+1 (305) 594-7929 • +1 (877) 663-9331

Product Summary
Among the easiest to install on the market today, Rapidam is a light weight, temporary barrier made from a strong P.V.C. coated canvas. Glass fiber battens hold the barrier erect while dry. A standard unit is designed to protect up to a 1 meter depth of static water, plus an additional ½ meter of wave height. Each section comes in a standard length of 10 meters weighing 32 kilograms, which folds flat and is rolled up for minimal storage and ease of mobility. The individual sections connect to one another or to internal & external corner section and end closure pieces. This allows the system to meet any shape and length. It works by using the hydrostatic weight of the flood water to enhance its strength and hold the barrier system in place.

The material selected for the body of the barrier itself is PVC coated Panama base cloth. This cloth is commonly used for lorry sides, industrial underwater lift bags, water test weights for the large cranes and high tension membrane roof structures. The base material itself is treated with anti-UV protection as well as an anti-fungicide. When stored properly, the life expectancy of this product is between 15-20 years.

Rapidam is probably the easiest flood barrier system to install on the market today, as it is the weight of the flood water itself that adds mass to the system, sealing it to the ground and giving the system its stability and weight. Rapidam is a light weight one-piece modular system that requires no machinery or specialist tools for installation. Rapidam comes typically in 10 m sections that are delivered in a rolled up configuration. To install Rapidam you simply roll the system out joining each section to the previous section (See Details of Joining Components, below) and then secure the leading edge of the ground skirt to the ground by means of the supplied ground anchors. At this point the Rapidam barrier can either be pulled upright or left laid flat (reducing wind buffeting) until the flood waters begin to impact the site which the barrier is defending.


2‘-0”-, 3’-0“, 4’-0”, 5’-6”

Can be designed any width

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20 metres of Rapidam installed x 2 men = 20 minutes

For installs of over 100 metres it is recommended that the install team comprise of no less than 4 men, as this will allow for 2 men to deliver rolled sections to install position, with the remaining 2 men securing the leading edge of the barrier with ground anchors. This linear operation can be performed at a slow walking pace if there are no obstructions. Apart from removing any potential debris from within the barrier the demounting times are approximately the same as the installation times, being the exact reverse operation.

There are two basic versions of the system, the “Free Standing” and the “Bolt Down”.

• Freestanding Version
The Freestanding barrier system is designed to be placed on un-prepared open ground, where it is then attached to ground by means of stakes hammered into to the ground at pre-marked locations at the front and back of the barrier. This process loosely resembles erecting a camping tent. The long forward-leading skirt allows more water weight to act upon the barrier, creating the necessary friction loads to prevent sliding of the barrier over potential wet or slippery surfaces. Erection time of this system averages approximately 20 minutes per 10 meter section, utilizing 2 people. After the flooding event the barrier is just washed off and rolled back up for future use.

• Bolt Down Version
The Bolt Down barrier system works on the same principle as the freestanding barrier, but requires only a short leading skirt. This is because it is designed to be deployed in pre-prepared locations where mechanical attachment anchors have been previously been installed. They are generally used to defend areas where flooding paths are defined and prior planning can be utilized to expedite the barrier installation. The system has the same modular capabilities, installation time, manpower requirements and weight of the freestanding version.

This Kitemark License represents the only world standardization for flood barriers. Rapidam is a PAS 2 system (Publicly Available Specification) #2 classification states that this product is for use as a temporary and demountable system.

The photographic storyboard below describes the method by which the Stanchion is used to connect the barriers together. The time required to connect 2 Rapidam Barriers together using this method is approximately 3 minutes.

The diagram below shows the details of the Stanchion post, used to connect sections together.

Photo: Rapidam Barriers tested against severe flood water conditions

During the research and development phase of this product it was decided to set the protocols for the physical testing phase based on relevant European historical flood data, and then double this data for redundancy and durability purposes. The overall design brief for the physical testing was “as close to reality as possible”.

For example, the durability and length of physical testing program was based on the longest time duration in the European theatre a flood had maintained its depth, (i.e. the amount of time flood water had remained against a building structure). This time was established at 1.5 months.

For the purposes of this test regime and to provide a reasonable durability test, the overall physical testing would be conducted over a 3 month period. This in effect meant the Rapidam barrier would be subjected to wave action 6 days a week. Static water loads were maintained with the wave generators switched off for a period of three months.

The maximum height of the wave sets themselves were calculated on the principle that the largest wave within an urban flood event would be generated by a large lorry or emergency services truck (Fire engines etc). The wave generated by such a vehicle would on average be 250 mm, so for test purposes a maximum wave height of 500mm would required.

At the conclusion of 3 months of physical testing it was discovered that the base of the barrier had experienced no adverse effects or wear whatsoever. This test sequence was performed on a rough concrete floor, potentially the most abrasive surface on which to site a membrane barrier.

