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ISGTI 2018

7-8April2018, IIT Delhi, India

Design Model for Strength and Location of Geogrids for Road Stabilization
PietroRimoldi
Officine Maccaferri SpA, Italy,
E-mail :PIETRO RIMOLDI <pietro.rimoldi@gmail.com>

Minimol Korulla
Vice President, Maccaferri Environmental Solutions Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi – 110025
E-mail :minikorulla@maccaferri-india.com

ABSTRACT:Geogrids are widely used as effective materials for the improvement of soils characterized by low
mechanical performances of soil and aggregates for construction of road and road related infrastructure.The design
methods currently available do not appear capable of accounting for the influence of wide variations in variables such
as geogrid type, load magnitude, number of required layers and mechanical characteristics thereof. A new design
method has been developed in order to enable the designer to vary the location of the geogrids as well as the type, the
number and the property of it using a multi-layered model. Once the base and/or subbase thickness has been defined
with one of the available methods in literature (AASHTO method, Giroud – Han method, Leng - Gabr method, etc.) the
proposed design method allows to set the number and the mechanical characteristics of geogrid layers required for
absorbing the horizontal forces generated by self-weight, wheel load and tensioned membrane effect. Case studies of
Indian projects are presented where this method was successfully applied.

Keywords: geogrids, stabilization, road bases, design method

1. Introduction Given this thickness, by considering separately the effect


The design methods for paved and unpaved roads on soft of the static loads (soil self-weight and tensioned
soil usually assume that the road base is stabilized with membrane mechanism) and the dynamic effect of traffic
just one layer of geogrid, but the actual use of geogrids load, it is then possible to calculate the distribution of the
usually requires further evaluation, design and horizontal tensile forces in the whole road structure and
specification conformity. the overall tensile forces generated in each layer of
geogrid, and then to select the appropriate one for each
Geogrids inclusion to improve pavement performance is layer based on a limit state criterion.
attributed to following three stabilizing mechanisms:
1. Base course lateral restrain mechanism for horizontal For a pavement, the limit state criterion is not the failure
stresses generated by the soil self-weight (which is anyway prevented by the calculation of the
2. Base course lateral restrain mechanism for horizontal thickness according to AASHTO method, Giroud – Han
stresses generated by wheels loading method,Leng - Gabr method, etc.), but rather the
3. Tensioned membrane mechanism at the base or operating condition criterion, that is handled by a
subbase - subgrade interface deformations criteria. Both theory and practical
experience suggest that geogrid strain shall be limited to
Each of these three mechanisms produces tensile forces 5 %.
in the geogrid layers. The tensile forces produced by the
horizontal thrust of the pavement structure and by the It shall be noted that geogrids in road base and subbase
tensioned membrane mechanism at the base or subbase - play the function of stabilization, and not of
subgrade interface are static loads by nature, while reinforcement; that is, geogrids shall provide lateral
thetensile forces produced by traffic load are dynamic / confinement in order to limit the deformations of the
cyclic in nature, however the critical scenario is when all unbound layers; anyway, deformations are produced by
three mechanisms act on the geogrids, developing the forces, hence tensile strength and strain of geogrids for
maximum tensile forces, which will be considered in the road stabilization shall be addressed jointly: this is the
design model. rational base of the proposed design method.

