Numerical study on maximum reinforcement tensile forces in geosynthetic reinforced soil bridge abutments

Yewei Zheng, Patrick J. Fox, John S. McCartney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This paper presents a numerical study of maximum reinforcement tensile forces for geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) bridge abutments. The backfill soil was characterized using a nonlinear elasto-plastic constitutive model that incorporates a hyperbolic stress-strain relationship with strain softening behavior and the Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion. The geogrid reinforcement was characterized using a hyperbolic load-strain-time constitutive model. The GRS bridge abutments were numerically constructed in stages, including soil compaction effects, and then loaded in stages to the service load condition (i.e., applied vertical stress = 200 kPa) and finally to the failure condition (i.e., vertical strain = 5%). A parametric study was conducted to investigate the effects of geogrid reinforcement, backfill soil, and abutment geometry on reinforcement tensile forces at the service load condition and failure condition. Results indicate that reinforcement vertical spacing and backfill soil friction angle have the most significant effects on magnitudes of maximum tensile forces at the service load condition. The locus of maximum tensile forces at the failure condition was found to be Y-shaped. Geogrid reinforcement parameters have little effect on the Y-shaped locus of the maximum tensile forces when no secondary reinforcement layers are included, backfill soil shear strength parameters have moderate effects, and abutment geometry parameters have significant effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-645
Number of pages12
JournalGeotextiles and Geomembranes
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Materials Science
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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