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GEOSYNTHETICS REINFORCED FLEXIBLE PAVEMENT : GATEWAY OF THE SUSTAINABLE PAVEMENT

G.S. INGLE* AND S.S. BHOSALE** ABSTRACT


Pavement is the most severely dynamically loaded structure under varied environmental conditions. Long lasting pavement with good riding surface has always been remained challenge to the pavement engineers. Present day traffic loading for important roads, such as Expressways, National highways is increasing at an accelerated rate. Most of the times vehicles are overloaded than the legal limits. Due to such overloading pavement life reduces drastically, particularly if the desired quality materials are not used. Day by day the demand for good quality pavement materials is increasing at an accelerated rate due to which natural good quality material getting depleted rapidly. This will be threat to an environment in near future. Geosynthetics reinforcement has a potential in improving the engineering characteristics of the pavement materials as well as layers, which improves the pavement service life. In addition to this, based on stiffness characteristics of geosynthetics it greatly reduces the thickness of flexible pavement, an illustration presented shows typically saving of 40% in base course thickness. In addition to direct saving of pavement materials there are significant environmental benefits associated with it, viz. less transportation of aggregate by trucks, hence less air pollution (dust, gasoline vapors), less noise, carbon emission, diesel consumption, etc. and hence geosynthetics will open gateway to greener, more sustainable construction. Paper also presents brief information on eeosynthetics products and their standards.

1.

INTRODUCTION

In India, the main problems which the roads are facing majority of them fail before their service life, due to the fact that the load accounted during the design read is far lower than ground reality. The structural adequacy of the pavement system is based on the amount of stress that is acting on the subgrade layer. For the low value of subgrade stresses, the life of the pavement system is longer. In a multi-layered flexible pavement system, subgrade stress can be lowered by either increasing the thickness of the base course layer or by increasing the rigidity (E-value) of the different layers by using good quality of natural materials. In many areas of the world, quality natural materials are unavailable or are in short supply. Also bringing quality materials from a far distance increase the fuel consumption. Secondly for increasing the thickness of base course layer, additional sourcing of natural aggregate from quarries is required which is not economical. Due to the above mentioned facts, engineers are concentrating towards locally available materials i.e. soil, while the available soil may not possess the required strength characteristics. The strength of this soil may be increased by using soil stabilization technique. Alternatively, use of polymeric material namely geosynthetics could be resorted to.

GEOSYNTHETICS REINFORCED PAVEMENT

A geosynthetics material is a synthetic material manufactured from polymers such as polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyester. Although geosynthetics have many forms and uses (Koerner 2005), the two forms of geosynthetics that are specifically used for separation and reinforcement in flexible pavement systems. Geosynthetics have been studied and used for more than 40 years as reinforcement in the base course layer of flexible pavements. Early uses of geosynthetics in roadways included separation, filtration, and drainage in paved and unpaved roads and reinforcement in unpaved roads (Steward et al. 1977; Bender and Barenberg 1978). Geotextiles were first examined for use as reinforcement in paved roads in the early 1980s (Brown et al. 1982; Ruddock et al. 1982), while geogrids were first studied in the late 1980s (Barker 1987; Haas et al. 1988; Barksdale et al. 1989). The focus of this paper is reinforcement applications. Geosynthetics material is typically placed in the interface between the aggregate base course and the subgrade or within a base course to increase the structural or load-carrying capacity of a pavement system by the transfer of load to the geosynthetics material. (Hufenus et al. 2005) The two main benefits of the reinforcement are to (1) improve the service life and/or; (2) obtain equivalent performance with a reduced structural section. Fig.2.1 shows the benefits of geosynthetics in terms of reduction of granular base thickness. This improved performance of the pavement due to geosynthetics reinforcement has been attributed to three main mechanisms, as follows: (1) lateral restraint, (2) increased bearing capacity, and (3) the tensioned membrane effect (Giroud and Noiray 1981, Giroud et al. 1984, Perkins and Ismeik 1997, Holtz et al. 1998) which are presented in next paragraph.

