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Abstract Number: 191

FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS OF GEOTEXTILE REINFORCED HIGHWAY


EMBANKMENT USING PLAXIS 3D

Athulya.G.K1, Ankita Kumar2, S. P. Guleria3, J.N Mandal4

1
M Tech Student, Civil Engineering Department, IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India, Email id:athulyagk361@gmail.com
2
Research Scholar, Civil Engineering Department, IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India, Email id: ankitakumar@iitb.ac.in
3
Professor, Civil Engineering Department, Jawaherlal Nehru Government Engineering College, Sundernagar.
Himanchal Pradesh, India, Email id:spguleria@yahoo.com
4
Professor, Civil Engineering Department, IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India, Email id:cejnm@civil.iitb.ac.in

ABSTRACT

The present study describes the behavior of the highway embankment using finite element method based software
‘Plaxis 3D’. The modeling of the embankment is done using steel making slag- soil mixture (30% steel making slag
with 70% soil) and natural fill material over the soft sub soil. The comparative study of steel making slag –soil and
natural fill materials as an embankment fill material was performed. Geotextile of different elastic stiffness were
used as soil stabilizing material to identify the best suitable Geotextile for embankment construction. The suitability
of these embankment fill material for different height of the embankment was analyzed based on stability and
displacement criteria. It was concluded that steel making slag- soil material has good strength and stability compared
to the natural fill material. Placing of Geotextile improves the stability of embankments. From the results it was
inferred that soil-steel making slag mix embankment is stable for heights 4m, 5m, 6m with the addition of different
tensile strength of geotextile ranges from 50 kN/m to 1500kN/m.

Key words: Highway embankment, steel making slag, Geotextile, Plaxis 3D

1. Introduction
Industrial development causes an increase in the rate of the waste product generation day by day.Same time the
problems caused by the lack of construction material are also increasing. This can be solved by effective utilization
of industrial waste products as construction material. Steel making slag (steel slag) is an industrial waste product
generated from the steel industry. Several studies have been done by previous researchers in the field of utilization
of steel slag as construction material. The previous studies include utilization of steel slag aggregate for road bases
investigated by Aiban (2006), soil stabilization using basic oxygen steel slag fines proposed by Poh et al.( 2006),the
use of ladle furnace slag in soil stabilization investigated by Manso et al.(2013) and ladle furnace slag in the
constructions of embankment investigated by Montenegro et al.(2013).
Due to the rapid increase in the construction process availability of good construction area hasreduced. Many
structures are needed to be constructedon soft soil. Construction on soft soil can be performed only after the ground
improvement because of its less bearing capacity. There are many methods available for ground improvement; one
of those methodsis by using Geosynthetic products. Highway embankment is such types of structure which usually
have to be constructed in soft soil. An embankment is constructed by compacting earth materials, after completion
of embankment construction, the settlement occurs. If embankment is constructed on soft soil the settlement
increases. For minimizing the embankment settlement over soft soil, there is a need of addition ofcertain material to
the embankment such as the Geosynthetic products for its stability. One of the common Geosynthetic products that
have been used in the embankment is Geotextile. Past researchers (Hird, 1986; Leshchinsky, 1987; Mandal, J.N.,
1987; Vashi, 2013) have used Geotextile application in Geotechnical engineering. To minimize the settlement and
increase the stability of the embankment various Geotextile is applied according to size, shape and surcharge coming
on the embankment.

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According to Jewell (1988) the reinforcement in the embankment serves two functions.The first function is to
oppose the lateral thrust in the fill. Thereby reducing the adverse shear stress on the foundation. Figure.1a shows the
unreinforced embankment and Figure.1b shows the reinforced embankment in which lateral thrust Pfill is just
balanced by reinforcement force Prft,the embankment loading is equivalent to smooth footing. When Prft
reinforcement performs the second function to oppose foundation extrusion (Figure.1c), then embankment loading
equal to rough footing.

(a) (b) (c)


Figure.1 schematic diagram to illustrate reinforcement action (after Jewell ,1988)

These mechanisms suggested by Jewell are illustrated using finite element method by Kwok (1987). He suggested
that finite element method satisfied the actual field conditions. After that, several investigations are done in the field
of reinforced embankment on soft soil by finite element method (FEM). These studies include stabilization of soft
soil using high strength Geotextile analyzed using FEM studied by Row (1987), determination of optimum tensile
strength of geogrid reinforced embankment investigated by Wulandari(2006), 2D and 3D numerical simulations of
reinforced embankments on soft ground by Bergado et al. (2008), behavior of trial embankment by numerical
method investigated by Dechasakulsom (2011), “3D Numerical Modeling of Hexagonal Wire Mesh Reinforced
Embankment on Soft Bangkok Clay” studied byRujikiatkamjorn et al (2012),Numerical modeling of stabilized
embankment by Khan et al (2014), commonly used software for this finite element analysis is Plaxis and it is
available in 2D and 3D. Previous works done, using Plaxis software are “Simulation of safe height embankment on
soft ground using Plaxis” by Kasim et al (2013) and“Analysis of Geotextile Reinforced Road Embankment Using
PLAXIS 2D” by Wulandari et al. (2015)

