features to device 1, suitable for the use thereof for erecting barriers for containing water.

According to the present invention, the expansion of material 3 makes the swollen material 3 itself fill and fully occupy the inner volume of enclosure 2; thus, the swollen enclosure 2 imparts the shape of a pillow to device 1, swollen with gelled and expanded material 3.

The swollen device 1 takes up a non-stiff but substantially elastic or elastic-plastic behaviour thanks to which it easily adjusts to the surfaces it rests on, whether they are the bed of a watercourse or of a basin and the like or the surface of corresponding stacked up devices 1 forming a barrier for containing water.

The fabric making up enclosure 2 exhibits apertures 4 suitable for allowing the entrance of water into device 1 itself, but at the same time of suitable dimensions for holding material 3 inside enclosure 2, in particular suitable for preventing the expanded and gelled material 3 from escaping. In other words, the fabric making up enclosure 2 is such as to allow the entrance of water in a facilitated manner and at the same time prevent the gel formed inside in contact with water, or of the expanded material 3 itself, from escaping.

According to an embodiment, material 3 comprises a mixture of polymers having high expanding properties, in contact with water.

In accordance with the present invention, material 3 comprises a polymer, or a mixture of polymers, which is capable of at least partly hydrolysing in contact with water, that is, it is suitable for partly dissolving, and in any case at a limited level, in contact with water, besides expanding in volume.

According to the present invention, when material 3 reacts with water, it is suitable for favouring the adhesion, or the coupling, or the stability of the stacking of the plurality of devices 1, between said device 1 and said further devices for forming said containment barriers.

Material 3 is suitable for favouring the adherence when it reacts with water, as it comprises an element with semi-adhesive features which is released by material 3 itself when it is in contact with water.

Preferably, material 3 is suitable for structurally changing, at least partly, in contact with water, so as to form the semi-adhesive element.

In fact, material 3 preferably is a polymer with a high affinity with water, which in contact therewith, hydrolyses at least partly and thus undergoes at least partly a reaction that makes it take up semi-adhesive properties, that it, become at least partly a colloidal state 5 provided with semi-adhesive properties. In other words, by reacting with water, material 3 absorbs it in a large amount, thus expanding, and at the same time it undergoes at least partly structural changes, for example exhibiting the colloidal state 5 on the outer surface thereof; this structural change affects a smaller portion of material 3, as compared to most of the same, which gels and swells and which is prevented from escaping from enclosure 2.

In other words, at least a portion of material 3 reacted with water changes into the colloidal state 5, while a larger portion of material 3 expands and imparts weight and volume to device 1 itself.

The colloidal state 5 is in a state wherein its molecular dimensions are such, that is, sufficiently small, as to allow the passage through apertures 4 of enclosure 2, while the expanded material 3 is held inside enclosure 2.

According to an embodiment, the colloidal state 5 that forms on the expanding material 3, is pulled towards enclosure 2, or placed in contact therewith by the expansion itself of material 3.

In this way, a portion of material 3 transformed into semi-adhesive colloidal state 5 moves, or is distributed, from inside enclosure 2 outwards and collects at least on the outer surface of enclosure 2: the colloidal state 5 substantially spreads at least on the entire outer surface of enclosure 2 (see FIG. 2) and it remains anchored thereto, for example incorporating the fabric weft in the mass thereof, and moreover their dissolution is not continued. In other words, the colloidal state 5 is buried in the weft of the fabric of enclosure 2 and substantially emerging or protruding therefrom, so as to increase the friction between adjacent devices 1 in the containment barrier.

In this way, the contact between the surfaces of devices 1 forming the barrier is highly favoured, thus forming a coherent and steady barrier structure: thus, the colloidal state 5 that arranges on the outer surface of the bags prevents them from slipping on each other, realising the expected friction and imparting stability to the overflow barrier.

Colloidal state 5 with semi-adhesive properties or features, or semi-adhesive property, means a colloidal state or element, or a property of an element, suitable for increasing the friction between two bodies, so that the grip exerted between the two bodies is suitable for holding them when sided or packed and the like, while allowing a removal of a body from the corresponding adhered body for example when raised. In particular the semi-adhesive element, or the semi-adhesive property, increases the grazing friction between the two bodies, for example thanks to the viscosity of the colloidal state or to the macro-molecular interactions between the surfaces covered with colloidal state, or between two contacting surfaces, without finalising the connection, that is, the association between the two bodies, in this case between device 1 and the identical associated devices 1 for forming the containment barrier 10.

The colloidal state 5 that develops after the hydrolysis preferably has an external morphology, or a consistency, substantially mucilaginous, and therefore suitable for distributing and anchoring to the fabric of enclosure 2 and for carrying out its function substantially of adhesive between the various enclosures of the stacked devices 1.

Device 1 therefore absorbs water therein, which reacts with material 3: in this way, device 1 increases in volume and at the same time, its weight increases as well. In fact, when material 3 gels, it substantially retains all the absorbed water: it is therefore clear that device 1 considerably increases its weight and forms an effective barrier for water, cooperating with the other devices 1, also swollen with water.

In other words, in an initial configuration device 1 has a minimum volume, or overall dimensions, substantially imparted by enclosure 2 itself and by material 3 contained therein.

When device 1 is placed in contact with water, the latter penetrates through the weft of the fabric, that is, of the wall of enclosure 2 and contacts the expanding material 3.

Material 3 reacts with water and absorbs it, starting the gelling of material 3 itself, which is accompanied by the increase of volume of the gelled material 3, which in turn expands enclosure 2, acting from inside enclosure 2 itself: as a consequence, also device 1 increases in volume, up to a maximum volume, in the swollen configuration.

In accordance with the present invention, FIG. 2 shows a diagram of the qualitative operation of device 1, where letter B denotes a portion of wall of enclosure 2, letter P denotes the molecules of material 3, letter W denotes the water going into enclosure 2, letter C denotes the semi-adhesive colloidal state 5 that aids the adhesion of the stacked and adjacent devices 1.

Moreover, in FIG. 2, dashed arrows denote the path of water W going into device 1 through apertures 4 and the entrance, or the absorption, into material 3, so as to form the swelling.

Again in FIG. 2, the four-point arrows denote the expansion of the polymer molecules P, whereas the continuous arrows denote the path of the colloidal state C from the polymer molecules P through apertures 4, until they lay and spread on the outer surface of enclosure 2.

From the diagram of FIG. 2, it is therefore clear that water W penetrates into device 1 through the special apertures 4 into the fabric weft and reacts with and is absorbed by, the expanding material 3, thus causing the swelling and the expansion thereof while modifying its structure into gel. During the expansion, moreover, the semi-adhesive colloidal state C frees from the expanding molecules and migrates towards the outer surface of wall B, where it anchors and lays evenly.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, besides the mixture of polymers having strong absorbing and expanding properties, material 3 also comprises an element 6, with weaker water absorption and expansion characteristics than the other polymers comprised into material 3, and at the same time suitable for realising an adsorption of foreign matters, such as polluting agents (for example, heavy metals) present in solution in water. Element 6 has a specific weight higher than that of water and moreover, once the foreign matters present in water itself have been adsorbed, it is suitable for imparting an even higher specific weight to device 1, as compared to the case wherein material 3 only comprises the mixture of polymers with strong absorbing and expanding characteristics: in this way, since device 1 is heavier, it is suitable for forming barrier and containment structures for watercourses, floods, inundations and overflows even in the most stringent conditions of water flow.

In accordance with the present invention, element 6 comprised into material 3 comprises a mixture of zeolites, that is, mineral compounds of volcanic origin with an open lattice crystal structure comprising tetrahedrons of alumina AlO4 and silica SiO4. Favourably, the granulometry of element 6 is comprised between about 0.3 and 0.5 mm: in this way, it evenly spreads into enclosure 2 during the expansion step and, substantially alternating with the expanding material, occupies the entire inner volume of enclosure 2.

According to the present invention, enclosure 2 is suitable for preventing the passage of said element 6 out of said enclosure 2.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a method for packaging the described expansion devices.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, device 1 is packaged in a rolled configuration (FIG. 6).

In particular, enclosure 2, filled in advance with material 3 associated to element 6 in optimum proportions for taking advantage of the single properties, is placed in vertical position for favouring the hoarding of element 6 on a bottom 12 of enclosure 2, so as to create a thickening 14 along said bottom 12. Enclosure 2 is then rolled relative to bottom 12 of enclosure 2, at thickening 14, until device 1 takes up a substantially cylindrical configuration. A plurality of devices 1 rolled in advance can therefore be inserted into containers for storage, for example aligned in parallel with each other.

The rolled configuration restricts the escape of element 6 and of material 3, in non-expanded configuration, out of enclosure 2. In fact, in non-expanded configuration, element 6 and material 3, especially if made with small granulometry, can escape in little amounts through the fabric weft of enclosure 2. Thanks to the rolled configuration, such dispersion or escape is strongly restricted. Moreover, the rolled configuration allows limiting the swelling of element 6 and of material 3, when not used, due to the absorption of humidity from the external environment. Substantially, the rolling of enclosure 2 restricts the absorption of humidity by element 6 and material 3 contained therein.

Thanks to the packaging of the devices in a rolled configuration, it is possible to limit the dispersion and absorption of humidity of element 6 and material 3 without having to use, for example, bags for containing element 6 and material 3, made of a water-soluble material and inserted into enclosure 2. The packaging solution described above allows limiting the manufacturing cost of the described expansion devices and ensures proper storage thereof over time.

According to an embodiment of the invention, enclosure 2 has an outer perimeter exhibiting two long opposite and substantially parallel sides, and two short sides, of which a first short side comprising a portion of substantially convex shape and a second short side comprising a portion of substantially concave shape. In other words, a short side exhibits a “U” shape and the corresponding opposite short side exhibits a special shape complementary to said “U” shape.

In this way, once swollen, device 1 exhibits a female portion, given by the “U” shape, and a male portion, given by the shape complementary to said “U” shape, wherein for example, the female portion is suitable for geometrically coupling with a corresponding male portion of a further sided device 1: in this way, by coupling device 1 to further corresponding devices 1, a barrier with even stronger structural and stability features is obtained. The embodiment with device 1 that can be geometrically coupled to two more devices is particularly effective for constructing a containment wall with reduced thickness and without special support bases.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a method for arranging a containment barrier (10) for containing water overflows, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena, comprising the steps of:

providing for a device 1 comprising:

a material 3 suitable for absorbing the water and expanding when placed in contact with water, for enabling the passage of said device 1 from an initial configuration, wherein the volume of said device 1 is minimal, to a swollen configuration, wherein the volume of said device 1 is maximum;

an enclosure 2 suitable for containing said material 3 therein, said enclosure 2 being suitable for allowing the passage of water through said enclosure 2 and for preventing the passage of said material 3 out of said enclosure 2;

carrying out a preliminary wetting of said device 1, or of material 3 therein so that it starts to react with water as already described, for allowing said device 1 to reach an intermediate configuration wherein said device 1 has such a weight as to overcome the pulling of the watercourse, by a fraction of water absorbable by said material 3;

arranging a containment barrier 10 by at least said device 1 suitable for containing said water overflows, floods and/or inundations and like phenomena.

According to a non-limiting example of embodiment, device 1 comprises an enclosure 2 having plan dimensions of about 40-45 cm by about 50-55 cm, with a thickness of about 1 cm, for example consisting of two coupled and overlapped rectangular sheets.

The weight of enclosure 2 in initial configuration preferably is of about 160-170 grams.

Once filled with material 3 and placed in water, device 1 reaches a maximum weight of about 25 Kg in about 14 minutes, that is, it is capable of absorbing about 25 litres of water in about 14 minutes.

For example, at the emergency site, the containment devices are subject to preliminary wetting, for allowing the onset of water absorption for aiding the initial volume and weight increase and then, once provided with such inertia as to oppose water, they are arranged for example into adjacent piles for forming a containment barrier (FIG. 3): in other words, device 1 is suitable for forming a modular barrier structure wherein the same device 1 is the base module for forming the modular barrier structure itself.

Once the maximum weight has been reached, ot once material 3 is saturated with water, device 1 does not lose nor absorb any more water, maintaining its weight as long as it is in contact with water.

Once the overflow emergency has ended, device 1 loses most of the absorbed water, substantially by evaporation, and can be disposed of: in fact, the swollen device 1 also has a low impact on the environment, since it consists for example of 99.94% by weight of water and 0.06% by weight of dry residue, due to the biodegradable enclosure and to the polymer gel.

It is therefore clear that, according to the present invention, a device for containing overflows is provided which exhibits the clear advantage of being very light and easy to carry, in initial configuration and afterwards, when placed in water and swollen, or in swollen configuration, cooperating with further identical devices, it is an effective instrument for containing floods and overflows.

