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What is Embankment?
- An artificial barrier that is designed to hold back water or to
support a roadway, railway or canal. These man-made mounds
mainly consist of stones, rocks, and earth. Most have sloping
sides, much like small hills, and theyre typically longer then
they are tall.
- They can come in a range of sizes: some, like those supporting
creeks or irrigation ditches, are small, whereas those creating
stability for major canals and the ships coursing through them
tend to be quite large. While these barriers no matter their size
can help steady and support their surroundings, they arent
usually immune from environmental impacts.

Water Retention
One of the main purposes of these sorts of
structures is to hold back water in order to prevent
flooding from seas, lakes, or rivers onto adjacent
land. In many cases they provide protection to
lower-lying grounds by acting as a levee as well.
The barrier helps to confine the movement of water
by allowing it to flow faster and higher without
overflowing, and also allows for at least some
manipulation when it comes to where and how much
water is coursing at any given time.

A related, albeit different, purpose is to aid in
transportation. A transportation embankment
isnt necessarily related to water, though it can
be. Some of the most popular urban examples
surround roadways that have been carved out of
hills and prevent the land from shifting and
sliding, making travel much safer. This sort of
structure can also be used to support lowlands,
such as valleys, that may need to be crossed.

Materials and Creation

Most embankments are built as to be immune to surface
erosion, and their core components usually help to prevent
deterioration. These hill-like structures are filled in a variety of
ways. The makeup generally varies according to what it will be
used for.
In most instances, these sloping walls are either earth or rockfilled. An earth-filled barrier usually is the simpler of the two,
consisting mainly of earth and natural materials.

Soil is an abundant construction material that, similar to concrete, has high

compressive strength but virtually no tensile strength. To overcome this
weakness, soils, like concrete, may be reinforced.
The materials typically used to reinforce soil are relatively light and flexible,
and though extensible, possess high tensile strength. Examples of such
materials include thin steel strips and polymeric materials commonly known as
geosynthetics. (geotextiles and geogrids)

The increase in strength of the reinforced earth structure allows for the
construction of steep slopes, embankment over soft foundation, or
various types of retaining walls. Compared with all other alternatives,
geosynthetic reinforced soils structures are cost-effective.
As a result, earth structures reinforced with geosynthetics are being
constructed worldwide with increased frequency, even in permanent and
critical applications.

Historically, practically every material known to man has been used to reinforce
or separate embankments and roadways on/from soft foundation materials.
In the past four decades there has been continued development of high
performance geotextiles or synthetics products that have proven to be more
economical, easier to handle, stronger and longer lasting than traditionally used
construction materials.
These geotextiles must resist a range of acid and basic soils and liquids including
ultra violet light and creep under sustained loads for long periods of time.

Design for Soil Reinforcement

For reinforced soil applications a single layer, or multiple layers, of geosynthetic
reinforcement are used to provide stability, and reduce deformations, in
geotechnical structures. Geosynthetic reinforcement is used for a variety of
reinforced soil applications, the most common are:
Here, a layer of geosynthetic reinforcement is
placed at the base of an embankment
constructed over soft foundation soils to
improve the stability of the embankment. The
presence of the geosynthetic reinforcement
enables the embankment to be constructed
higher, and with steeper side slopes, than
would be the case if no reinforcement was

reinforcement is placed at the base of
an embankment over a pile foundation
platform to improve the stability, and
combination with the pile foundation
platform enables the embankment to
be constructed to any height, at any
rate, without instability and settlement

Here, a layer of geosynthetic

reinforcement is placed at the base
of an embankment over a foundation
that is prone to the formation of
voids, to prevent instability and
excessive localised settlements, to
the embankment. The presence of
formation does not lead to distress at
the surface of the embankment.

Various geotextile deployment schemes for stabilizing steep soil

embankments on firm foundations

Pattern (a) is

The uneven spacing pattern of (b) reflects those cases

where stresses are higher in the lower regions of the
slope than in the top.

The short edge strips shown in (c) and (d), sometimes called secondary
reinforcement, represent compaction aids, necessary since high compaction at the
edge of the slope is difficult to achieve. These short geotextile layers also eliminate
shallow sloughing failures between widely spaced reinforcement layers. Note that all
of these schemes require the embankment to be built at the same time as placement
of the geotextile proceeds; that is, they are not in situ stabilization schemes.

Geotextile reinforced embankments have been shown to be a practical expedient in many

situations. When reinforced, slope heights and/or angles can be significantly increased over
the nonreinforced situation. Designwise, the process involves modifications to limit
equilibrium procedures that are within the realm of geotechnical engineering practice and
seem to be a rational approach.

Limit Equilibrium Design. The usual geotechnical engineering approach to slopestability problems is to use limit equilibrium concepts on an assumed circular arc failure
plane, thereby arriving at an equation for the factor of safety.
The resulting equations for a circular arc failure for total stresses and effective stresses,
respectively are.

On the factor of safety in

reinforced soil structures
Limit equilibrium analysis deals with systems that are on the verge
of failure. However, existing slopes are stable. To analyze such
slopes, the concept of factor of safety, Fs, has been introduced.
In unreinforced slopes, Fs is used to replace the existing soil with
an artificial one.

Effective Stress

Where water and saturated soil are

involved- conditions typical of earth
dams and delta areas involving
fine-grained cohesive soils.

(Greater than

Total Stress Analysis Equation

Recommended for embankments where water is not involved or when the soil is at less than
saturation conditions.

These equations are tedious to solve, and when additional consideration is given to
finding the minimum value of factor of safety by varying the radius and coordinates
of the origin of the circle, the process becomes unbearable to do by hand.
Fortunately, many computer programs exist that either include, or can readily be
modified to include the contribution of the geotextile reinforcement.

For fine-grained cohesive soils whose shear strength can be estimated by undrained
conditions, the entire analysis becomes quite simple.
Here slices need to be taken, since the soil strength does not depend on the normal force on
the shear plane.

Drystone Retaining Walls: Design, Construction and

By Paul F. McCombie, Jean-Claude Morel, Denis Garnier

Red Rim, Wyoming petition evaluation

document/environmental impact Statement Volume 1