Serviceability-based design approach for reinforced embankments on soft clay
Panesar, Harpreet Singh
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The mechanism of soil-reinforcement interaction for a reinforced embankment on soft clay has been explored by conducting a parametric study using a coupled non-linear elastoplastic finite element program. One of the major issues in the design of a reinforced embankment on soft clay is the magnitude of tension that can be mobilized in the geosynthetic reinforcement. Previous research using geotechnical centrifuge modelling and present research using finite element modelling has confirmed that the tension mobilized in the reinforcement is only of the order of active lateral thrust in the embankment. The parametric study has revealed that the soil-reinforcement interaction mechanism depends on the ratio of embankment height to the depth of the clay layer. The embankment behaves similar to a rigid footing in case of deep clay deposit. In this case, the failure mechanism is similar to a slip circle and there is very little contribution from the clay-reinforcement interface towards the mobilization of reinforcement tension. However, if the depth of clay deposit is small, the soil-reinforcement interaction mode is similar to direct shear failure and slip surface is located close to the clay-reinforcement interface. In this case, the contribution of clay-reinforcement interface towards the tension mobilized in the reinforcement is higher and therefore, the contribution of the reinforcement towards overall stability of the embankment is greater. Based on the results of the parametric study a novel serviceability criterion is proposed that aims to limit the lateral deformation of the clay foundation at the toe of the embankment by limiting the allowable mobilized tension in the reinforcement. A simple procedure for the evaluation of the efficiency of soil-reinforcement interface for reinforced embankments on soft clays is also proposed. The validity of the proposed serviceability criterion and the design charts was successfully tested using two field case studies. Sackville test embankment constructed to failure in 1989 and a levee test section that remained serviceable after construction in 1987 at Plaquemine, Louisiana were able to confirm the validity of the serviceability criterion proposed in the present study.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
CommitteeSparling, Bruce F.; Samarasekera, Lal; Gareau, Laurent; Fleming, Ian R.
Copyright DateJune 2005
Finite Element Modelling