The main aim of the study is to determine the suitability of steel making slag-soil mix and natural fill as a highway
embankment construction material using finite element method by PLAXIS 3D version 8.2. Comparative analysis is
performed with steel making slag-soil mix and natural fill materialon the basis of stability and displacement criteria.
The parametricmodeling involves analysis of the effect of various heights of embankment and placing of Geotextile
reinforcement of different tensile strength on highway embankment.

2. Finite Element Model


The embankment of width 8 meters with 2:1 side slope was modeled using the finite element based software Plaxis
3D. Due to symmetry of embankment structure only the half portion of embankment was modeled.The foundation
soil was taken as 14m deep. It consists of two types of material i.e.soft clay upto 7m depth and sandy soil below 7m.
Thewater table is assumed to be 3m below the ground surface. According to the Indian road congress
recommendation, overburden pressure applied for highway embankment is 30kN/m2. The embankment is
constructed on soft clay in two lifts. Two lifts have equal height. The test was carried out using two types of material
steel making slag –soil mix and natural fill and the suitability of this material based on the stability and settlement is
compared. The test is performed at different height of embankment varying from 4m to 6m. Analysis of the short
term stabilityof embankment is determined with and without Geotextile of varying tensile strength ranges from
50kN/m to 1500 kN/m.The schematic figure of the embankment is shown in Figure2.

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Figure 2 : The schematic figure of the embankment
3. Material

The embankment study was based on the two types of embankment fill material one is steel making slag-soil mix
other one is natural fill material. Steel making slag is a byproduct of the steel industry. It is waste material produced
during the electric arc furnace process. The Powai soil was used in this study taken from IIT Bombay campus. 30%
soil with 70% slag was used as embankment fill material. The properties of steel making slag, powai soil and steel
making slag- soil mix were determined in the laboratory. The properties of steel making slag- soil mix determined in
laboratory are shown in Table 1.The properties of embankment fill material used for Finite Element analysis are
given in the Table 2.The properties of foundation soil are given in the Table 3.For determining the optimum tensile
strength of Geotextile as reinforcements, it is placed between in two layers, one is in between the embankment and
other layer in the middle of the embankment. The material property of the Geotextile is given in the Table 4.The
finite element analysis using PLAXIS 3D has been done to perform stability analysis of embankment. Firstly, the
road embankment without any geotextile reinforcement was analyzed for stability, thenthe stability and settlement
were analyzed using different tensile strength geotextile. This analysis was carried out using steel making slag-soil
mix and naturalfill.
Table 1. Properties of 70% Steel making slag- 30% soil mix as determined in laboratory

Properties Values Unit


Maximum Dry density 1.94 kg/m3
Optimum moisture content 13.5 %
CBR value unsoaked 4.6 %
CBR value soaked 7.1 %
Friction angle 48 °
Cohesion 2 kPa
Table 2. Properties of embankment fill material used in FE analysis

Subsoil properties Steel making slag-soil mix Natural fill Unit


-
Type of behavior Drained Drained
ϒunsat 1.74 1.60 kg/m3
ϒsat 1.98 2.0 kg/m3
Eref 2800 3000 kN/m2
v 0.27 0.3 -
C 2 1 kN/m2
ф 48 30 Degree
ψ 0 0 Degree
Material model Mohr Columb Mohr Columb -

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Table 3. Properties of subsoil used in FE analysis

Subsoil properties Clay 1 Sand Unit


-
Type of behavior Undrained A Drained
ϒunsat 1.66 1.80 kg/m3
ϒsat 1.73 2.00 kg/m3
Kx 0.04752 .04752 m/day
Ky 0.04752 .04752 m/day
Lamda (λ) .05 - kN/m2
Kappa (κ) .01 - -
C 24 1 kN/m2
Ф 1 30 Degree
Ψ 0 3 Degree
Material model Soft Soil Mohr-Columb -
Table 4 Material properties of Geotextile

Parameter Name Geotextile Unit


Material model Model Elastic -
Natural stiffness EA 50-1500 kN/m

4. Result And Discussion

For the analysis of the embankment, factor of safety is determined by varying reinforcement until the required factor
of safety is achieved. Usually, the factor of safetyof 1.5 with respect to strength can be accepted for the design of
stable slope. The analysis was carried out with a different embankment height of4m,5m,6m and, using the two
filling materials. Stabilization was carried out using of Geotextile ranges from 50kN/m to 1500 kN/m.The Figures
3,4,5,6,7 and 8 shows the deformed mesh of the embankment of height 4m-6m respectively. The Figures
9,10,11,12,13 and 14 shows the total displacement diagram of the embankment of height 4m-6m respectively.

