Geogrid reinforced structures have been successfully used for over 25 years. However their design procedures have remained largely focused on ultimate failure mechanisms, originally developed for steel reinforcements. These are widely considered over conservative in determining realistic reinforcement and lateral earth stresses. The poor understanding of deformation performance led many design codes to restrict acceptable soils to selected sand and gravel fills, where deformation is not as concerning.
Within UK construction there is a drive to reduce wastage, improve efficiency and reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions. For geogrid reinforced structures this could mean increasing reinforcement spacing and reusing weaker locally sourced soils. Both of these strategies increase deformation, raising concern about the lack of understanding and reliable guidance. As a result they fail to fulfil their efficiency potential.
This Engineering Doctorate improved the understanding of horizontal deformation by analysing performance using laboratory testing, laser scanning industry structures and numerical modelling. Full-scale models were used to demonstrate a reduction in deformation by decreasing reinforcement spacing. Their results were combined with primary and secondary case studies to create a diverse database. This was used to validate a finite element model, differentiating between two often used construction methods. Its systematic analysis was extended to consider the deformation consequences of using low shear strength granular fills. The observations offered intend to reduce uncertainty and mitigate excessive deformations, which facilitates the further optimisation of designs.
A dissertation thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the
degree Doctor of Engineering (Eng.D.), at Loughborough University.