The following photograph sequence below depicts a typical Rapidam installation procedure. This demonstration deployed 215 meters of Rapidam flood barrier product, where 4 men required 4 hrs to fully install the system.


Width 300 cm large color range (320cm width can also be supplied, normally subject to a minimum quantity of 1,000 lin.m. per colour)
Finish High gloss and lacquered both sides, base cloth Panama weave polyester.
Colors While 9002 available in other widths 300cm – extensive range of colors.
Yarn 1100 d/tex high tenacity polyester.
Base fabric weight approx 270g/m2
Total weight BS342/5A 900g/m2 +/- 25g/m2
Tensile strength
BS342/6B N/50mm (ave.)
Warp 4000 Weft 800
Tear strength
BS342/7B N (Ave.)
Warp 1000
Weft 800
Coating adhesion
BS342/7B N/50mm
Warp 90
Weft 90

The client has the option to purchase Rapidam system as an Emergency Response “trailerized” package. These trailers can carry approximately 1km of barrier sections. Together with (should the client request) a lockable box containing a power pack (either Hydraulic or pneumatic) with which to run 1 or more rotary guns for the purpose of installing the ground anchors (in free standing barriers) or bolts (in bolt down barriers). This is particularly recommended for the installation of long runs of Rapidam flood barriers as the transportation to install site and the ancillary equipment to speed up the installation is all contained within a single (small) mobile package.

Emergency Response Trailer Equipment List
  • 1 x Trailer
  • 1 x 1km of Rapidam Flood Barrier Sections
  • 1 x power pack (Hydraulic or pneumatic)
  • 1 x 60ft power pack hose
  • 1 x Rotary tool
  • 1 x 1km of Ground anchors
  • 1 x 1 lockable box
Photo depicts trailerized Rapidam containing 1 km of flood barrier protection

The Rapidam Flood Barrier System being a robust membrane system and therefore flexible, can adapt to potentially any type of terrain. The defining criteria for installing Rapidam are the securing of the leading edge to the ambient ground surface, i.e. soil/Tarmac/Concrete. There cannot be any sharp obstructions beneath the ground sheet. Rapidam has been installed in fast (3ft/sec) flowing water with a depth of 2ft.

In a post-flood event scenario the pre-storage requirements are very simple. With the PVC barrier material being treated as standard with an anti-fungicide additive, simply hosing the barrier down with water, removing all sediments and debris from the barrier is all that is required to prepare the barrier for storage.

Although the barrier membrane is treated as a standard with an anti-UV additive, it is recommended that the barrier sections are stored out of direct sunlight, as this will extend the serviceable life expectancy of the system. Photo below shows 215m x 1m Rapidam stored.

The general storage recommendations are that the barrier sections be stored clean and dry and out of direct sunlight. These barrier sections are normally stored in their rolled up format, making the area required for storage very small. As a guide each rolled 10m section will have the dimensions of 1400cm long by 40cm in diameter.

When the barrier sections are correctly joined there is no physical way seepage that can pass through the joining components (Stanchion posts).

With the body of the Rapidam barrier being made from an impermeable PVC membrane, it is not possible to get any seepage through the body of the Rapidam barrier. The Rapidam flood barrier is one of the only (PAS 2) systems to achieve the BSI Kite mark in the UK/European theatres, which is the only standard for flood prevention products recognized the majority of European governments.

The Free standing Rapidam barrier has the requirement to secure the leading edge of the barrier to the ground for stability and enhanced sealing characteristics. It is important when installing the free standing Rapidam flood barrier on a grass surface that the leading edge is not is not held up by the thickness of the vegetation allowing for water to pass beneath the barrier. For this reason it is recommended that the ground be cut open along the line of the leading edge of the barrier and the grass folded back, to expose a surface that the leading edge can be secured to the soil utilizing the ground anchors (See pictures below). Once the anchors are screwed all the way in to the ground the folded soil and grass can be folded back, adding to the sealing characteristics and completing the securing task.


The Rapidam device is formed mainly of high strength waterproof fabric folded to form a triangle in the cross-section. Stiffening battens within fabric pockets at O.5m centers stiffen Face 1 and Face 2 (see Figure 2.1). The upstream face (face 1) is perforated to allow water to fit the inside of the triangle, see section 2.1 below. The downstream face 2 is impermeable with the battens retained by 2 straps running diagonally back to a shackle at the toe of Face 1 also at O.5m centers. The up-stream edge is restrained against overturning and/or sliding by a row of bolts and anchors down into a ground beam or similar. Free-standing versions of the Rapidam are intended to be similar except that the bottom skirt is extended significantly up-stream to generate sliding resistance through friction against the under-lying ground.

