Reduction of subgrade fines migration into subbase of flexible pavement using geotextile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Pumping in pavement is defined as traffic-induced migration of saturated subgrade fines into overlying granular layers or onto the surface of the pavement, negatively impacting the performance and service life of the pavement. The objective of this study was to assess the capability of geotextile as a separation and filtration layer in reducing subgrade fines migration. A one-third scale Model Mobile Load Simulator, an accelerated pavement testing device, was used to simulate the cyclic traffic loading on a scaled model of a flexible pavement. The results from three scaled pavement tests were compared to evaluate the effectiveness of geotextile separation and filtration in reducing subgrade fines migration. The three tests had identical configurations, except that a geotextile layer was placed at the interface of subgrade and subbase in one of the tests. The lab testing revealed that, under cyclic traffic conditions, the migration of subgrade fines into subbase was significant. However, using a geotextile at the subgrade-subbase interface significantly reduced the subgrade pumping. At the end of the test, the fines that migrated to the subbase, based on % mass of subbase, were 6.39% in the tests without geotextile and 1.81% in the test with geotextile. An approximately 30% reduction was observed in the amount of pavement rutting when using geotextile at the top of the subgrade. The subgrade soil migration in mass percentage increased with the traffic loading cycles, and more migration occurred in the bottom half than in the top half of the subbase. The study concludes that geotextile can be used as an effective means to reduce pumping of subgrade fines in pavement by providing both separation and filtration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-383
Number of pages7
JournalGeotextiles and Geomembranes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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