Snow and sand fences look like halfway measures: They’re flimsy and 50 percent open — with spaces as wide as your hand — yet they’re supposed to stop the movement of fine-grained particles. How effective can they possibly be?
According to aerospace engineer Chris Rolling, more effective than fully closed fences, and they’re far cheaper to erect. Sand and snow fences require a fraction of the materials and far less reinforcement. Yes, the particles that do blow through form eddies in the fence’s wind shadow. But unlike solid fences, slatted ones let us control the resulting buildup. Think of the difference in terms of brute force versus finesse, or WWF smackdowns versus karate flips.
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