Figure3 : Deformed mesh of 4m height embankment with natural fill (a) without geotextile (b) with geotextile

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Figure4 : Deformed mesh of 4m height embankment with soil-steel making slag mix (a) without geotextile (b) with geotextile

Figure 5: Deformed mesh of 5m height embankment with natural fill (a) without geotextile (b) with geotextile

Figure 6 : Deformed mesh of 5m height embankment with soil- steel making slag mix (a) without geotextile (b) with geotextile

Figure 7 : Deformed mesh of 6m height embankment with natural fill (a) without geotextile (b) with geotextile

Figure8 : Deformed mesh of 6m height embankment with soil-steel making slag mix ( a) without geotextile(b) with geotextile

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Figure 9: Displacement diagram of 4 height embankment with natural fill a) without geotextile b) with geotextile

Figure10 : Displacement diagram of 4 height embankment with soil –steel making slag mix a) without geotextile b) with geotextile

Figure11 : Displacement diagram of 5m height embankment with natural fill a) without geotextile b) with geotextile

Figure12 : Displacement diagram of 5m height embankment with soil-steel making slag mix a) without geotextile b) with geotextile

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Figure13 : Displacement diagram of 6m height embankment with natural fill a) without geotextile b) with geotextile

Figure14 : Displacement diagram of 6m height embankment with soil- steel making slag mix a) without geotextile b) with geotextile

From the stability analysis of reinforced embankment, it was found that the addition of Geotextile increase the
factor of safety hence increases the stability of embankments. It also decreases the settlement in the embankment –
foundation system.Factor of safety and total displacement values of the embankment of height 4 m, 5 m, 6 m are
shown in Table 5, 6 and 7 respectively.
Table 5: Factor of safety and displacement values of 4 m height embankment

Tensile strength of Steel making slag-soil mix Natural fill


Geotextile
Factor of safety Total Displacement Factor of safety Total Displacement

0 1.359 0.2754 1.171 0.353


50 1.593 0.2745 1.333 0.348
100 1.668 0.2737 1.391 0.3352
150 1.747 0.2727 1.393 0.3316
200 1.8 0.2722 1.394 0.3223
250 1.857 0.2713 1.396 0.3163
300 1.909 0.2701 1.397 0.3102
400 1.94 0.2692 1.399 0.3012
500 1.992 0.2682 1.398 0.2923
600 2.02 0.2654 1.396 0.2823
800 2.045 0.2643 1.394 0.2763
1000 2.055 0.2625 1.392 0.2679
1500
2.055 0.2613 1.392 0.2578

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Table 6: Factor of safety and displacement values of 5 m height embankment

Tensile strength of Steel making slag-soil mix Natural fill


Geotextile
Factor of safety Total Displacement Factor of safety Total Displacement

0 1.198 0.3848 0.882 0.6501


50 1.377 0.3822 0.995 0.6489
100 1.484 0.3793 1.123 0.6473
150 1.568 0.3782 1.256 0.6452
200 1.609 0.3773 1.324 0.6429
250 1.668 0.3765 1.338 0.6401
300 1.694 0.3743 1.338 0.5025
400 1.785 0.3719 1.327 0.4887
500 1.825 0.3703 1.324 0.4725
600 1.848 0.3691 1.323 0.4767
800 1.89 0.3668 1.321 0.4718
1000 1.928 0.3643 1.32 0.4702
1500 1.957 0.3615 1.32 0.4695
Table 7: Factor of safety and displacement values of 6 m height embankment

Tensile strength of Steel making slag-soil mix Natural fill


Geotextile
Factor of safety Displacement Factor of safety Displacement

0 0.998 0.6911 0.789 1.01


50 1.279 0.6897 0.932 1.002
100 1.396 0.6865 1.008 0.9989
150 1.463 0.6829 1.134 0.9832
200 1.511 0.6734 1.22 0.9468
250 1.596 0.6549 1.27 0.9201
300 1.597 0.6359 1.286 0.8887
400 1.665 0.6178 1.295 0.8467
500 1.707 0.5962 1.294 0.7954
600 1.722 0.579 1.281 0.6902
800 1.751 0.5552 1.271 0.6534
1000 1.823 0.5331 1.266 0.6342
1500 1.881 0.4981 1.264 0.621