The dynamic / cyclic effect of wheel loading is always Indeed the strain might vary depending on the type of
considered in the presently available methods for paved road as well as construction: for major roads, like state
or unpaved road design (AASHTO method, Giroud – and national highways, the strain is usually limited to 2%,
Han method, Leng - Gabr method, etc.) therefore the while for secondary roads, temporary roads and haul
thickness of base and / or subbase afforded by such roads a higher value of strain might be acceptable.
methods is already appropriate for providing the Furthermore the tension membrane mechanisms, which
structural capacity of the road to resist the design number require a certain deformation to be developed, is only
of wheel passages for the whole design life of the road. considered for the lowermost geogrid, developed during
construction due to the construction of the pavement
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layer works, is assumed to be “locked in”, without further The model assumes that the wheel load is applied as a
developments for the entire life of the pavement, that is uniform vertical pressure σv0 = p (tire inflation pressure)
with no relaxation phenomena. For upper geogrids the on a circular area with equivalent radius r0; this load
tension membrane mechanism is not considered because spreads in 3 layers of the road structure (AC, BC and SB)
it is assumed that the compacted and reinforced layers with their load spreading angles α1, α2, α3 respectively. At
beneath will not deform enough to develop it.Hence the least the base course shall be present and shall be
geogrid strain limit shall be applied to the short term stabilized with geogrids; the asphalt course may not be
tensile strength or to the long term tensile strength present (in case of an unpaved road) and, if present, it is
depending if the prevailing tensile forces are generated by not reinforced (asphalt reinforcement is dealt with by a
the static or the dynamic components. different design method); the subbase course may be
present or not; when it is present, it may be either
A practical approach is to limit the short term tensile stabilized with geogrids or unstabilized.
strength of the geogrids based on the design strain,
measured in a wide width tensile test according to ISO 2.1 Force due to horizontal soil thrust
10319 standard, and then check the longtime elongation The tensile force Tzi, generated in i-th geogrid layer by
produced by the static components of the tensile forces. the horizontal thrust of soil above can be easily calculated
After determination of type and number of geogrid on the basis of classic geotechnical theory.
layers, the location of geogrids is another important
factor while designing and building of reinforced The vertical stress at depth Z1 due to self-weight of
pavement works. The most common position for a asphalt is:
geogrid in a flexible pavement is at the interface of the
subgrade and the unbound subbase or unbound base
course. However, this should not be considered the
vi  1Z1 (1)
default location and therefore the geogrid position should where,
always be determined by estimating where the maximum γ1 = Unit weight of asphalt layer (kN/m3)
deformation will occur, or where the benefit of increased
stiffness can most benefit the performance of a critical or For Z1< Z < Z2:
the weakest pavement layer. v  1Z1  2 (Z  Z1) (2)
The examples reported below will clarify the application
The related horizontal stress is:
of this practical approach.

The tensile forces produced on geogrid layers by the h  K2v (3)


three active mechanisms above identified are now
defined.
K2  tan (45 2 / 2)
2 o
(4)

2. Multi-Layer Model where,


K2 = Active soil thrust parameter for the base BC
The general schemes of a pavement structure such a road
ϕ 2 = Angle of internal friction of BC (degrees)
or a parking deck may include the following layers:
1. Asphalt course AC (wearing course and binder layer
Then, it can be assumed that the tensile force Tzi
are considered as one layer whose thickness is the
generated in i-th geogrid layer in the base course is the
total thickness of the two layers)
integral of horizontal soil stresses between i-th geogrid
2. Base course BC
layer and (i-1)th geogrid layer,
3. Subbase course SB
4. Subgrade SG Tzi  0.5K2 [21Z1  2 (Zi  Zi1 2Z1)].(Zi  Zi1) (5)
Therefore a 4 layer model has been developed for the For Z2< Z < Z3:
geogrid design.The general scheme of the model, and all
symbols that will be used for subsequent calculations,
v  1Z1  2 (Z2  Z1)  3 (Z  Z2 ) (6)
areshown in Figure 1.
The related horizontal stress is:

h  K3v (7)
K3  tan (45 3 / 2)
2 o
(8)

where,
K3 = Active soil thrust parameter for the subbase SB
ϕ 3 = Angle of internal friction of SB (degrees)

