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This chapter presents a comprehensive review of the previous research work done by
various investigators in the area of soil-geosynthetics interaction properties. To evaluate
interaction properties is an important factor for the proper design and performance of
reinforced structure. There are two laboratory methods are commonly used for
determination of interaction properties of soil and geosynthetics, they are pullout test.

2.2 Soil-Geosynthetic Interaction
Soil-geosynthetic interaction is the most utmost importance in several applications of
geosynthetics, especially when they act as soil reinforcement. Soil reinforcement consists
of placement of elements duly oriented in the soil, which, by their character improve the
mechanical properties of the new material (reinforced soil) as compared to unreinforced

The main target of reinforcement is to inhibit the development of tensile strains in the
soils and consequently to support the tensile stresses that the soil cant withstand. The
tensile stress supported by reinforcement improves the soil mechanical properties by
reducing the shear stress that has to be carried by the soil and by increasing its available
shearing resistance, as the normal stress acting on potential shear surfaces increases. The
effectiveness of reinforcement depends on its alignment, it being most effective when
aligned in the direction of tensile strain in the soil, so that tensile reinforcement stress
develops (McGown et al., 1978; Jewell and Wroth, 1987; Jewell, 1996).
The behaviour of reinforced soil depends on several factors. The shear strength of the
reinforced soil relies on the mobilized shear resistance in the soil and the mobilized
tensile stress in the reinforcement, the relative values of these mobilized shear resistances
are dependent on the deformation properties of the soil and reinforcement. On the other
hand, the rate of mobilization of reinforcement tensile stress is determined by its stress-
strain properties and, to prevent failure, the maximum mobilized tensile stress cannot
exceed the reinforcement bond stress.

The granular soils are widely considered in the studies of soil-geosynthetic interactions
because fill materials used are usually of that type and their characteristics are
determinant on the effectiveness of soil-geosynthetic interaction. Strength and stiffness of
the granular soils are extremely dependent on density. Dense soils show greater stiffness
and resistance because of greater grain interlocking. During soil shearing when the inter-
grain sliding starts, the mobilized forces (due to the rearrangement of grains) can be high
if the soil is dense: on the other hand, inter-granular friction forces are almost
independent of soil density. When the shear pro-cess starts, the void ratio of dense soils is
lower than the critical value, and shear stresses induce volume increase. For small
deformations, the stress-strain curve of dense soils shows a peak (maximum strength) that
depends on volume increase and initial density. For large deformations, when grain
interlocking is cancelled, the soil void ratio is equal to the critical value and the soil
strength is constant (soil strength at a constant volume).
At the beginning of shearing of loose soils, the void ratio is greater than the critical value
and the shear stresses induce volume reduction. The soil stress--strain curve does not
show a peak. Maximum soil strength is equal to soil strength at a constant volume of
dense soils and is mobilized at large deformations, when the void ratio of the soil equals
its critical value. Besides the density. Other factors can influence the behaviour of
granular soils, such as confinement stress, grain shape and size distribution. An increase
in the confinement stress leads to a reduction in the soil critical void ratio implying a
decrease in the soil dilatant behaviour and an approach of its peak and constant volume
strengths. The grain shape and size distribution can affect the soil density as denser or
looser arrangements of particles are determined by them. Although grain size is not very
important in relation to the behaviour of granular soils, it is of the utmost relevance in
soil-geosynthetic inter-action mechanism, especially when the geosynthetic is a geogrid.
It must be emphasized that the characteristics that influence granular soil behaviour on
reinforced soil do not change; however, its strength is improved by the presence of
reinforcement especially when it is aligned in a direction of tensile strain in the soil, so
that tensile reinforcement stress develops (McGown et al., 1978).

Although factors such as the geometry of a reinforced soil system and the process of its
construction can influence the soil-reinforcement inter-action properties, they are strongly
determined by the interaction mechanism, the physical and mechanical properties of soil
(density, grain shape and size. grain Size distribution, water content. etc.) and the
mechanical properties, shape and geometry of reinforcements. Three mechanisms of
interaction can be identified in reinforced systems: friction along the
2. soil-soil friction, 3. Passive thrust on the bearing members of the reinforcement.
Skin friction is the only mechanism with geotextiles and strips. In the case of geogrids,
the passive thrust on the bearing members of the grids must also be considered as soil-
soil friction if relative movement occurs in the soil along the grids' apertures. Shear
strength mobilization between granular soils and geotextiles is a two-dimensional
phenomenon, where soil dilatance is allowed, strongly affected by the extensibility of
geotextiles. In the case of strips, the phenomenon is three-dimensional and greatly
dependent on the characteristics of soil dilatance and on the roughness of the
reinforcement surfaces. In fact the volume of soil shearing around the reinforcement is
influenced by its geometry and roughness. With regard to geogrids, the phenomenon can
also be considered three-dimensional, mobilizing skin friction for small displacements
and progressively mobilizing the passive thrust on the bearing members of the grid as
displacement increases. Figure 2.1 shows the stress distribution in the cases of free soil
dilatance (two-dimensional phenomenon) and restricted soil dilatance (three-dimensional
phenomenon). Since geogrids are less extensible than geotextiles, the improvement in
soil strength and the mobilization of shear resistance along the interface with the soil
increase when the reinforcement used is a geogrid.


