Journal Published Online: 29 July 2014
Volume 37, Issue 5

Mini-Pier Testing To Estimate Performance of Full-Scale Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Bridge Abutments



The geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) performance test (PT), also called a mini-pier experiment, was developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to evaluate the material strength properties of GRS composites built with a unique combination of reinforcement, compacted fill, and facing elements. The PT consists of constructing a 1.4-m square column of alternating layers of compacted granular fill and geosynthetic reinforcement with a facing element that is frictionally connected up to a height of 2 m, then axially loading the GRS mass while measuring deformation to monitor performance. The results can be directly used in the design of GRS abutments and integrated bridge systems. Considering that the geometry of the PT is square in plan, the equivalency of the results to a bridge application, which more resembles a plane strain condition, is evaluated and presented in this paper. The analysis indicates that the PT closely approximates the bearing resistance, or capacity, of a typical GRS abutment, and is a conservative estimate when predicting stiffness. These results indicate that the PT can be used as a design tool for GRS abutments at both the strength and service limit states.

Author Information

Adams, Michael
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, McLean, VA, US
Ooi, Phillip
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Honolulu, HI, US
Nicks, Jennifer
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, McLean, VA, US
Pages: 12
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: GTJ20140007
ISSN: 0149-6115
DOI: 10.1520/GTJ20140007