The effect of elastic stiffness of geotextile on the factor of safety of the embankment is shown in Figure 15. It can
be inferred that a factor of safety tends to increase with an increase in Elastic stiffness of geotextile. In the case of
soil-steel making slag mix factor of safety is increased with an increase in the elastic stiffness of the geotextile. In
the case of natural fill material the factor of safety, increase up to a particular value of elastic stiffness (100-300
kN/m) after that it gives the constant value of factor of safety. The variation of total displacement with different
elastic stiffness of the geotextile is shown in Figure 16. Effect of elastic stiffness on horizontal displacement (x–
direction) is shown in Figure17. Effect of elastic stiffness on lateral displacement (y-direction) shown in the Figure

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18. Effect of elastic stiffness on vertical displacement (z-direction) shown in Figure 19. The total displacement,
horizontal displacement, lateral displacement and vertical displacement decreases with an increase in stiffness. It
may be due to strain reduction by geotextile.When the stiffness increase the reduction in the strain also increase so
displacement is reduced. Since the modeling is a plane strain problem the lateral displacement developed during the
analysis is very less and can be negligible. When height increases the weight of the structure increases. Hence, the
displacement also increases with the height. Both soil-steel making slag mix and natural fill material showing the
same trend.

2.3 4m height embankment with soil-steel slag


2.1 mix
5m height embankment with soil-steel slag
1.9 mix
1.7 6m height embankment with soil-steel slag
mix
1.5
Factor of safety

4m height embankment with normal fill


1.3
1.1 5m height embankment with normal fill

0.9 6m height embankment with normal fill


0.7
0.5
0 500 1000 1500 2000
Elastic stiffness of geogrid (kN/m)

Figure 15:Effect of elastic stiffness of geotextile on the factor of safetyof embankment

Figure16: Effect of elastic stiffness of geotextile on total displacement of embankment

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0.5

0.45 4 m height, with soil-steel slag mix


Horizontal displacement (m)

0.4 5 m height, with soil-steel slag mix

6 m height , with soil-steel slag mix


0.35
4 m height, with natural fill
0.3
5 m height, with natural fill
0.25
6 m height with natural fill
0.2

0.15

0.1

0.05

0
0 500 1000 1500 2000
Elastic stiffness of geotextile (kN/m)

Figure 17: Effect of elastic stiffness of geotextile on horizontal displacement (x-direction) of embankment

0.008

0.007 4m height embankment with soil-steel


slag mix
Lateral displacement (m)

0.006 5m height embankment with soil-steel


slag mix
0.005 6m height embankment with soil-steel
slag mix
0.004 4m height embankment with normal
fill
0.003 5m height embankment with normal
fill
0.002
6m height embankment with normal
fill
0.001

0
0 500 1000 1500 2000
Elastic stifnness of geotextile (kN/m)

Figure 18: Effect of elastic stiffness of geotextile on lateral displacement (y-direction ) displacement of embankment

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4m height embankment using soi-
0.2 steel slag mix
0.18 5m height embankment with soil-
0.16 steel slag mix
Vertical displacement (m)

0.14 6m height embankment with soil-


steel slag mix
0.12
4m height embankment with
0.1 normal fill
0.08
5m height embankment with
0.06 normal fill
0.04 6m height embankment with
0.02 normal fill
0
0 500 1000 1500 2000
Elastic stiffnes of geotextile (kN/m)
Figure 19: Effect of elastic stiffness of geotextile on vertical displacement (Z-direction) displacement of embankment

The factor of safety for soil-steel making slag ranges from 0.998-2.025 and is higher than that of natural fill material
(0.882-1.392). Hence, soil-steel making slag is a better material for embankment construction. The factor of safety
increases and total displacement decreases with increases in elastic stiffness of geotextile reinforcement up to 500
kN/m and then becomes constant. Also, same elastic stiffness corresponds to a higher factor of safety and lesser
displacement for soil-steel making slag as compared with natural material.Reinforced embankment with soil-steel
making slag mix was stable even up to a height of 6 m as a factor of safety is more than 1.5. However, embankment
with natural fill was stable only up to 4 m height

Conclusion

 Stability factor obtained for steel making slag-soil mix is higher than that of natural fill material. Hence,
steel making slag-soil material is a better material for highway embankment construction.

 The addition of geotextile increases the factor of safety and decreases the settlement so Geotextile can be
used for stabilization of the embankment. Factor of safety increases with increases in tensile strength of
Geotextile reinforcement.

 Embankment with slag-soil mix is stable upto a 4m height reinforced with Geotextile of tensile strength
500kN/m. Steel making slag-soil filled embankment of 3m height is stable without any reinforcement.
Above 4m height these embankments is not stable even reinforced with Geotextile.

 Embankment with natural fill is not stable even when stabilized with Geotextile.

References

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