Moulding the landscape from unique clay

Robert Branford, National Account Manager at LECA® UK, reveals how lightweight expanded clay plays a pivotal role in structural engineering, and how they have started working with Peel Ports to ship this vital material to site.


What does clay suggest to you? For most people, it’s about crafting pottery or sculptures. Or maybe the wet layer of soil that can be tricky for gardeners!

LECA® lightweight aggregate (LWA) is a natural, unique and sustainable material. It has remarkable properties which ensure its versatility for use in a vast number of structural and geotechnical applications.

Among its benefits are better stability, reduced settlement and better drainage. It is the only ‘all in one’ aggregate solution for architects and civil engineers to overcome problematic areas in construction and design.

The aggregate is manufactured by processing lightweight expanding clay through a high temperature kiln. By this process, we transform 1m3 of freshly dug clay into 5m3 of lightweight expanded clay aggregate construction material.

First manufactured in the 1930s, it was initially used in lightweight expanded block. It was also identified as a civil engineering solution and used in Nordic countries where frost susceptibility is an issue.

Alone, it is one single expanded clay pellet, but when combining the pellets into an aggregate, the civil engineering possibilities become endless - whether it is lightening road and railway embankments, fill in for foundations and retaining walls, or draining and insulating sports pitches.

We’ve been involved in a number of marquee projects in Scotland including the Queensferry Crossing and the Bertha Park project in Perth, where LECA® LWA was used for its reduced settlement benefits. It has also featured in the Murrayfield Stadium tram stop and the Kelpies in Falkirk.

We’re now going to be working on the new junction 29A on the M8 that will feed the Durgavel housing project. To supply the 6000m3 coming in we’re going to be coming in through Clydeport, which is a first for us.

We pride ourselves on our material being an environmentally-friendly product and we view our supply chain in the same way. Using Clydeport and specifically the King George V terminal in the heart of Glasgow allows us to get as close as we can to the site by sea, minimising the overland road transport required.

The Peel Ports team have been incredibly supportive in helping us to begin the process of shipping through Glasgow. With Peel’s experience, advice and care we are confident we are building a long term relationship together which will continue to flourish.

To find out more on King George V Dock, please click HERE. 

To find out more on Leca, please click HERE.

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