Metalith H2O Testing

Download Now

PDFThe US Army Corp of Engineers Evaluation of Metalith H2O™ Flood Fighting Barrier (PDF)

The Metalith H2O flood control barriers were tested at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi to determine their ability to withstand a wide variety of flood-related issues.

In late April and early May of 2007, Infrastructure Defense Technologies (IDT) contracted through the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) to have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi conduct extensive, multi-week, testing on our Metalith H2O flood control barriers. They performed all the evaluation and testing of the product materials used to assemble the Metalith H2O. They also performed all water-related testing over a two-week period.

Infrastructure Defense Technologies personnel assembled the Metalith H2O flood fighting barriers in the wave tank at the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Waterways Experiment Station (WES) in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

The results were very positive.

Observed strengths included:

  • Very rapid assembly time with small crew and no special equipment except for sand fill
  • Small footprint at 4 feet wide
  • Lightweight, very portable
  • Easily set to different configurations (90º bend, 63º bend, and different lengths)
  • Mated well to vertical walls
  • Panels easily withstood impact test with just small dents

Testing protocol requirement highlights

The USACE had a very specific protocol for testing flood fighting barriers. The most critical points of the testing protocol included:

  • 65 feet of Metalith H2O flood barriers must be constructed within ERDC's temporary flood fighting / flood proofing testing area. This configuration must make turns of both 90° and 63°.
  • The barrier must be between 2.2 and 3.75 feet in height.
  • The Metalith H2O barriers must fit within the designated "construction base area".
  • Barriers will be subjected to hydrostatic loads from incrementally increasing floodwater head, or depth.
  • Barriers will be subjected to hydrostatic loads by applying waves of incrementally increasing height.
  • Flood barriers will be subjected to steady-state overtopping at 100% of the barrier height plus 1 inch or less, as governed by the maximum pumping capability available to re-circulate the overtopping water into the test basin and maximum water depth of the pool.
  • Flood barriers will be subjected to a prototypical impact log test.
  • Flood barriers will be subjected to a prototypical riverine type velocity test.
  • Measurements of seepage and movement of flood barrier products will be made during all phases of the testing.
  • Observations of movement of flood barriers, barrier fatigue, or structural deterioration will be made during all phases of the testing.
  • The test facility will be dewatered over weekends (Friday night to Monday morning).
  • The test facility will not be dewatered over at the end of each day's testing (Monday night through Thursday night).
  • The use of special installation material that would not be used in actual field installation of the floodwater / flood fighting barriers is prohibited.


The USACE recorded via videotape and documented information concerning construction. These included:

  • Manpower requirements,
  • Foundation requirements,
  • Material and equipment required,
  • Ease of construction,
  • Construction duration,
  • Special construction considerations,
  • Application limitations, and
  • Damage during construction.

The USACE reported that the flood fighting barrier was erected in 1.73 man hours and took 2.80 man-hours to prepare before fill could be added.  This is by far the fastest any USACE tested flood fighting barrier has been erected ready for testing.

Other products currently available take a minimum of 2 to 3 times longer to assemble! The use of traditional sandbags takes nearly 20 times longer.


Hydrostatic testing

As noted in the official USACE report, a 65-foot-long, 3-foot-high by 4-foot deep section of Metalith H2O flood control barriers were subjected to the pressures induced by slowing rising water in the test facility on the "wet" or simulated river side of the barrier. Water was added to achieve three testing levels. They were:

  1. 1.0 foot of water,
  2. 2.0 feet of water, and
  3. 95% of the wall height or in our case, 2.85 feet.

For each test the USACE was looking for movement of the barrier

At each increment of the hydrostatic test, the water level was held at a constant stage for a minimum of 22 hours.  Continuous measurements were made of seepages through the interface and the body of IFFS. Any observable movement of the Metalith H2O flood protection barriers were documented and recorded on video. The barriers were measured for any lateral deflection at up to eight different locations in order to determine whether they remained sound as the static loading increased. Measurements, in terms of average volumetric quantity per unit of time, were used to calculate amounts of water flowing under or through the barrier.


Wave induced hydrodynamic testing

The USACE personnel conducted wave tests at two different still water depths, 2.0 feet and 2.4 feet. The USACE generated waves two inches tall, continuously, for 7 hours. The next day, the USACE personnel generated waves 7 to 8 inches tall, allowing the waves to impact the Metalith H2O flood barriers for 30 minutes in 3 10-minute increments. They next generated 10-12 inch tall waves that impacted the Metalith H2O barriers for a 10-minute span.

USACE personnel measured seepage rates and displacement. The Metalith H2O flood control barriers displayed some of the best seepage rates recorded for any flood fighting barrier product tested, especially for products not built for the test itself, but rather commercial product.


Static overtopping testing

The USACE testing personnel slowly raised the water level on the "wet" river side of the Metalith H2O barriers to the height of the barriers plus 1 inch. The test was conducted for 1 hour. USACE test personnel indicated that if a barrier fails at any time the test is terminated.

Test personnel videotaped the barrier to determine if any movement occurred.

The Metalith H2O barriers lost minimal sand and no problems were noted in the initial reporting.


Debris impact testing

The testing personnel filled the facility to 2/3s the height of the wall, or 2 feet. During the debris impact test, test personnel direct a 12-inch and a 17-inch diameter log into the flood fighting barrier at 5 miles per hour.  Each log was pulled by an electric winch to impact the barrier at a 75° angle. Each log was 12-feet long.

The purpose of this test was to evaluate the structural response of the Metalith H2O flood protection barriers against a simulated debris load. USACE test personnel measured the movement and noted any damage made to the barrier.

The Metalith H2O flood fighting barriers moved approximately 1/4 inch during the log impact test.  The test “pass/fail” criteria for the log impact test is 6 inches so the Metalith H2O flood control barriers passed this test with flying colors.


Metalith Flood Fighting Barrier Test Video

Welcome to our Infrastructure Defense Technologies’ video page offering a streaming video file in a number of formats showing our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood fighting barrier testing plus other footage.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flood Fighting Barrier Test Video

Our flood fighting barrier testing was performed at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi in May of 2007. 

The video shows a quick look at the following tests:

  • Hydrostatic Testing 
  • Wave induced hydrodynamic testing
  • Static overtopping testing
  • Debris impact testing


The Metalith H2O flood fighting barriers performed to our highest expectations, resisting over 72,000 wave cycles, debris impacts with extremely minimal deformation (only very minor metal bending during the log impact test) and low barrier underseepage.

Any issues that were noted during the construction process that were videotaped were to be mentioned in the final testing report. THEY WERE NO ISSUES NOTED.

For more information about Infrastructure Defense Technologies' flood barriers and erosion control barriers and applications, please call us at 1-800-379-1822, email us at, or fill out our contact form.