Sandbag 2.0 – meet the Sand Brick


November 14, 2010

Sandbricks offer a number of design advantages over the traditional sandbag

Sandbricks offer a number of design advantages over the traditional sandbag

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Floods are an inevitable part of life and the standard line of defense is the humble sandbag. While having applications in emergency relief, engineering and military environments, their design has remained relatively unchanged since the 18th Century. That is until now.

Sandbags difficult to work with. They are heavy, hard to fill and need to be carefully placed generally at a three wide to one high ratio to form a stable wall. After three centuries of use, it's clear that this critically important piece of kit is in need of a redesign. That is where Sand Brick Technologies has stepped up to the plate.

The first area for improvement was the most annoying design flaw of the average sandbag, the mouth. The opening of a normal sandbag is two inches (5cm) smaller than an average shovel blade. This makes sandbags very hard to fill. "It was one of those 'Oh Duh' moments", John Powell CEO of Sand Brick Technologies said. "We made the opening two inches wider than a shovel, I don't know why nobody thought of it before.”

The next step in creating the Sand Brick was to angle the ends of the bags like a keystone, letting all the bags interlock increasing wall strength. Bags were color coded, one side blue the other yellow so that the wall can be constructed by volunteers after little instruction. The surface of the bags have been textured to provide grip which the designers say is one of keys to its stability. Another intelligent yet simple design improvement was the rectangle brick shape of the Sand Brick further adding to stability.

Tradition sandbags form a cylinder when filled. While the required width-to-height ratio for a conventional sandbag wall is three-to-one, walls built with Sand Bricks can be stacked at two-to-one. Sand Bricks also need 25lbs of sand to fill while regular sandbags take around 40 lbs making them less of a back-breaker. This means less bags, less sand and less labor.

The bag is also made from a solid sheet of plastic not woven plastic like regular bags, preventing contaminated flood water from getting in. Conventional sandbags are taken to landfill after use because of industrial pollution and sewage accumulating in the sand.

So with a handful of intelligent innovations Sand Brick Technologies has come up with a design that will make building temporary sandbag walls, or more correctly Sand Brick walls, faster, easier, safer and with less waste going to landfill.


I love private enterprise! Always building a better mousetrap. Good Luck and God Bless your enterprise with bountiful contracts!

Jeff Bequette

The solutions are relatively simple and \"common sense\" but have alluded us for so long. Sometimes, it\'s the evolutionary advancements that are more spectacular than the revolutionary ones.

Kevin Shutt

cool ,but does it work? none of the picture show the system in situation...

an other thing:the system didn\'t evolve because it work great ,send bag can be made of about any sort of bag ,flower bag,pillow bag,body bag,making the optimum bag is great but I bat it will not be there in case of need ,because most of the time flood goes faster than international shipping,the other option ,of course is to flood preventively the planet with hard to recycle ,non biodegradable send bag ,in case of, as long as the money flow...

Cedric Boisdon

Could make Earthbag home construction (a growing alternative to adobe construction) less labor intensive, and more structurally robust.

Potentially, low cost robust permanent retaining walls could be built using Sand Bricks with Barb Wire \"mortar\", and an external surface coat for U.V. protection (techniques similar to that in earthbag home construction).


I recall a tube device (sort of a scoup / funnel in one tool) for rapid filling of sand bags on some invention competition TV program, Google search came up with this flat panel gadget for near instant filling of a sandbag by one person, and with capability for being used as a shovel. It woud work well with the sand brick too.

Dave B13

25 lbs verses 40 lbs of sand does NOT translate into less bricks. It is more. To achive the same volume yes though the 2-1 will provide less numbers. I would like to see real world 2-1 proven.


Helping untrained personnel build adequate protection is always better and not having contaminated sand to dispose of is a plus, but sandbags still cost about $12 each to deploy and redeploy. This makes a 3\' high barrier cost over $200 a foot to put in place and remove after the flood. Then you have to deal with hundreds of pounds of plastic bags that will be very difficult to reuse or recycle.

An easily better option is

Douglas Shackelford

it would be a good idea if people pre-filled their sandbags to cope with a sudden emergency, instead of panicking at the last minute. Perhaps the local council could have a stock of pre-filled bags made available as necessary. How about a 50-50 mix of sand and expanded polystyrene beads? This would cut the weight in half.


Some times low tech innovations are just as important as high tech breakthroughs. Great re-think of an old design that no one has tried to improve upon in a long time!

Facebook User


The world can always use fresh and innovative thinking!


First trip out with the SES saw me filling a pile of sandbags. I nicked a road cone on the way home, chopped the top and bottom off it and we\'ve been using that ever since for filling sandbags. Saves your fingers, and makes it easier as you\'ve a bigger target to chuck shovel loads of sand at. :-)

I\'m not certain that the cost of labor need be factored in as flood control is usually an occupation of volunteers. Making these bags impervious to sun and degradation is essential. Then there need be a very low cost per unit as so many bags are needed that most people can not afford enough bags to protect their properties. Hopefully less than 25 cents per bag would be the target and I\'m not certain that any business can make money selling plastic bags at such a low price. Facebook User

I'm not really sure why anybody would use sandbags, or sand bricks sorry, that are coloured bright red and blue...

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