Title:
Debris flow retaining apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A debris flow retaining apparatus located in a debris flow active area to provide buffering retention. It includes a retaining unit anchored on a ground surface movable up and down relative to the ground surface and a buffer unit which has an air mattress located between the ground surface and the retaining unit and an air compressor to inflate the air mattress. When a debris flow occurs, the air compressor inflates the air mattress to raise the retaining unit and absorb the impact stress resulting from the impact of the debris flow to prevent the retaining unit from immediate crumpling and reduce damages caused by the debris flow.



Inventors:
Hwang, Jyh-yeong (Taipei City, TW)
Application Number:
10/941932
Publication Date:
03/16/2006
Filing Date:
09/16/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
405/272
International Classes:
E21D5/00; E02D5/00
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Primary Examiner:
MAYO-PINNOCK, TARA LEIGH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Joe McKinney Muncy (Fairfax, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A debris flow retaining apparatus located in a debris flow active area to buffer impact of a debris flow, comprising: a retaining unit located on a ground surface movable up and down relative to the ground surface, the retaining unit including an anchor board anchored on the ground surface through an anchor member and an elevating board pivotally coupled on the anchor board through a shaft, the elevating board and the ground surface being bridged by a stopper; and a buffer unit including an air mattress located between the ground surface and the retaining unit, and an air compressor for inflating the air mattress to raise the retaining unit in the event that a debris flow occurs so that the air mattress absorbs and buffers impact stress when the retaining unit is subject to the impact of the debris flow, the air compressor being connected to a control unit which links to a detection unit located in the debris flow active area to detect activities of the debris flow and output a signal to the control unit to activate the air compressor to inflate the air mattress.

2. 2-3. (canceled)

4. The debris flow retaining apparatus of claim 1, wherein the air compressor is an air pump.

5. (canceled)

6. The debris flow retaining apparatus of claim 1, wherein the detection unit includes a plurality of detection spots that are spaced from one another at a selected distance.

7. The debris flow retaining apparatus of claim 1, wherein the control unit further connects to a remote monitor unit.

8. The debris flow retaining apparatus of claim 1, wherein the control unit further connects to an alarm unit.

9. The debris flow retaining apparatus of claim 8, wherein the alarm unit is a light indicator.

10. The debris flow retaining apparatus of claim 8, wherein the alarm unit is a buzzer.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a debris flow retaining apparatus and particularly to an apparatus that has a retaining unit cushioned by a buffering air mattress to absorb and allay the stress caused by the strong impact of debris flow to prevent immediate crumpling of the retaining unit to reduce damages.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Debris flow (also called mud slide) is a moving slurry with debris mixing up with a great amount of water in which more than half of the contents are solid substances. The solid substances contain gravel greater than sands, and stones and rock debris. It usually is caused by landslide. When there is also a heavy rainfall, the water mixes up with the rock debris and soils to become slurry, and slide or flow along the ground surface of slope lands. It could cause great damages. It is a natural disaster happened mostly in mountainous areas, especially the slope lands that are geographically unstable and where the rocks are broken down to gravel of varying sizes under weathering. This debris is accumulated on the lower side of the slope lands or valleys with sands, soils, and stones caused by landslides or mountain crumpling. Once a torrential rain occurs, and the water cannot be channeled and discharged efficiently, the debris and water are mixed up and slide down of the slope lands under gravity force and form a debris flow that could incur devastating damages or disasters.

To effectively and thoroughly prevent the debris flow, a wide range of measures have to be taken, including proper mending the sites that have crumpling possibility, planting trees, protecting the slope lands, dredging the rivers, proper planning of lands and slope land developments with comprehensive environmental impact assessments, preventing unplanned cultivation, deforestation, and burial, preventing improper alteration of land utilization, proper planning and mending of the lands that have geographical changes caused by earth quake, constant monitoring environmental and ecological impacts, etc. However, all these measures require a lot of time to plan and implement. For the existing barren lands, the immediate remedy action is to implement retaining measures to reduce the possible damage caused by the debris flow. Conventional retaining measures mostly include erecting a hardware structure such as retaining walls on the downstream area of the debris flow to deter and accumulate the debris so that it does not cause immediate damage to people and properties. But practical experiences indicate that the retaining wall is not effective. As the debris flow slides downwards under the gravity force, and often contains rocks and stones weighted in tons, the impact is huge. The retaining wall is prone to crumple under the strong impact stress and becomes ineffective.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In order to solve the aforesaid disadvantages, the primary object of the present invention is to provide a retaining unit that has a hard structure to stop the debris flow and a buffer unit behind the retaining unit that has a flexible buffering capability. The buffer unit includes an air mattress located between the ground surface and the retaining unit and an air compressor to inflate the air mattress. When debris flow occurs, the air compressor inflates the air mattress to raise the retaining unit. The air mattress provides a flexible buffering power to absorb the impact stress generated by the impact of the debris flow so that immediate crumpling of the retaining wall happened to the conventional techniques may be prevented to reduce the damage.

