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This paper provides an overview of the design of soil structures reinforced with polymeric materials. Applications for soil reinforcement are reviewed and categorized according to the type of soil structure, type of load, and function and location of reinforcement. Approaches to design are reviewed, and it is shown that most current design procedures are based on simple extensions of classical limit equilibrium analyses.
Properties of polymeric reinforcement relevant to design are presented. They are subdivided into tensile properties and soil-reinforcement interaction properties. Use of wide-strip, constant-load creep tests are recommended for evaluation of tensile properties for design of permanent soil structures. Soil-reinforcement interaction characteristics are evaluated in terms of direct sliding of soil over reinforcement and pullout of reinforcement from soil. Direct sliding characteristics should be evaluated using the direct shear test. Pullout characteristics for geotextiles can be approximated from direct shear test results; however, pullout characteristics for geogrids must be evaluated using pullout tests.
The paper concludes with a detailed presentation of simple limit equilibrium design analyses for three of the most commonly encountered types of reinforced soil structures: reinforced slopes, reinforced soil walls, and reinforced embankments over weak foundations. Specific recommendations are made on determination of reinforcement properties for design of these three types of structures.
soil reinforcement, geotextiles, geogrids, wide-strip tension test, creep test, direct shear test, pullout test, slope stability, retaining walls, embankments
GeoServices Inc. Consulting Engineers, Boynton Beach, FL
Professor, Soil Mechanics Laboratory, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
GeoServices Inc. Consulting Engineers, Boynton BeachFL,