  • 900grm PVC Material
  • 1 x 1 OR2 Batten (on 500mm centres)
  • x 2 ton webbing straps (per Batten position)
  • 1 x Screw pin shackle (per Batten position)
  • 1 x Stanchion frame (joining barrier sections)
  • 1 x ground anchor (On 500mm centres)

The primary disturbing loads on the device arise from hydrostatic pressures on Face 2. This loading will always act perpendicular to the skin on Face 2, giving horizontal and up-lift forces. In the absence of wave action, hydrostatic pressures increase from zero at the water surface to a maximum of p max = pgh at the barrier base in water depth of h. These hydrostatic pressures will also act downwards along the bottom skirt and (unless counteracted by up-lift pressures) will generate sliding resistance between the base of the device and the foundation material.

Loadings on Face 2 will be transferred or resisted by tension forces in the bottom skirt, in the 1:\vo diagonal straps, and through Face 1. Between those connections, the hydro-static pressures will induce bending moments into the battens causing them to flex. The four tensile loads will be transferred in turn to the bottom comer of Face I and transferred to the ground through to the ground bolt/anchor and/or through frictional resistance between the base and the ground below.

Maximum hydro-static loads arise with the greatest retained depth, assumed to be equal to the crest level of the device. Any greater water level will simply spill water over the device by weir flow. Whilst that flow may of itself induce new loads acting on the rear side of Face 2, sliding and overturning loads will generally reduce over those arising with static water at the crest.

Any wave action hitting the barrier will both raise (as they impact) and reduce (as they reflect) the hydrostatic pressure. Very similar effects will arise from eddies or vortices shed from local hard points if the device is deployed close to high current velocities.

It is envisaged that the barrier will be installed primarily in sheltered locations, but that occasional deployments may be close to inland waterways or the upstream ends of sheltered estuaries. Further, given that the device has an overall height of just over 1 meter; it is unlikely that the device will be deployed in water depths much greater than 1m. It is not therefore expected to be required to resist long periods or deep water waves. In rural areas, many floods cover large flat areas such as water meadows, which may be relatively exposed to wind action. These barriers will generally be installed at times when extreme floods are expected, so that vessel activity in any adjoining river or canal will probably not be substantial. It is not expected that boat wash or even wash from lorries or rescue vehicles will give significant loadings if these vehicles pass close to the barrier. As yet, there is little guidance available on waves caused by such vehicles. In the absence of better information, it may therefore be prudent not to use the Rapidam where vehicles can approach closer than 10m on the flooded side, unless water depths at the time are relatively shallow.

In these studies, it has been assumed that wave conditions at the barrier arise primarily from wind action, being therefore be a function of wind speed and fetch distance (the length of the open water area Over which the wind can generate wave action). Analysis of possible wave action for inland reservoirs around the UK indicates that appropriate (1:50 year) wind speeds (V JO) may fall between 18 and 25m/s, see Herbert et al (1995), Yarde et al (1996), McConnell (1998). Indicative wave heights and periods summarised in Table 2.1 were calculated for these suggested wind speeds using the simplified Sverdrup Munk Bretschneider equation, Wind wave conditions are likely to be in the order of K = O.2m for fetches of O.lkm, but could reach H = 0.7m for fetches of 1 km, if water depths permit.

For most applications the available water depth directly in front of the barrier will limit wave heights. If the upstream side of the barrier is relatively level, then wave heigl1ts will be limited to approximately H, = 0.6 x water depth. For a barrier retaining 0.8m of water, this would limit wave action to H=0.48m. However, the barrier is installed on a bank with steep sides; local wave heights may be increased by shoaling, and will not be so limited by the local depth, h.

Note: all calculations below are based on unrestrained leading edge i.e. no bolts or ground anchors.

Values of friction coefficient given in Table 2.3 were used in initial analysis, but simple repeat tests were undertaken by HR W to assess the friction coefficient, l, using material from the Rapidam under test. As the Rapidam will inevitably be deployed in damp conditions, these friction tests were completed on with the following surfaces wetted:

  • recently mown grass
  • rough concrete
  • smooth concrete
  • asphalt
Those surfaces not already damp were soaked before testing commenced. The friction tests where conducted on a rectangular section of Rapidam fabric material, 240mm x 85mm, with a new piece being used for each test surface. Three known loads (2968g, 3570g and 5156g) were used for the friction tests. The tests were conducted by dragging the weighted material along the designated surfaces by a Portable Force Indicator (PFl-2001) which recorded the load needed to move the material. The results of these tests are summarized in Table 2.3.

Table 2.3 Friction coefficients

*1 These values are higher than rough concrete. It would therefore be more appropriate to use ì = 0.4 in the design. *2 These values appear too high and more conservative values should be adopted for design. *3 It was noted that further measurements fell outside of the maximum and minimum given here, but were suspected to be unrepresentative measurements, e.g. 0.27 and 0.75 for the smooth concrete, 0.33 for the asphalt and 0.71 for the grass and rough concrete.