3 MECHANISM OF REINFORCEMENT Three fundamental reinforcement mechanisms have been identified involving the use of geosynthetics to reinforce pavement materials are as follows. 3.1 Lateral Restraint The primary mechanism associated with the reinforcement function for flexible pavements as shown in Fig. 3.1 is lateral restraint or confinement (Bender and Barenberg 1978). The name is misleading as lateral restraint develops through interfacial friction between the geosynthetics and the aggregate, 4 the mechanism is one of a shear-resisting interface (Perkins 1999). When an aggregate layer is subject to traffic loading, the aggregate tends to laterally unless it is restrained by the subgrade geosynthetics reinforcement. Interaction between base aggregate and the geosynthetics allows transfer of the shearing load from the base layer to a ten load in the geosynthetics. The tensile stiffness of geosynthetics limits the lateral strains in the b layer. (Zornberg, J.G 2010) Furthermore, a geosynthetics layer confines the base course layer thereby increasing its mean stress and leading to an increase in shear strength. Both frictional and interlocking characteristics at the interface between the soil and the geosynthetics contribute to this mechanism. For a geogrid, this implies that the geogrid apertures and base soil particles must be properly sized. A geotextile with good frictional capabilities can also provide tensile resistance to lateral aggregate movement. 3.2 Increased Bearing Capacity Fig.3.2 shows the increased bearing capacity mechanism leads to soil reinforcement when the presence of a geosynthetics imposes the development of an alternate failure surface. This new alternate plane provides a higher bearing capacity. The geosynthetics reinforcement can decrease the shear stresses transferred to the subgrade and provide vertical confinement outside the loaded area. The bearing failure mode of the subgrade is expected to change from punching failure without reinforcement to general failure with reinforcement. 3.3 Tensioned Membrane Effect The geosynthetics can also be assumed to act as a tensioned membrane, which supports the wheel loads as shown in Fig. 3.3. In this case, the reinforcement provides a vertical reaction component to the applied wheel load. This tensioned membrane effect is induced by vertical deformations, leading to a concave shape in the geosynthetics. The tension developed in the geosynthetics contributes to support the wheel load and reduces the vertical stress on the subgrade. However, significant rutting depths are necessary to realize this effect. Higher deformations are required to mobilize the tension of the membrane for decreasing stiffness of the geosynthetics. In order for this type of reinforcement mechanism to be significant, there is a consensus that the subgrade CBR should be below 3% (Barksdale et al. 1989). 3.4 Relevance of the Various Mechanisms The aforementioned mechanisms require different magnitudes of deformation in the pavement system to be mobilized. Since the early studies on geosynthetic reinforcement of base course layers focused on unpaved roads, significant rutting depths (in excess of 25 mm) may have been tolerable. The increased bearing capacity and tensioned membrane support mechanisms have been considered for paved roads. However, the deformation needed to mobilize these mechanisms generally exceeds the serviceability requirements of flexible pavements. Thus, for the case of flexible pavements, lateral restraint is considered to contribute the most for the improved performance of geosynthetics reinforced pavements. 4 DESIGN APPROACHES FOR GEOSYNTHETICS REINFORCED PAVEMENT The beneficial effect of using geosynthetics reinforcement in road sections has been studied by many researchers both theoretically and experimentally from last three decades. (J.G. Collin et.al 1996) This research may be in the form of small scale laboratory plate load tests (Al-Quadi et al. 1994; Haas et al. 1988) theoretical evaluations using finite element analysis (Barksdale et al. 1989; Burd and Houlsby 1986), and full scale wheel load tests (Fannin and Sigurdsson 1996; Webster 1992, J.G. Collin, T.C. Kinney 1996, Perkins S.W. 1999, Rudolf Hufenus and Rueegger 2005). This beneficial effect is expressed in terms of extension of life or by savings in base course thickness. Extension of life is defined

in terms of a Traffic Benefit Ratio (TBR). TBR is defined as the ratio of the number of cycles necessary to reach a given rut depth for a test section containing reinforcement, divided by the number of cycles necessary to reach this same rut depth for an unreinforced section with the same section thickness and subgrade properties. A TBR > 1 also provides a safety factor on the pavement load-carrying capacity against significantly increased EASLs or weaker subgrade from design values.

The Base Course Reduction (BCR) is expressed as a percentage savings of the unreinforced base thickness. Information on base course reduction is extracted from those studies where unreinforced and reinforced test sections with equal AC thickness and subgrade were created, but where the reinforced section contained less base course material and resulted in identical performance.