Initial conditions Stress conditions during shear

Initial conditions Stress conditions during shear
Fig.2.1 Stress conditions in reinforced soil; (a) free dilatance; (b) restricted dilatance
(Hayashi et al., 1994)

Fig. 2.2 Force distribution along the reinforcement (Jewel et al. 1984)

The stability of reinforced soil is strongly related to the effectiveness of stress
transference from soil to reinforcement, which is dependent on the available
reinforcement length to shear. In fact, as shown in Fig. 2.2 for reinforced slopes, the
reinforcement length beyond the failure line must be enough to mobilize the required
shear stresses to balance the maximum tensile force of reinforcement. The ratio of stress
mobilization is affected by the resistance of the soil-reinforcement interface. As stated
above, with geotextiles and strips only the skin friction mechanism contributes to soil-
geosynthetic interface resistance. However with geogrids two other interaction
mechanisms must be added: the passive thrust mobilization on the bearing members of
the grid, and the soil-soil friction, in ease of relative displacement in the soil along the
grid apertures. Figure 2.4 shows the soil-geogrid interaction mechanisms. Two relative
movements can be responsible for the mobilization of strength in soil-reinforcement
(a) A block of soil slides across one side of the reinforcement that is linked on the other
side to the other block of soil (direct sliding),
(b) The reinforcement moves in relation to the surrounding soil (pull-out).
In the first case, when the shear strength of the soil-reinforcement interface is exceeded,
the failure occurs by direct shear and in the second case by pullout. In each case, the soil-
reinforcement interface coefficient f has a different definition as will be seen below.
Soil-reinforcement interface shear strength can be defined as:
T = 2WLn f tan ()
with 0 < f < 1.1 being the soil-reinforcement interface coefficient. The soil friction angle
in terms of effective stresses (peak or at constant volume depending on the soil density).
At the effective normal stress in the interface, and W and L, the width and the length of
the reinforcement respectively.

Fig. 2.4 Soil-geogrid interaction mechanisms: (a) shear between soil and plane surfaces;
And (b) soil bearing on reinforcement surfaces (Jewel et al. 1984)

Several researchers have carried out the pull-out tests of reinforcements in soils (Ingold,
1983; Rowe et al., 1985; Bergado et al. 1987; Juran, 1988; Fannin and Raju, 1993;
Farrag, 1993; Bergado et al., 1992; Mallick et al., 1995; Lopes and Ladira 1996; and
Ochiai et al., 1996). These pull-out tests were originally carried out for the purpose of
clarifying the pull-out mechanism of the reinforced soils. The method of preparing the
sample, soil utilized, reinforcement material, testing procedure and the size of the pull-
out test apparatus were among the factors studied. A comparative study was conducted by
Juran et al. (1988), but because of the different test conditions such as soils and apparatus
used in each test, their studies were restricted to qualitative rather than quantitative basis.
The results of pull-out tests have been used for investigating the mechanism and
evaluating the design and analysis parameters of reinforced soil structures. The test
conditions are very important for the determination of these parameters. The interaction
between soil and reinforcement is frequently evaluated in terms of apparent interface
friction factor evaluated from the pullout tests as recommended by Ingold, 1983; Rowe et
al. 1985; Juran, 1988; and Christopher, 1988.
Rowe et al. (1985) evaluated the soil-geosynthetic interface strength properties of
geosynthetics in conventional granular fill and light weight (saw dust) fill. They
conducted series of direct shear tests and pull-out tests, which were performed to
determine these properties for a number of different geotextiles and geogrids in both
granular fill and saw dust. For both woven and non-woven fabrics, the interface friction
angle () was the same in both direct shear and pull-out modes. But for geogrid Tensar
SR2, the interface friction angle () measured by direct shear test was essentially the
same as that of the soil (i.e. = = 30
), and the interface friction angle measured by
pull-out test was significantly lower (i.e. = 18

Bergado et al. (1987) performed pullout and direct shear test on polymer geogrids and
bamboo with clayey sand and weathered clay for the determination of interaction
properties and for the application of results to a case study. Results are also compared
with design procedure developed and found to be good agreement with test results.
Bamboo grids were observed to have higher pull-out resistance per unit area than the
polymer geogrids. Moreover, the cohesive fill proved to be quite effective when used
with geogrid reinforcement. Pullout setup is made of reinforced concrete which is open at
the top and front. Dimensions are 0.8 m wide by 1.0 m long and 0.9 cm high with two
steel columns fixed in each side of the cell. The pull-out resistance of the geogrids using
cohesive backfill consists of adhesion between the soil and the reinforcement on the solid
surface area (plan area) of the geogrids as well as the bearing capacity of the soil in front
all transverse members. For the case study, it was proven that the geogrid reinforced
embankment has improved the stability of soil slopes with cohesive backfill.

