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Revetment Structure
Revetment Structure
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Revetment drawing illustrates components.
Revetment drawing illustrates components.
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Revetments are a cover or facing of erosion resistant material placed directly on an existing slope, embankment or dike to protect the area from waves and strong currents. They are usually built to preserve the existing uses of the shoreline and to protect the slope. Like seawalls, revetments armor and protect the land behind them. They may be either watertight, covering the slope completely, or porous, to allow water to filter through after the wave energy has been dissipated.

Most revetments do not significantly interfere with transport of littoral drift. They do not redirect wave energy to vulnerable unprotected areas, although beaches in front of steep revetments are prone to erosion. Materials eroded from the slope before construction of a revetment may have nourished a neighboring area, however. Accelerated erosion there after the revetment is built can be controlled with a beach-building or beach-protecting structure such as a groin or a breakwater.

Revetments are commonly constructed using armorstone (high wave energy environments), or rip-rap stone (lower wave energy environments), in combination with smaller stone and geotextile fabrics to act as a filter and underlayer. The filter and underlayer support the armor, yet allow for passage of water through the structure. Toe protection prevents undercutting and provides support for all the above layer materials. A typical design section is shown in the figure to the right.

Other construction materials have also been used to form the armor layer including gabions, poured concrete (usually in stepped fashion), pre-cast concrete blocks, and grout filled bags.

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Structural Methods for Coastal Shore Protection Seawalls - Seawalls are usually massive, vertical structures used to protect backshore areas from heavy wave action, and in lower wave energy environments, to separate land from water.
Bulkheads - These are vertical retaining walls to hold or prevent the soil from sliding seaward.
Revetments  - Revetments are a cover or facing of erosion resistant material placed directly on an existing slope, embankment or dike to protect the area from waves and strong currents.
Dikes and Levees - Dikes are typically earth structures (dams) that keep elevated water levels from flooding interior lowlands.
Breakwaters - Breakwaters are generally shore-parallel structures that reduce the amount of wave energy reaching the protected area.
Groins - Groins are the oldest and most common shore-connected, beach stabilization structure.
Sills / Perched Beaches - Construction of a low retaining sill to trap sand results in what is known as a "perched beach," one that is elevated above its original level.
Jetties and Piers - Jetties are shore-normal stone structures commonly used for training navigation channels and stabilizing inlets. Pier structures are sometimes referred to as jetties.

Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory - Engineer Research and Development Center
Waterways Experiment Station - Vicksburg, Mississippi
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