Advantageously, moreover, the use of device 1 is not difficult, as in the case of known sand bags, since device 1 is easy to carry and handy, both when dry and when expanded.

In fact, device 1 exhibits dimensions equal to a bag for forming the sand bags (about 40 cm by 50 cm) and has a weight of about 170 g, so that when swollen device 1 weights about 25 kg, whereas the sand bag weights about 40-50 kg.

Moreover, for example for a package of about 100 devices 1, the overall weight is of about 16-17 kg, with an overall absorption capacity of about 2500 litres water: to obtain the same volume of absorbed water, about 2.5 m3 of sand are needed, that is, about 45-50 quintals of sand (if 1 m3 sand weights about 20 quintals) So, from the volumetric point of view, the carriage of device 1 allows a considerable packing of the same and therefore a significant saving of space, while on the other hand, known sand bags are very cumbersome as they reach the emergency site already filled. If the bags were filled at the emergency site, the waste of time for preparing them and the labour required for the purpose is evident, like the fact that the filling sand must be dry to be effective and therefore it must be suitably carried to the emergency site, for example by heavy trucks. Advantageously, instead, device 1 can be carried in large numbers in a reduced volume (for example, the luggage compartment of a car can seat the packages of one hundred devices mentioned above) and moreover, it already is easily ready to use, that is, it needs not be filled by the emergency operators.

The increase of volume of device 1 is effectively associated to the concurrent increase of specific weight, due to the hygro-absorption, of device 1: in fact, device 1 with maximum volume and maximum weight is effectively suitable for forming steady and sturdy water containment barriers, that are not swept away by the watercourse.

Even more advantageously, the presence of the semi-adhesive colloidal state 5 that develops when the expanding material reacts with water, acts in synergy with the increase of weight and volume of device 1 itself, for imparting stability and balance to the containment barrier: in fact, device 1 rests with its weight on identical devices 1 in the barrier structure and at the same time, the contact surfaces of devices 1 are subject to the friction due to the presence of the semi-adhesive colloidal state 5, which prevents the stacked devices from sliding relative to each other.

By the advantageous provision of element 6 capable of adsorbing foreign matters, and therefore of increasing the weight of device 1, the effect of the specific weight associated to the surfaces with semi-adhesive friction element is even more enhanced and made effective.

Even the disposal is very advantageous, since at the end of the emergency, with time device 1 loses most of the water by evaporation and is easily recovered and delivered to the dump, where it exhibits in any case, as already said, a reduced impact on the environment, unlike the heavy sand bags. Also in case of a quick removal from the area involved, as seen, the device swollen with water is considerably lighter than a similar wet sand bag, allowing in any case an advantageous transport to the dump.

Advantageously, through material 3 which when reacts with water changes at least partly and at least on its outer surface into the semi-adhesive colloidal state 5, and thanks to the fact that, by expanding material 3 and the colloidal state 5 associated thereto press from the inside against enclosure 2, thus making the colloidal state 5 distribute on the surface of enclosure 2 as already described, containment barrier or structures are obtained that are very steady and coherent, that is, once devices 1 have been stacked, advantageously they do not slide on each other, for example due to water or other elements such as algae, mud, slime or soil.

According to a further advantageous aspect thereof, also the handiness of device 1 is effectively increased by the semi-adhesive element; in fact, after the preliminary wetting, device 1 must be handled and stacked for forming the barriers: the provision of the colloidal state 5 buried in the fabric weft and substantially protruding therefrom effectively increases an operator's capacity of gripping it for forming the barrier structure.

Advantageously, device 1 may be prepared starting from a kit comprising enclosure 2 and material 3, where enclosure 2 is for example already arranged for quick closing, once filled.

According to a further advantageous aspect of the present invention, once swollen with water, device 1 has an elastic or elastic-plastic and in any case, non-stiff structure, capable of adapting even to irregular or loose grounds (FIG. 4), by a recoverable deformation: for example, the obstacle of a concave, or convex, ground on which a steady and balanced barrier must be erected, is effectively overcome by the fact that device 1 adapts to it, once placed thereon, thus eliminating the effects of small irregularities. In fact, the weight dosage of expanding material inside enclosure 2 is calibrated so as to obtain the desired absorption of water and at the same time, the desired structural characteristics, among which are adaptability to the ground and to the other devices in the barrier.





 
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