Another object of the invention is to couple the invention with a control unit that is linked to a detection unit and an alarm unit to measure the flow speed of the debris flow so that the inflation speed of the air mattress driven by the air compressor may be determined and an alarm may be announced at the same time to enable the people living in the downstream area to do emergency evacuation to further alleviate the damage.

The foregoing, as well as additional objects, features and advantages of the invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of the configuration of the entire retaining apparatus of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the debris flow reaching a first detection spot.

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of the debris flow reaching a second detection spot with the air mattress starting to inflate.

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of the air mattress fully inflated to erect the retaining unit.

FIG. 5 is a schematic view of the retaining unit bearing the impact of the debris flow.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Please referring to FIG. 1, the retaining apparatus according to the present invention aims to be installed in an active area of a debris flow 70 to provide buffering effect. The retaining apparatus includes a retaining unit 10 mounted onto a ground surface 80 that is movable upwards and downwards relative to the ground surface 80 and a buffer unit 20 which includes an air mattress 21 located between the ground surface 80 and the retaining unit 10, and an air compressor 22 to inflate the air mattress 21.

The retaining unit 10 includes an anchor board 11 fastened to the ground surface 80 through a fastening member 15 and an elevating board 12 pivotally coupled with the anchor board 11 through a shaft 13. There is a stopper 14 which may be a rope to bridge the elevating board 12 and the ground surface 80 to prevent the elevating board 12 from turning excessively and overturning. The anchor member 15 is formed like an earth spike. The air compressor 22 of the buffer unit 20 is an air pump linking to a control unit 30 which further is connected to a detection unit 40 located in the active area of the debris flow 70 to detect the activity of the debris flow 70 and output a signal to the control unit 30 to activate the air compressor 22 to inflate the air mattress 21. The control unit 30 also is connected to a remote monitor unit 60 and an alarm unit 50.

Refer to FIGS. 2 and 3 for the debris flow 70 reaching a first detection spot 41 and a second detection spot 42. The detection spots 41 and 42 of the detection unit 40 are spaced from each other at a selected distance. They may be an infrared breakers, steel cable detectors, pressure plates or the like. In the invention, the preferable choices are the pressure plates that are sensitive to the holding gravity. The detection spots 41 and 42 aim to accurately detect the real alarm and false alarm caused by incidental triggering of people or animals. When the debris flow 70 passes over the first detection spot 41, the control unit 30 receives a first detection signal and generates an alert signal to the remote monitor unit 60 to do surveillance but not yet activate the air compressor 22. When the debris flow 70 passes over the second detection spot 42, a second detection signal is sent to the control unit 30, and the control unit 30 calculates the sliding speed of the debris flow 70 based on the time difference of the first and second detection signals to output an inflation signal to the air compressor 22 to inflate the air mattress 21 at a corresponding speed. When the air mattress 21 is fully inflated, it raises the elevating board 12 of retaining unit 10 to turn about the shaft 13. Meanwhile, the control unit 30 outputs an alert signal to the alarm unit 50 which generates an alarm signal by a light indicator or buzzer to alert the people living in the downstream area to evacuate immediately.

Refer to FIGS. 4 and 5 for the fully inflated air mattress 21 to erect the retaining unit 10 to absorb the impact of the debris flow 70. When the debris flow 70 reaches the retaining unit 10, the air mattress 21 is fully inflated and erects the elevating board 12 of the retaining unit 10 almost upright. While the debris flow 70 hits the elevating board 12, the air mattress 21 behind the elevating board 12 provides a buffering flexibility to absorb the impact stress resulting from the debris flow 70 so that the elevating board 12 may be prevented from instant crumpling. Thereby people living in the downstream area have more time to evacuate and take other necessary actions desired.

It is to be noted that, in FIG. 1 when the invention is not yet activated, the air mattress 21 is deflected and located flatly on the ground surface 80 with the elevating board 12. Thus it may be deployed more flexibly in terms of space utilization compared with the conventional retaining wall. In the event that the prevention measures for the debris flow 70 are fully implemented, and the retaining apparatus is no longer needed, the invention may be removed quickly to improve economic effectiveness.

While the preferred embodiments of the invention have been set forth for the purpose of disclosure, modifications of the disclosed embodiments of the invention as well as other embodiments thereof may occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to cover all embodiments which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention.