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Chapter 1 Introduction
1.1 GENERAL The use of reinforcement in improving the strength parameters of geomaterials has taken momentum due to the availability of variety of synthetic materials at cheaper rates. The basic principles involved in earth reinforcement techniques are simple and have been used by mankind for centuries. One of the essential characteristics of reinforced soil is that it is made with two types of elements, soil grains and reinforcements. The basic mechanism of reinforced earth involves the generation of frictional forces between the soil and reinforcement. By means of friction the soil transfers the forces developed in earth mass to the reinforcement thus developing tension. The earth develops pseudo cohesion in the direction in which reinforcement is placed and the cohesion is proportional to tension developed in reinforcement. 1.2 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1.2.1 Early Practices Soil specially cohesion less material like gravel, sand and coarse silt cannot take even low stress in tension and fails instantaneously. The early man has known this phenomenon from intuition. Men used woven reeds in making sun dried bricks in ancient times even prior to Christian era. Fibrous materials like vines and papyrus are used in earth structures and mud walls in Egypt and Babylon. In the construction of the Great Wall of China where are used extensively, branches of trees were used as reinforcement in the construction of Agar-Quif ziggurat near Baghdad. Romans who developed a high degree of engineering skills in construction to meet the civic needs and military requirements built reed reinforced

ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT earth leaves along the river Tiber. Wharf walls in England also were constructed by Romans using wooden scantling as earth reinforcement. In the last century Col. Palsey introduced reinforced earth for military construction in British army. The Dutch used reinforced earth by faggoting for sea protective works. Fig. Papyrus used for soil reinforcement 1.2.2 Modern Development

The modern approach to reinforced earth techniques was first introduced in France and USA. In 1925, the concept was first introduced by Monster. The structure built was retaining wall with reinforced earth, wood was used as reinforcement. In the early fifties, the French constructed retaining walls constructed of granular fill with membrane. This cladding membrane was anchored with flexible ties. The first major work on reinforced earth was introduced in large scale from 1964 onwards both in USA and Europe and this was followed by detailed experimental and theoretical investigation to study the mechanism of the reinforced earth in France. This programmed was introduced by Henry Vidal and Franois Schlosser and the scientific approach to the study of reinforced earth structures can be said to have opened up since then.

ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT Steel was used as reinforcement in the form of stripes which when exposed to aggressive environment like humidity, access to oxygen and exposure to corrosive agents rusts rapidly. But with the introduction of such manmade fibers like nylon, propylene and other forms of organic stable polymers which can withstand ultra-violet light rays and resistant to acid in industrial applications, the deficiency suffered by steel has greatly been overcome. With the introduction of such manmade fibers which are found to be superior to natural fibers and steel it is now feasible to build reinforced earth structure even in soil and environment aggressive to steel reinforcement.

Fig. Reinforced Soil Wall

1.3 PRINCIPLES OF REINFORCED EARTH Soil mass is generally a discrete system consisting of soil grains and is unable to withstand tensile stresses and this is particularly true in the case of cohesion less soil like sand. Such soils cannot be stable on steep slopes and

ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT relatively large strains will be caused when external loads are imposed on them. Reinforced earth is a composite material, a combination of soil and reinforcement suitably placed to withstand the development of tensile stresses and also to improve the resistance of soil in the direction of greatest stress. The presence of reinforcement modifies the stress filed giving a restraint mostly in the form of friction or adhesion so that less strains are induced and tension is avoided. Inclusions like discrete short fibers placed random or in different layers will also impart additional resistance by way of cohesion and friction, but these are not included in the Vidals concept of reinforced earth. 1.4 EFFECT OF REINFORCEMENT ON SOIL 1.4.1 Force transfer from soil to reinforcement Fig. 1.1 shows cohesion less soil mass reinforced by a flat strip. The force at the two ends of the strip is not same when there is transference of force by friction to the soil mass (Vidal, 1969). This restraint on the soil mass increases the resistance of the soil to failure

under applied stresses and the result interpreted in two related ways. Figure 1.1: Stress Transfer By Soil Reinforcement


1.4.2 Equivalent confining stress concept Fig 1.2 (a) shows the comparison of failure stresses on two soils, one unreinforced and the other reinforced. The increase in the deviator stress is seen to be 3 times Kp, where Kp is the coefficient of passive earth pressure equal to tan (45 + /2) and 3 is the equivalent confining stress on sand imposed by the reinforcement (Yang, 1972).

Figure 1.2 a: Differentiating Stress Pattern among Unreinforced and Reinforced soil

ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT 1.4.3 Pseudo Cohesion Concept This concept (Schlosser and Long, 1974) proposes that the reinforcement induces an anisotropic or pseudo-cohesion to the soil which depends on the spacing and strength of the reinforcement. Fig. 1.2 (b) shows the approach. Figure 1.2b: Equivalent confining Stress Concept

It is necessary that the reinforcement layer must be close enough so that there is effective transfer of stress by friction or adhesion as the case may be and hence the granular soils of high relative density are particularly suitable for use in reinforced earth. The concept outlined above can also hold good for cohesive soils to a very limited extent only since the adhesion of the clay to the reinforcement is small and its effect on reinforcement is small and its effect on restraint doesnt have a multiplying effect as in granular material.



2.1 GENERAL A number of materials have been reported to be successfully used as reinforcements such as steels, geofabrics, geogrids, aluminum, glass fiber, wood, rubber and concrete. In developed countries polypropylene based synthetic fibers and grids are now preferred due to their available with desired properties and durability. However, they are yet to be used widely in India as they are more costly. The reinforcement may take the form of strips, grids, sheet materials, rope and other combinations. The major requirements of the reinforcing materials are strength, durability, ease of handling, high adhesion or friction with soil and availability at low-cost. The man made polymers are highly restraint to bacteria, alkalis and acid. Polyamides have a very good mechanical characteristic including excellent resistance to abrasion and absolute imperviousness to rotting. It can withstand high temperature without its performance being affected. However, their performance deteriorates on wetting. Polyesters have very good resistance to abrasion and its behaviour in water is satisfactory. It has high modulus of elasticity and has only negligible creep. It can also withstand considerable temperature increase. Polypropylene is also rotproof, water and most chemical reagents do not affect its performance. It has only fair resistance to abrasion and is affected by temperature increase. It has only a tendency to creep. However, a majority of geo-fabrics is manufactured from polypropylene. For use as a reinforcing material, the geo-fabrics should possess a high modulus elasticity, low elongation and satisfactory puncture strength. For use as an asphalted overlay material, adsorption qualities may also be essential.

ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT Resistance to ultraviolet radiations and surface conformity should be considered for all jobs. Soil has been used as a construction material from times immortal. Being poor in mechanical properties, it has been putting challenge to civil engineers to improve its properties depending upon the requirement which varies from site to site and economic constraints.

Fig: Steel reinforcement for soil

Fig: Geofabrics, geogrids and geonet used for soil

Fig: Glass fiber for soil reinforcement



There are many available techniques for improving the mechanical properties of soil. The technique employed to improve the engineering and mechanical properties of soil, can be put into five major categories. They are as following:2.2.1 SOIL STABILISATION 2.2.2 REINFORCED EARTH 2.2.3 SOIL NAILING 2.2.4 TEXSOL 2.2.5 FIBRE REINFORCED SOIL
(2.2.1) Soil Stabilisation: There are two primary methods of soil stabilization;

Mechanical and chemical or additive. The soil stabilization means the improvement of stability or bearing power of the soil by the use of controlled compaction, proportioning and/or the addition of suitable admixture or stabilizers. Basic Principles of Soil Stabilization are as following: Evaluating the properties of given soil. Deciding the lacking property of soil and choose effective and economical method of soil stabilization. Designing the Stabilized soil mix for intended stability and durability values.



(2.2.2) Reinforced earth: Reinforced soil is composite material which is formed by the associating of frictional soil and tension resistant elements in the form of sheets, strips, nets or mats of metal and arranged in the soil mass in such a way as to reduce or suppress the tensile strain which might develop Under gravity and boundary forces.




ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT (2.2.3) Soil Nailing: Soil nailing ( shown in figure 2.1 and 2.2) consists of the passive reinforcement (i.e., no post-tensioning) of existing ground by installing closely spaced steel bars (i.e., nails), which are subsequently encased in grout. As construction proceeds from the top to bottom, shotcrete or concrete is also applied on the excavation face to provide continuity. Soil nailing is typically used to stabilize existing slopes or excavations where top-to-bottom construction is advantageous compared to other retaining wall systems.

Fig : Soil Nailing on larger area

Fig : Soil Nailing on smaller area

(2.2.4) Texsol: Texsol is a new geotechnical material in which soil is reinforced by continuous threads. It can be considered to be a composite made of sand and continuous threads of synthetic fibers. To obtain such a material, a number of threads are pneumatically of hydraulically projected on sand in a movement at the extremity of conveyer belt or vent of a pipe used to build a hydraulic fill.



Fig: Texsol fiber reinforced soil retaining wall (2.2.5) Fiber Reinforced Soil (Ply Soil) : Randomly distributed fiber reinforced soil termed as RDFS is among the latest ground improvement techniques in which fibers of desired type and quantity are added in the soil, mixed randomly and laid in position after compaction. Thus the method of preparation of RDFS is similar to conventional stabilization techniques. RDFS is different from the other soil reinforcing method in its orientation. In Reinforced earth the reinforcement in the form of strips, sheets etc is laid horizontally at specific intervals whereas in RDFS fibers are mixed randomly in soil thus making a homogeneous mass and maintain the isotropy in strength. Modern geotechnical engineering has focused on the use of planar reinforcement ( eg. Metal strips, sheets of synthetic fabrics ). However reinforcing of soil with discrete fibers is still a relatively new technique in geotechnical projects. Concepts involving the reinforcement of soils using fibers have been used since ancient times. For example, early civilizations added straws and plant roots to soil bricks to improve their properties, although the reinforcing mechanism may have not been fully understood. While building the Great Wall of China, the clay


ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT soil was mixed with tamarisk branches. The ancient method of addition of straw of wheat locally called Turi to the clay mud plaster is still very popular in villages. Improvement of soil by trees roots is similar to the work fibers. Synthetic fibers have been used since the late 1980s, when the initial studies using polymeric fibers were conducted. Specially, triaxial compression tests, unconfined compression tests, direct shear tests and CBR tests had been conducted to study the effect of fiber reinforcement on strength characteristics and other engineering properties of RDFS. During last twenty five years, much work has been done on strength deformation behavior of RDFS and it has been established beyond doubt that addition of fiber in soil improves the overall engineering performance of soil. Among the notable properties that improve are greater extensibility, small loss of post peak strength, isotropy in strength and absence of planes of weakness.

Fig: Polypropylene strands to be mixed with soil



Fig: Geofibers mixed with subgrade soil to raise its density

2.3 BASIC MECHANISM OF FIBER REINFORCED SOIL Randomly oriented discrete inclusion incorporated into soil improves its load deformation behavior by interacting with the soil particles mechanically through surface friction and also by interlocking. The function of the bond or interlock is to transfer the stress from soil to the discrete inclusion by mobilizing the tensile strength of discrete inclusions. Thus,fiber reinforcement works as frictional and tension resistance element. 2.4 ADVANTAGES OF FIBER REINFORCED SOIL Randomly distributed fiber reinforced soil (RDFS ) offers many advantages as listed below: Increased shear strength with maintenance of strength isotropy. Beneficial for all types of soil ( i.e. sand, silt and clay ). Reduced post peak strength loss. Increased ductility.


ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT Increased seismic performance. No catastrophic failure. Great potential to use natural or waste material such as coir fibers, shredded tire and recycled waste plastic strips and fibers. Provide erosion control and facilitate vegetation development. Reduce shrinkage and swell pressure of expansive soil. No appreciable change in permeability. Unlike lime, cement and other chemical stabilization method the construction using fiber reinforcement is not significantly affected by weather conditions. Fiber reinforcement has been reported to be helpful in eliminating the shallow failure on the slope face and thus reducing the cost of maintenance. 2.5 TYPES OF FIBERS Fibers can be classified broadly in two categories; Synthetic fiber and Natural fiber. Some commonly used fibers are; Coconut fiber, Jute fiber, Cotton fiber, Wool fiber, Asbestos fiber, Polyester fiber, Polyamide fiber, Polypropylene fiber, Rubber fiber, Metallic fiber and Glass fiber. 2.5.2 Synthetic Fibers: Various types of synthetic fibers are polypropylene, nylon, plastic, glass, asbestos etc. They are generally prefer over natural fiber due to higher strength and resistance. They are resistant to acidic, alkaline, chemicals, sea water and have high melting point ( 165 o C ). They also show a great biological resistance and some are prone to fire. Important properties of them are versatility, excellent, chemical resistance, low density, high melting point and moderate cost.



Fig: Synthetic Fibers

2.5.2 Natural Fibers: Natural fibers are environment friendly and biodegradable. Most of these fibers are found and tested to lose their strength to alternate wetting and drying environment but some like coir are very strong. Various types of natural fibers available in India are coir, sisal, jute, bhabar, hemp, munja, bamboo and banana. Natural fibers have poor resistance to alkaline environment.

Fig: Natural Fibers The fiber has the character of high strength, and it can be mixed easily with soil in uniform. At the same time, the fiber will not form a potential


ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT weakness surface in the structure of soil. The process that it play the role on soil is physical, so the basic chemical properties and physical structure do not change significantly, without affecting the soil environment. In recent years, fiber reinforced soil is used in geotechnical engineering frequently and it was widely used in the dam projects, road works, waste sanitary landfill liner and so on. 2.6 DIRECTION OF PLACEMENT Fibers can be oriented or randomly mixed in soil. In oriented category, the inclusions are placed within the soil at specific positions and direction where as in random category, inclusions, are mixed with soil and placed within the probable shear zone. The concept of randomly reinforced soil is comparatively new in the geotechnical field. French ministry of public works uses Texsol as RDFS. In the field placing the fibers at some orientation is a tedious job. In reinforced soil the added material (the Geo synthetic sheet, etc) is layered at specific direction and position, which may keep the soil weaken in some other direction. Whereas in ply soil, the isotropy in strength is maintained. Random reinforcement have been provided to different type of soils in form of mesh elements, discrete fibers, continuous yarn/filament (Texsol) metallic power, waste tire chips, waste plastic strips, etc by various investigators.




3.1 GENERAL Fibers mixed with the soil particles uniformly, the strength of the composite soil is increased. Polypropylene fibers in a random distribution put in fly ash studied through dynamic triaxial tests with different fiber content, load and confining pressure. Taesoon Park analyzed strength properties and stability of polypropylene staple fiber for the backfill body and the retaining wall. The effect of the type, length and content of fiber reinforcement strengthening on soil. The shear test, tensile test, fracture toughness test and determination of hydraulic fracturing were also studied on polypropylene fiber reinforced clay. Certain efforts were put on to research the resistance capacity of tensile cracks of polypropylene fiber reinforced clay soil under static and dynamic load. Some research came up with the assumption that mixing distributed polypropylene fibers into the lime soil, in order to solve the problem of soil filling Lime-induced brittle failure. And unconfined compression test, shear test, swelling test and shrinkage test were carried out with kinds of soil samples under different fiber and lime content. Strength properties and reinforcement mechanism were studied through the conventional triaxial test under the condition of untrained and unconsolidation. Triaxial tests were carried out with different length and content of the polypropylene fiber reinforced on red clay. From analysis of existing research results, it is concluded that the unconfined compressive strength, dynamic strength and the ability of resistance to liquefaction were improved obviously when the soil mixed with fibers. Synthetic soil significantly increased the cohesion of the soil, improved soil shear strength, and the mechanical properties of reinforced soil are


ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT isotropic. At the same time the fiber reinforced soil would not present a typical pull damage and adhesion destruction .It has the characteristic of plastic failure. The mechanism of continuous fiber randomly distributed on the soil summarized as "bending mechanism" and " interleaving mechanism." Bending mechanism is that fiber in the distribution of the soil is composed of numerous curved transitions. When the soil withstood external force, the fiber is in tension, the pressure and friction of soil particles are produced by the earlier concave side of curved fiber, which play the role on soil (Figure 3.1). Interleaving mechanism is that there are numerous interwoven fibers points due to random distribution fibers in the soil. When the fibers are forced at the intersection, they will have the trend of displacement, at that moment the trend will be meet by the other fiber to prevent such displacement. That is any deformation of the fiber will affect the fibers which were interwoven in all directions and form the force area (Figure 3.2).

