About Tough Cell

The Path to a More Sustainable Future

Tough Cell is a unique, high performance geocell, soil stabilization technology that enables fast, year round, sustainable road construction in the most challenging of soils. Geocells were originally developed in late 1970’s by the United States Army Corps of Engineers for the military to land heavy equipment on sandy beaches.
Tough Cell Geocells are fabricated from a new Novel Polymeric Alloy called Neoloy; specifically developed for geocells that have been found superior in comparison to any other geocell or cellular confinement product. Tough Cell allows you to build more durable roads, while reducing up to 60% of your project’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

A Unique Design

Tough Cell strips are welded together to form a honeycomb-like polymeric cell section which are laid out and filled with granular infill, creating a reinforced composite “mattress” used for versatile soil stabilization and reinforcement applications including municipal paved and unpaved roads, access roads, heavy haul roads, mining roads, railroads, container and heavy equipment yards, slopes, channels, retaining walls and landscaping. This technology is the preferred choice in a multitude of industrial market sectors including oil and gas, logging, mining, military, and other soil reinforcement projects especially on soft soils, peats, expansive clays and permafrost.

Vast, worldwide project experience, together with a deep understanding of high performance geosynthetics and geotechnical engineering, has been key to the successful implementation of this innovative technology, and its outstanding performance and contribution to civil engineering projects in a wide variety of soil conditions and extremely hot and cold climates.

The unique structural design of Tough Cell 3D cellular confinement and its reinforcement properties enables the use of a wider variety of granular infill materials – in nearly any weather condition including extreme-cold winter installation. Tough Cell does not require the import and transport of expensive aggregate to the project site and can be applied and infilled with locally available free-draining, non-cohesive, granular infills, (e.g. sand, recycled concrete, RAP, slag, fly-ash and other waste materials). These advantages provide an overall reduction in project materials costs, transportation and handling, machine and installation time & costs.

The Tough Cell solution is not only time saving and cost-effective, it is also a green solution, which provides for low impact designs and much lower carbon footprint. The results on project sustainability are manifold: use of virgin aggregates is reduced – less screening, crushing, processing and hauling; less material for in-site placement (and less subgrade soil replacement); less earthworks / equipment operations; and, the overall reduction in fuel use, vehicle pollution, airborne dust, sediment runoff and project carbon footprint.

The MIF (Modulus Improvement Factor), or soil strengthening of infills in the Tough Cell cellular confinement technology was studied in many world renowned academic and government institutions, laboratories and regulatory agencies, (resulting in numerous scientific & Journal papers), and proven to increase infill material strength by factors of 2-5 times, making it the best mechanical soil reinforcement and load support solution for proven long term structural pavement durability. Tough Cell carries a 75 year material, workmanship & performance warranty and provides an alternative to building a more affordable and sustainable civil infrastructure.

As the Neoloy Tough Cell reached the goal of warrantied performance for up to 75 years, it is now the only existing high modulus Geocell that not only answers the basic needs of road reinforcement and supports all engineering industry applications; but ensures faster installation at lower costs, even with soft or difficult soils, when there are limited aggregate resources in remote locations.

Constructing with Tough Cell

Construction with Tough Cell can be performed by standard road construction crews following short training and at the pace of conventional road construction. Work is modular in nature and the possibility of installation crews working in parallel is often employed in larger projects. The finished roads have up to a four times longer lifespan than other conventional roads, translating to direct savings in operation and maintenance budgets. There is also evidence of considerably less tire wear & tear in mining operations and less road bans in areas susceptible to frost-heave during season change.

Tough Cell History

The first cellular confinement systems were developed by the US Corps of Engineers for tactical military use. The initial 3D honeycomb grids were made from aluminum and its purpose was to distribute vertical loads and improve the bearing capacity of soft soils by using materials like the sand in beachheads as infill and create temporary passageways for military vehicles and supplies. In the late 1970’s, the aluminum was replaced by high density polyethylene (HDPE) polymer due to its relatively moderate cost and the flexibility it afforded in packaging the materials for shipment and in their deployment in the field.

In 2005, a visionary R&D program was undertaken to compound a nano-polymeric engineering alloy to meet the long- lasting performance required for public transportation and DOT applications. The result was Neoloy – a Novel Polymeric Alloy (NPA) of polyester/polyamide nano-fibers dispersed in a polyethylene matrix, developed to improve the long-term stiffness and Long Term Dimensional Stability (LTDS) of the geocell. Neoloy is a nano-technology material that combines the ductility of polyethylene with the stability and resistance of polyamides, manufactured under patented processes.


We are thankful to our colleagues at PRS Geotechnologies Ltd. for their assistance with this project.Certain products and/or applications described or illustrated are protected under international patents. Tough Cell® and Neoloy® are registered trademarks of PRS Geotechnologies Ltd. Final determination of the suitability of any information or material for the use contemplated, or for its manner of use, is the sole responsibility of the user.