Numerical Studies on Dynamic Behavior of Reinforced Soil Retaining Walls

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Applications of reinforced soil retaining walls have increased enormously in last three decades. Satisfactory performances of reinforced soil retaining structures during recent earthquakes, in comparison with conventional retaining walls, are reported by several researchers. However, some failures of reinforced soil structures during earthquake are also reported. Thus, dynamic behavior of reinforced soil retaining walls is of research interest to several researchers. Most studies conducted by different researchers, using small scale laboratory studies and numerical analyses, mainly focused on parameters like: wall displacements, backfill settlements, lateral earth pressures, reinforcement loads and acceleration amplifications. But, very little was reported in literature on the strain behavior of soil and reinforcement. The objective of the present research programme is to investigate the seismic response of reinforced soil retaining walls (RSRW) through numerical simulations to provide insight on their behavior with different wall configurations subjected to different excitations. The main focus is to determine the strains developed in backfill soil and reinforcement members and to compare with horizontal and vertical displacements along the backfill for determining probable deformation zones within the backfill. To achieve the objective, numerical models for two types of reinforced soil wall systems are developed using a finite difference method software FLAC3D (Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua 3D). Flexible wrap-faced and full height rigid-faced walls are considered for the study. Initially, numerical models of laboratory scale walls, reported in literature, are developed for validation. Validated numerical models are then extended for simulating full scale models for extensive parametric studies with idealized sinusoidal excitation.
Supervisor: A. Murali Krishna