A simplified method for analysis of a piled embankment reinforced with geosynthetics

Sari W. Abusharar, Jun Jie Zheng, Bao Guo Chen, Jianhua Yin

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170 Citations (Scopus)


Piled embankments provide an economic solution to the problem of constructing embankments over soft soils. The piles and geosynthetic combination can alleviate the uneven surface settlements that sometimes occur in embankments supported by piles without reinforcement. The main focus of this paper is to present a new method for analysis of an embankment of granular fill on soft ground supported by a rectangular grid of piles and geosynthetic. This method is based on consideration of the arching effect in granular soil and similar to the method proposed by Low, B.K., Tang, S.K., Choa, V. [1994. Arching in piled embankments. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering 120 (11), 1917-1938]. The main refinements are: inclusion of a uniform surcharge load on the embankment fill, individual square caps were used, and taking into account the skin friction mechanism, which contributes to soil-geosynthetic interface resistance. Using this method, the influence of embankment height, soft ground depth, soft ground elastic modulus, and geosynthetic tensile stiffness on efficiency, stress concentration ratio, settlement ratio, tension of geosynthetic, and axial strain of geosynthetic are investigated. The results show that inclusion of a geosynthetic membrane can increase the fill load carried by piles. As a result, both the total and differential settlements of the embankment can be reduced. The new design method was verified against several current design methods. Theoretical solution showed that BS8006 [1995. Code of Practice for Strengthened/Reinforced Soils and other Fills. British Standards Institution, London, p. 162] and Guido, V.A., Kneuppel, J.D., Sweeny, M.A. [1987. Plate loading tests on geogrid-reinforced earth slabs. In: Proceedings of the Geosynthetics '87, New Orleans, USA, IFAI, pp. 216-225] methods overpredict the vertical stress acting on the geosynthetic due to that the reaction of the soft ground on the geosynthetic is not considered in their methods. It also showed that the present method is in good agreement with Low, B.K., Tang, S.K., Choa, V. [1994. Arching in piled embankments. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering 120 (11), 1917-1938] method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-52
Number of pages14
JournalGeotextiles and Geomembranes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • Arching effect
  • Efficiency
  • Embankment
  • Geosynthetic
  • Settlement ratio
  • Stress concentration ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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