A number of calculations have been undertaken in Calculation 5 using the input loads. These calculations determine the factors of safety corresponding to various widths of skirt and friction coefficients. The results for the worst loading condition and the condition Skirt widths for h= O.6m, Hs = examined in the physical model are summarised in OAm.

Table 2.3 shown above where the skirt width, including the base of the barrier, is that required to produce various FoS, for worst loading condition: Example skirt widths (including the base of the barrier) required to produce various factors of safety for the loading condition tested in the physical model (depth = 0.8m, H, = 0.2m) are shown in Table 2.3. Initial calculations showed that the barrier would have insufficient factors of safety against sliding under the extreme loading condition of H,=0.6m. Results in Table 2.3 show that a total skirt width of 6m will be required (without ground anchors or bolts) to provide a FoS, = 4.

The calculation method used so far has assumed that the full weight of water acts on the base I skirt generating a substantial normal force, which in turn induces the frictional resistance to resist sliding. This "no up-lift" condition is illustrated in the sketch below.

That approach relies on there being no significant up-lift or pore pressure acting below the base skirt. In reality however, it is quite likely that there will be some leakage under the upstream edge of the Rapidam skirt, and that there may be some trapped up-lift pressures under the skirt. Whilst impossible to predict in detail, it is most likely that any such seepage will be greatest at the front edge of the skirt. At worst, this might reduce the net downward loading at the front edge perhaps close to zero. At the rear (dry side) of the barrier, such pressures can be more easily vented and it is likely that the up-lift pressure at the rear edge will be very small. At this side. The net downward force will therefore be much closer to the full hydrostatic head, see lower sketch in Figure 4.2.

The triangular distribution in Figure 4.2 would reduce the net vertical load by one half, thus also reducing the corresponding factor of safety by half. The factor of safety would be reduced further if the up-lift, lf pore pressure under the barrier were to build up over time.


With the body of the Rapidam barrier being comprised of a PVC membrane material the repair of any punctures or small tears can be easily repaired using the supplied repair kits. These contain a selection of patches, a tube of glue, a roller, and a sheet of sand paper. In exactly the same way as a bicycle repair kit is used on a punctured tire so the procedure for Rapidam repair is:

1) Identify damaged area; select a patch that will cover the puncture or tear, ensuring there is a reasonable overlap (min 1cm).
2) Lightly roughen the area around the hole on the inside of the barrier (wet side) and the underside of the patch.
3) Apply glue to the patch itself and press patch into place (again on the inside of the barrier).
4) With the damaged portion of the barrier laying flat on a flat surface, take the roller and working from the middle of the patch toward the outer edges of the patch, squeeze out any air trapped between the patch and the barrier.
5) Allow to dry and check that the patch has adhered properly, and the repair sequence is complete.

At the start of an overtopping event water will be seen to run down the back of the barrier, pooling at the base of the barrier. During this phase there will be no significant change to the stability of the structure, until the head of pressure begins to equalize on both sides of the barrier. At the point where the pressure does equalized on both sides i.e. the water level on the dry side of the barrier is at the same elevation as the water source overtopping the barrier any friction coefficient offered by the head differential will be lost. The Barrier itself being neutrally buoyant will remain just below the surface, with the ground skirt being held in place by the ground anchors.


The Rigidam system is a hard panel, removable flood barrier system. The panels are constructed of high strength aluminum components, and are edged by a gasket material that produces a water tight seal. The system is attached to the structure by pre-installed anchors and screws, and does not require a permanent frame attached to the building. The barriers are designed to protect buildings up to a water level of 7’-6”. Individual panels can be joined together to cover any width horizontally.

Stop Log

Removable Aluminum Flood Barriers
Gasketed Aluminum Stop Log System
Suggested Specifications

Single Flood Door

Floodbreak is a revolutionary flood barrier that automatically rises in times of flooding to protect your property. It can be placed in front of any opening and be designed for any flood water level.


The Rapidam system is a revolutionary patented system that uses the waters own weight and force to form a watertight barrier. Its attributes are that it is a lightweight, modular system, which sections can be zipped together to form any length, shape, or configuration. Due to the materials and design, it only takes a few people to completely install almost any project in a short period of time. When the need for the system has ended, it can be easily washed down and folded back up for the next emergency.

Unlimited Applications Inc., and Floodbarrier, Inc
Providing Flood Barriers and Flood Barrier protection for 14 years.Offering the most diverse selection of floodbarriers in the industry.

Keeping your Business and Community Safe and Dry through sound floodproofing techniques.
You can contact us by:
Mail:7314 N.W. 46th Street. Miami, Florida 33166
Phone: +1 (305) 594-7929 or +1 (877) 663-9331
Fax: +1 (305) 594-7987
Email: Unlimited Applications and FloodBarrier