The tensile force Tzi generated in i-th geogrid in the


subbase course is:
Fig. 1 General scheme of the 3 layers model

149
Design Model for Strength and Location of Geogrids for Road Stabilization

Tzi  0.5K3 [2(1Z1  2Z2  2Z1) 3(Zi  Zi1 2Z2 )].(Zi  Zi1) load, no tensioned membrane mechanism occur.
We will refer to the scheme shown in Fig. 2.
(9)
2.2 Force due to horizontal stresses generated by
wheels loading
Assuming that the wheel load is applied on a circular area
of equivalent radius r0 and the load spreads in layers
below as a cone whose generatrix is inclined of the load
spreading angle αi, then the radius r at depth Z below the
top surface is:

For 0 < Z < Z1:


r  r0  Z tan1 (10)
Since it must be: Fig. 2 Scheme of the first geogrid layer subject to
r   ri vi
2
0 v0
2
(11) tensioned membrane mechanism

2.3.1 First case: when the subbase is not present


Then, the vertical stress produced by the wheel load at
According to tensioned membrane theory (Giroud et Al,
depth Z is:
1990), the uniform vertical load WTC on the catenary
v  vor02 / ri2 (12) layer of geogrid is:

For Z1< Z < Z2: WTC= [(volume V of load cone below the wheel) · (fill
r  r1 (Z  Z1) tan2 (13) density γ) + wheel load P – subgrade reaction R] / (area A
v  v1r12 / ri2 (14)
at reinforcement catenary layer)

h  K2v (15) For the geogrid layer at base course bottom V and A
become:
V = 1/3 π rf2 hf – 1/3 π r02 (hf – Zf) (20)
For Z2< Z < Z3:
A = π rf2 (21)
r  r2  (Z  Z2 ) tan2 (16) where,
v  v2r22 / ri2 (17) Zf = depth of first base course lift (m)
hf = height of the load cone (m)
h  K3v (18)
The wheel load P and the tyre pressure p in this case are
Assuming that the tensile force TPi generated in i-th referred to a truck or dumper used at the job site for
geogrid layer in the base or subbase course by the wheel carrying the soil. Since we are dealing with the first lift of
load is the integral of horizontal soil stresses between i-th aggregate placed on a soft soil, very heavy vehicles shall
geogrid layer and (i-1)th geogrid layer, the tensile force not be used. Hence for tensioned membrane mechanism
TPi generated in i-th geogrid in the base or subbase course calculations wheel load P and tyre pressure p shall be
is: referred to the truck or dumper used at the job site for
carrying the soil.
Tpi  0.5(hi hi1)(Zi  Zi1) (19)
Moreover we can reasonably assume that the subgrade
reaction R is equal to the allowable bearing capacity of a
2.3 Force due to tensioned membrane mechanism at cohesive soil layer with geogrid reinforcement (Rodin,
the interface with subgrade 1965), that is:
The tensioned membrane mechanism occurs only when
out-of-the-plane deformations are produced. Since R = 2 π cu A / FS = 2 π (30 CBRSG) A / FS = 60 π CBRSG
geosynthetics for road stabilization are placed A / FS (22)
horizontally, then vertical deformations shall occur to where,
generate the tensioned membrane mechanism. FS = Factor of Safety for subgrade bearing capacity
cu = undrained cohesion of subgrade (kPa)
The lowest geosynthetics layer, at the interface with CBRSG= California Bearing Ratio of subgrade
subgrade, is subjected to highest vertical deformations
when first soil lift is spread and compacted, due to the Since it is:
settlement of the soft subgrade; the next geogrid layers rf = r0 + Zf tan α2 (23)
are far less subject to vertical displacements. Therefore, it hf = rf / tan α2 (24)
can be reasonably assumed that the lowermost geogrid (hf – Zf) = r0 / tan α2 (25)
layer is subjected to the tensioned membrane mechanism, P = π r02 p (26)
while for the upper layers such mechanism is negligible.
Indeed if the bearing capacity of the subgrade is enough We finally get, for the first lift of the base course:
to support the weight of the first lift of fill and the wheel