Fig: Bending Mechanism

Fig: Interleaving Mechanism



Fig: Relationship of Stress-Strain on fiber reinforced soil

Fig: The Relationship of Fiber Content strength on fiber reinforced soil


CHARACTERISTICS OF ENGINEERING PROPERTIES OF RDFS. The factors on which the strength characteristics and other engineering properties of RFDS depend are as following: (i) Type of soil it includes soil gradation expressed in terms of mean grain size (D50) and uniformity coefficient (Cu). (ii) Type of fiber: Monofilament or fibrillated (iii) Denier of fiber: It is the weight (in gm) of 9000 m long fiber. (iv) Fiber length (v) Aspect ratio: It is defined as the ratio of the length of fiber to its diameter (vi) Fiber soil surface friction.


ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT 3.3 THE CONSTITUTIVE OF FIBER REINFORCED SOIL The methods of calculation and analysis on the reinforced soil is divided into two categories currently. One approach is separeted model. The one-dimensional linear or a thin layer of rectangular element were used in simulation, so the constitutive model could be used with the no-reinforced soil. Another approach is that establishing composite model of the reinforced soil. The core is that composite material was put on macro. The idea that considering the constitutive relationship is more intuitive and applied widely in reinforced soil. But the fiber reinforced soil is three dimensional, and the interface between the fiber and soil could not be isolated. It was proposed that the reinforcement effect can be considered as an additional compressive stress on the soil skeleton. The method is called equivalentadditional stress. The equivalent additional stress method does not require the introduction of new models, also reflect the anisotropy of the fiber reinforced soil. But in some cases, the scale factor is difficult to fix. Nowadays the study of constitutive on the fiber of reinforced soil is not enough. So how to choose a reasonable model needs further exploration.


THE FIBER REINFORCED SOIL The particularly factors affecting characteristics of the fiber reinforced soil is important to study so as to take full advantage of fiber reinforcing effect. Certain experiments were carried out to study the effect of fiber parameters reflecting the characteristics of the fiber reinforced soil. The factors of strength properties of fiber reinforced soil could be considered from the following aspects:-


ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT (1) Physical and mechanical properties of fiber itself. The friction generated among the contact area is greater and the effect of fiber reinforced is better when the contact area between fiber and soil particles is greater. The surface area can be changed by changing the shape of the fiber and nowadays the shapes of fiber on the market are "C", "J", "I", "Y", "+" types, etc. The problem is how to select the shape of fiber. At the same time, its studies found that the toughness of fiber has a certain relationship with the strength of the fiber reinforced soil. A reasonable choice of fiber shape and toughness is critical on properties.

(2) Differences of filling on the reinforcing effect is significant, the friction bite force between different types of soil particle and the continuous distribution fiber is different, thereby the effectiveness of reinforcement is different so it is important to choose the filling.

(3) Fiber content is closely related to strength and stability of the composite soil. With the increasing of fiber content, strength and stability of the composite soil will improve ,then peak and eventually decline. At the same time the best amount of reinforcement directly influence the economy of the fiber soil.

(4) The length of fiber affects the properties of fiber reinforced soil. the current research is lack of uniform understanding on the mechanism of fiber length so it needs to be explored in depth.

(5) The moisture of the fiber reinforced soil has influence on characteristics. The reinforced soil lubrication increased between the soil particles and the fiber when the water content is too high, the further step is that cohesion and internal friction angle drop lower. At the same time, compaction of soil is difficult, resulting in


ENGINEERING ASPECT OF SOIL REINFORCEMENT "spring" effect. On opposition, when water content is too low, the bond among the filling will be affected. When the fiber reinforced soil used in engineering practice, a reasonable choice of the construction environment is directly related to project quality.