Table 1 shows some of the Design Approaches with mode of design method and maximum range of I improvement for Base/Sub base Reinforcement by some developer/ Organization, which indicate that the geosynthetics material improves the performance of road in terms of extension of service life or reduction in the base course thickness.
Table 1 Design Approaches and Procedures for Base/Sub Base Reinforcement Geosynthetic Type Distress mode and Design Format Empirical Support Maximum Range of Improvement

Developer

Applicability

Giroud and Noiray Geotextile (1981) Penner et al. (1985)

Empirical method

75 mm Rut depth

Quasistatic analysis Lab Test

30% to 50% reduction in base course thickness 30% to 50% reduction in base course thickness Improvement after 4 mm surface deformation

Specific geogrid Based on C.B.R 4.3 to 5.7% Isotropic elastoplastic

20 mm Rut depth/ Equation and chart

Burd and Houlsby Genetic Geosynthetic (1986)

surface deformation/ F.E.M FE M Computer Programe surface deformation/ Field Result FE M Computer Programe Field Test Vertical deformation charts, computer programe

Barksdale et al. (1989)

Genetic Geosynthetic

Isotropic elastoplastic

4% to 18% reduction base thickness

Barksdale et al. (1989) Webster (1993) Tensar (1996)

Geogrid

C.B.R 2.4%

4% to 18% reduction in base course thickness

BCR = 5% to 45% Specific Geogrid Based on C.B.R 3 to Rut depth (25 mm)/ Field Test Design charts 8% Specific Geogrid Based on C.B.R 1.9 20 to 30 mm rut Lab & test track Traffic Benefit Ratio depth/equations, to 8% correlate to field (TBR) = 1.5 to 10 charts, computer test programe Geogrid C.B.R 1 to 8% Surface rutting Bearing capacity/ Equation & charts Permanent surface deformation Full Scale Lab. test Traffic Benefit Ratio (TBR) = 2 to 10% Plate Load Test BCR = 32% to 56% (Meyer 7 Elias, 1999) Full Scale Lab. test At least 30% reduction in base course thickness

J.G. Collin, T.C. Kinney (1996) Akzo-Nobel (1998) Perkins S.W. (1999)

Specific GG-GT Not stated Composite Geogrid

Giroud

&

Han Geogrid

C2004)
Rudolf Hufenus, Rueegger et. at (2005) Geogrid

Theoretical method C.B.R 1 to 4%

design allowable rut depth, Empirical e.g. 75 mm. calibrated field test Rut depth

test Up to 30% reduction in with base course thickness

Full scale Field test Up to 30% reduction . in base course thickness Reduction of Rutting strain up to 16 to 34% Reduction in pavement response up to 23-31%

Bassam Saad and Geogrid Hani Mitri (2006) Imad L. Al-Qadi et.at (2010) Geogrid

Surface deformation 3D F.E.M

C.B.R 4%

Surface rutting

Full scale test

PAVEMENT LIFE

Stevenson (2008) highlighted graphically (as shown in figure 5.1) the variation of surface rut depth of pavement with and without geosynthetics for number of load repetition. As shown in Fig.5.1, for an illustration surface rut depth (r) geosynthetics pavement is able to resist higher number of repetition as compared to unreinforced section (without geosynthetics), which clearly indicates the increase of pavement life due to the use of geosynthetics material as reinforcement. Field observations and research results confirm this increased pavement life due to geosynthetics utilization. Most of the researchers observed this increased pavement life in terms of a dimensionless parameter called as TBR. In general, geosynthetics have been found to provide a TBR in the range of 1.5 to 70, depending on the type of geosynthetics, its location in the road, and the testing scenario (Carthage Mills 2002). Table no. 1 shows few literatures which highlight the range of TBR, apart from this the field observations in terms of TBR, obtained by various researchers are highlighted below. United States of Army Corps of Engineers performed a field test on unpaved road with and without a geotextile, the test result indicate that for a rut depth of 0.28 m the TBR is 12.5.Webster (1993) performed field test on flexible pavement, where the researcher found that reinforced section with a stiff geogrid carried 21 times the number of traffic loads as compared to unreinforced section. Barksdale et al. (1989) conducted a field test, for comparing the performance of different geosynthetics products; the researcher found that for 12.5 mm rut depth TBR values are 17 and 2.5 for the geogrid and geotextile sections respectively. J.G. Collin et.al (1996) performed a full scale field test on two different geogrid, where the researchers obtained the range of TBR in between 2.2 to 4.4 for 25 mm rut depth.