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WTC2 = [(γ2 / 3) (rf3 – r03) / (rf2 tan α2)] + p (r02 / rf2) + 60 3.1 Pavement stabilization works for Creek
π CBRSG A / FS (27) KalatalavSanesh road, Bhavnagar, Gujarat
The road project in Bhavnagar Old Port is reported as a
The tensile load in the catenary geogrid at base course case history here. The pavement and traffic data are
bottom is determined based on tensioned membrane reported in Tables 2 and 3.
theory and is a function of the amount of strain in the Design has been checked as per the AASHTO method for
geogrid. The tension in the geogrid is determined from both reinforced and unreinforced cases.The resulting
the following equation: cross-sections for unreinforced and reinforced cases are
Tm2= WTC2Ω rf (28) shown in Figures 3.
where,
Ω = dimensionless factor from tensioned membrane Table-2 Pavement Data for the Sanesh road
theory, as a function of geogrid strain εr (Tab. 1) Surface Layer Value
Layer coefficient, a1 0.40
Table 1-Values of dimensionless factor Ω Minimum depth (m) 0.10
εr (%) Ω Base Course
1.1.1
1 2,07 Layer coefficient, a2 0.14
2 1,47
Drainage coefficient, m2 1.15
3 1,23
4 1,08 Minimum depth (m) 0.25
5 0,97 Subbase Course
1.1.2
If the bearing capacity of the subgrade is enough to Layer coefficient, a3 0.11
support the first lift of the base course and the wheel load, Drainage coefficient, m3 1.0
WTC2 becomes negative; in such case no tensioned
membrane mechanism occur, hence: Minimum depth (m) 0.25
Tm2= 0 (29) Subgrade Course
1.1.3
2.3.2 Second case: when the subbase is present CBR (%) 5
In such case the geogrid at base course bottom is not Effective subgrade resilient Modulus, Mr 7157
subject to the tensioned membrane mechanism, hence: (kPa)

Tm2= 0 (30)
Table-3Traffic Data for Sanesh road
The geogrid layer at subbase bottom instead is subject to Traffic data Value
the tensioned membrane mechanism; hence, considering Reliability level, R (%) 95
the first lift of subbase course, we get: Combined standard error, So 0.45
rf = r0 + Zf tan α3 (31)
Initial service index, po 4.2
hf = rf / tan α3 (32)
(hf – Z1) = r0 / tan α3 (33) Terminal surface index, pt 2.5
WTC3 = [(γ3 / 3) (rf3 – r03) / (rf2 tan α3)] + p (r02 / rf ) + 60 Total ESAL/Day 8800.369
π CBRSG A / FS (34)
Tm3= WTC3Ω rf (35) Total number of passes 3,212,134
Also in this case, if the bearing capacity of the subgrade Compound traffic growth factor 27.086
is enough to support the first lift of the subbase course Total volume of traffic during the 87,003,878
and the wheel load, WTC3 becomes negative; in such case analysis period
no tensioned membrane mechanism occur, hence: Design ESAL, W18 65,000,000
Tm3= 0
Structural Number, SN (inches) 6.805
(36) 2.4
Total horizontal force
The total horizontal force in the i-th geogrid layer has to For the design of reinforced road, extruded biaxial
withstand is: geogrids having 40 × 40 kN/m tensile strength (type
Maccaferri MacGrid EG40) was selected as a base
Ttot-i = Tzi + TPi + Tm (37) reinforcement. For these geogrids, Layer Coefficient
Ratio (LCR) is considered from the Manufacturer’s
where Tm applies only to the lowest geogrid layer at the technical data sheet report as LCRGG40 = 1.906.
interface with the subgrade, either of the basecourse or of
the subbase course. LCR is the Layer Coefficient Ratio, with a value higher
than one, which is determined on the basis of results from
the field and laboratory testing on flexible pavement
3. Geogrids Design- Indian Case Histories
system with and without geogrid, and represents the

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Design Model for Strength and Location of Geogrids for Road Stabilization

improvement to the layer coefficient of base and/or degrades the structural functioning of the pavement
subbase provided by the presence of the geogrid. section. With low CBR and shallow water depth, time
required for construction of road was high, while the
The Structural Number (SN) is calculated by the client was looking for solution that helps in the faster
following formula (AASHTO, 1993) construction of pavement.As the subgrade is soft, base/
subbase laid over it will intrude and may not work to its
logWt18  ZR.x.S0  9.36log(SN 1)  0.20 intended function effectively, hence a nonwoven needle
punched polyester geotextile (Mactex N) separator is
log[(4.2  pt ) /(4.2 1.5)]
  2.32logMR 8.07 used between subgrade and subbase. Using biaxial
0.4 1094/(SN 1)5.19 extruded geogrid (Macgrid EG) it was possible to reduce
the thickness of base course by 40 % thereby reducing the
(39) quantity and time of construction. Thickness of
where, conventional pavement section andstabilized pavement
Wt18 = Number of 80 kN equivalent single axle load section determined as per the approach given in the paper
(ESAL) applications, is shown in figure 5, where d1, d2, d3 represent the
ZR = Standard normal deviate thickness of surface, base and subbase courses of the
S0 = Combined standard error of the traffic prediction and pavement respectively.
performance prediction
∆PSI = Difference between the initial design To take care of the drainage, a geocomposite drain
serviceability index po, and the design terminal (Macdrain) with the required long term flow capacity was
serviceability index pt installed as edge drain system on either side of the
MR = Resilient modulus (kPa) pavement section.

The final design layout is shown in Figure 4. The final layout of the pavement section with geogrid and
geocomposite drain adopted for the project is shown in
figure 6.

Fig. 3Unstabilized road structure resulting from


calculation with AASHTO 1993 method and stabilized
road structure resulting from calculation with modified
AASHTO 1993 method with the inclusion of a geogrid Fig.5 Unstabilized and stabilized sections
for base stabilization

Fig. 6Cross section of pavement stabilization

4. Conclusions
Fig. 4Final design layout Following conclusions are drawn from the design model
for strength and location of geogrids for road
3.2 Widening and Strengthening of Kuragalu - stabilization:
Malkapuram Road at Velgapudi, Andhra Pradesh.
 Pavement design methods such as AASHTO
The Project is a part of construction and rehabilitation of
AP new secretariat Road from Velgapudi situated in 1993 or Giroud – Han or Leng – Gabr considers
Guntur district, which is a part of urban notified area of only one geogrid layer in the pavement.
Amaravati, State Capital for Andhra Pradesh. The major  Anyway geosynthetics can perform not only the
portion of soil condition in Guntur district is poor due to stabilization function but filtration, separation,
the presence of silty clay with CBR < 3%. The weak and drainage as well, which are not taken into
subgrade condition calls for heavy pavement sections
account in the aforementioned methods resulting
even with low design traffic resulting in high cost. Also,
water table is at a shallow depth which continuously in a requirement for geotextiles and

152
geocomposite for drainage which can be taken
into account in the design of the pavement.
 The geogrid design method here presented
allows using multi layered geogrids for
stabilization of base and subbase, depending
upon design requirements.
 Additional geosynthetics for filtration,
separation, and drainage can be added at design
stage, depending on project conditions.
 Successful projects were herein reported as
demonstration of the validity of the design
model.

References
American Association of State Highway and
Transportation Officials AASHTO Guide for Design of
Pavement Structures, 1993.

Giroud, J.P., Bonaparte, R., Beech, J.F., and Gross, B.A.


(1990) Design of soil layer-geosynthetic systems
overlying voids, Geotextiles and Geomembrane,
Elsevier, 9(1).

Leng, J. e Gabr, M. A., (2006) Deformation-Resistance


Model for Geogrid-Reinforced Unpaved Road, Journal
of Transportation Research Board, No. 1975, National
Research Council, Washington, D.C., pp. 146-154.

Rodin, S. (1965) Ability of a clay fill to support


construction plant, Journal of Terramechanics, 2, pp.
51-68.

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