The above field result obtained by various researchers clearly shows the increase of pavement life due to the use of geosynthetics material as reinforcement.

6 SUSTAINIBILITY IN PAVEMENT Bruntland Commission's (1987) defines the sustainable development as "meeting the basic needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs". Ludomir Uzarowski (2008) have stated that over one quarter of the world's Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) are caused by transportation and especially road transportation. It is critical for the road construction industry to become part of the solution by proactively implementing technology and construction practices that assist in achieving these challenging green house gas emission reduction goals, and more attention needs to be focused on pavement sustainability. Pavement sustainability can be defined as a pavement that minimizes environmental impacts through the reduction of energy consumption, natural resources and associated emissions while meeting all performance conditions and standards. In essence, this is a pavement that has less maintenance demands and longer time between major rehabilitation interventions (Ludomir Uzarowski

2008). Currently there are numerous innovative pavement preservation technologies that conserve aggregates, reduce GHG emissions, and minimize energy consumption (Kazmierowski 2012); one of the technologies is to use geosynthetics material in a pavement as reinforcement. Colascanada (2008) states that there is a 20% reduction in the energy consumption and GHG emissions for the reduced granular structure of the reinforced section. Table 1 highlights the benefits of geosynthetics in terms of reduction in the Base Course Thickness (BCR), in our paper indirectly we are achieving this; hence we can say that the geosynthetics reinforced flexible pavement is a sustainable pavement. The environmental savings associated with the reduced granular structure are offset by the environmental costs associated with the manufacturing, transport and placement of the geosynthetics. Although there is a potential environmental savings anticipated with the reinforced pavement structure, these savings cannot be confirmed without knowing the energy consumption and GHG emissions associated with the manufacturing and production of geosynthetics (Brian Morrison 2011). To find out the sustainable benefits of pavement, it is essential to determine pavement lifecycle assessment for environmental and economic effect. This can be determined by using Sustainability index, which is a non-monetary cost-benefit analysis that includes environmental and social impact assessment into the benefit-cost calculation. It also ties sustainability to human development goals. Therefore, a Sustainability Index (SI) or a Sustainability Condition (SC) must include marginal present and future benefits and costs, where costs must account for all damages to the Natural and Social Environments (NSE) that may possibly restrain future well-being. (Hasnat Dewan 2011) Therefore a working definition of sustainable development can, be to find the optimal human development (H), with minimal damage to natural and social environments (D) and Future Development Potentials (FDP), in order to maximize the well-being of the largest number of people in present and future generations (Dewan A.H 1998). It emphasizes end goal such as human development, rather than consumption expenditures, focuses on intra-generational as well as inter-generational equity, includes both monetary and non-monetary indicators, and also emphasizes both ecological and social sustainability. Hence, the set of sustainability indicators should include the Human Development Index (H), a damage index (D), an equity index (E) and the indices for Future Development Potentials (FDP). The Capital-Debts Index (CDI) and the Productivity Index (P) can be good measures of FDP. Therefore, a possible set of sustainability indicators could be: {H, D, E, CDI and P}. In the Human Development index, two-third weight is assigned to quality of life, f vs. income and education, and one-third to longevity, which is a better indicator than consumption, though the Human Development Index and consumption should be highly, but imperfectly correlated (Hasnat Dewan 2011)

The damage index is defined as: D = Max {ENV, NAT, AMN, SOC}, where ENV = an index for environmental degradation, NAT = an index for natural resource depletion, AMN = an index for the destruction of natural amenities, and SOC = an index for the change or degradation of socio-cultural political and institutional conditions. All indices are in [0, 1]. Since maximum damage to a sub-system of Natural and Social Environments (NSE) is used to calculate D, the coefficient of variation (V) of various damage indices also needs to be monitored (Hasnat Dewan 2011). The computational details of these indices are beyond the scope of this paper.

Sustainability issue is not about computing benefits and costs; it's about ensuring sustainable levels of ecological resources, which can be determined by comparing Human Development Index (H) with damage index (D). Hence sustainability indices is a need of any nation or region for finding out the level of economic development, the nature of damage to Natural and Social Environments (NSE), social perceptions etc. (Hasnat Dewan 2011)

7.

GEOSYNTHETICS PRODUCT STANDARDS

To obtain reliable material parameters and guidelines for adequate pavement design construction, apparently standardized testing is critical in selecting the geosynthetics materials and providing basis specification (Guang-xin Li et.al 2008). These reassure consumers that product is safe, and good for environment. Geosynthetics in the form of geotextile, geogrid or geocell easily available in market; also custom-made geosynthetics products are available. Following table 2 shows the list of geosynthetics standards which are available at international level.
Table 2 List of Geosynthetics Standards Available at International Level

Sr. No.

Geosynthetics Product Standards

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

ASTM Standards ISO Standards (ISO/TC221) Indian Standards (BIS) AASHTO Standards FHWA Standards NORDIC Guidelines British Standards International Geosynthetic Society Standards (IGS) Geosynthetic Research Institute (GRI) Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) US Provinvcial Standards Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) Geo-synthetica International Erosion Control Association (IECA) European Center For Standardization (CEN)

Numerous geosynthetics product manufacturing industries are available at international level; table 3 highlight the list of few geosynthetics product manufacturing industries with their URL Site.
Table 3 List of Geosynthetics Product Manufacturing Industries and Their URL Sites
Sr. No.
1 2 3 4 5 6

Geosynthctics Product Manufacturing Industries


ACE Geosynthetics Inc. Agru America, Inc. Belton Industries Carthage Mills Crown Resources LCC Dalco Nonwovens

URL Site
www.geoace.com www.agruamerica.com www.beltonindustries.com www.carthagemills.com www.gxgeogrid.com www.crownresources.net www.dalcononwovens.com

7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Fibreweh Geosynthetics GSE Lining Technology inc. Huesker Inc. L & M Supply Co.Inc. Maccaferri Inc. Mattex Geosynthetics Propex Geosynthetics SKAPS Industries TechFah India TenCate Geosynthetics Tensar International Corp.

www.fibreweb.com www.gseworld.com www.huesker.com www.landmsupplyco.com www.maccaferri-usa.com www/mattexgeo.com www.geotextilc.com www.skaps.com www.techfabindia.com www.tencate.com www.miraffi.com www.tensarcorp.com

ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE

To find out the maximum range of improvement for a geosynthetics material in flexible pavement, a data for a fictitious flexible pavement has been considered, and the effectiveness of geosynthetics in terms of reduction of Base course thickness has been found out by using Giroud and Han (2004) design methodology. The design data as follows i) ii) iii) iv) v) vi) vii) vii) Traffic = 10964 ESAL Per Day C.B.R For Subgrade soil = 2% C.B.R For Base course material = 35% Wheel Load = 40 KN Tire pressure = 550Kpa Assume allowable rut depth = 75 mm Geogrid of Aperture stability modulus = 0.65 mN/degree Design life = 15 Years

In Indian condition the flexible pavement is to be designed as per IRC:37. for CBR 2% & Traffic 43.17 msa, the total pavement thickness and configuration of pavement layers as per IRC:37-2001, Plate No.2 page No.29 are follows: Total pavement thickness = 916.46 mm say 920 mm Base course = 250 mm Subbase course = 460 mm Bituminous surfacing = 210 mm

IRC:37-2001 considers three layer but Giroud and] Han design methodology is for unpaved road consider only base course layer. Hence if the surface course is not provided the remaining layers i.e. base and sub base course, their thickness is bound to increase, so it will be additional saving as shown in Fig. 2.1

Conclusion for base course thickness by using Giroud and Han (2004) design methodology: a) b) For unreinforced section base course thickness For reinforced section base Course thickness Hence Reduction in base course Thickness is = 190 mm = 260 mm = 450 mm

The reduction of base course thickness is up to 40 % for a geogrid, placed at the interface of subgrade & base course of the pavement, similarly the effectiveness of geosynthetic can be find out for different reinforcement location such as within the base course or combination of both. 9 CONCLUDING REMARK

Result for above illustrative example shows that the impact of geosynthetics material in terms of reduction of the base course thickness up to 40% as compared to unreinforced section, this effect may be increased for different geosynthetics stiffness and quality of subgrade. Also the design methodologies proposed by various researchers shows the benefit of geosynthetics materials in terms of extension of service life or reduction in the base course thickness. In addition to