Bergado et al. (1992) conducted pull-out tests of steel geogrids in weathered clay, and
compared the laboratory and field pull-out test results. The laboratory pull-out tests were
conducted on various reinforcement sizes, mesh geometry, and compaction conditions of
the weathered clay. The field pull-out tests provided higher pull-out resistance than the
laboratory tests. The total pull-out resistance of the geogrids is the combination of the
frictional resistance and the passive bearing resistance. Though the tests were conducted
with steel geogrids, they provided the effect of cohesive nature of the soils and provided
the necessary formulations for passive bearing resistance for cohesive soils. The passive
bearing resistance (Fb) was related to the bearing capacity factors in the Terzaghi-
Buisman bearing capacity equation.

Juran et al. (1993) aimed to develop the reliable testing procedures and interpretation
schemes in evaluation of the short-term and long-term pull-out performance of
geosynthetic reinforcements. In this process the author had conducted series of test on
geogrid and blasting sand to find the influence of the test type, confining pressure, soil
density, boundary conditions, specimen width, effect of transverse ribs, strain rate and
geotextile characteristics on pull-out load-displacement response. The inner dimensions
of the pull-out box are 1.52 m (60 in) long, 0.90 m (36 in) wide and 0.76 m (30 in) high.
From the experimental data author had concluded few important things they are, side
frictions on the side walls of the box decrease the peak pull out load. A minimum of
15cm (6 in) of clearance is required to minimize side wall effect. High displacement rates
affect both the pullout load and the displacement distribution along the reinforcement.
Pull-out resistance is developed by a combination of the passive resistance developed
along the transverse ribs and interface shear mobilized along the geogrid. The increase in
relative density and confining pressures leads in increase in peak load.
Lopes and Ladira (1996) performed series of pull-out test to investigate the effect of
confining pressure, soil density and displacement rate on the pullout resistance of
geogrid. Dimension of pull-out box were used 1.53 m length, 1 m width, 0.8 m height.
The author concluded that an increase in confinement stress, soil density or displacement
rate increases the pull-out resistance of geogrid. The increases the pull-out resistance
when confinement stress increases is not in proportion to the increase in the normal stress
because there is a reduction in the adherence factor. When the soil density increases the
interface stiffness modulus and the pull-out resistance also increases and length of
adherence reduces. The pullout resistance also increase if displacement rate increases
result from the increment of the soil-geogrid interface stiffness.

Ochiai et al. (1996) performed the tests of geogrid in uniform fine sand to evaluate the
pull-out resistance from pull-out tests. Both field and laboratory pull-out tests were
carried out in order to clarify the pull-out mechanism, and to determine the parameters
needed for design and analysis of the reinforced soil structures. Two evaluation methods
were defined in order to evaluate the pull-out resistance. Those were: the Mobilizing
process method and the Average resistance method. Based on the pull-out mechanism,
the Average resistance method was further sub-divided in to three methods which are
called the Total area method, the Effective area method and the Maximum slope method.
For practical use, the pull-out test with small vertical stress is recommended, together
with the total area method, for evaluating the average resistance from the test results
(Ochiai et al., 1996).

Many researchers have discussed the importance of using the coefficient of interaction
(Ci) as a design parameter (Cowell et al., 1993; Koutsourais et al., 1998; Tatlisoz et al.,
1998). According to these researchers, the coefficient of interaction is the ratio of
interface strength between the soil and reinforcement to shear strength of the soil. Cowell
et al. (1993) evaluated the soil interaction coefficients of geotextiles and geogrids in sand,
the Ci values ranged from 0.8 to 1.0. However, Koutsourais et al. (1998) evaluated the
coefficient of interaction (Ci) of geotextiles and geogrids in clay, and they obtained Ci
values that ranged from 0.5 to 0.9. Tatlisoz et al. (1998) studied the interaction between
reinforcing geosynthetics and soil-tire chip mixtures. In their study, they evaluated the
coefficient of interaction for different geosynthetics with different soil combinations. The
Ci values obtained in the study ranged from 0.3 to 1.5. An interaction coefficient greater
than unity (Ci > 1) indicates that there is an efficient bond between the soil and the
geosynthetic and that the interface strength between the soil and the reinforcement is
greater than shear strength of the soil (Tatlisoz et al., 1998). Similarly, if the interaction
coefficient is less than 0.5 (Ci < 0.5) indicates weak bonding between soil and
geosynthetic or breakage of geosynthetic layer (Tatlisoz et al., 1998).

Madhav and Umashankar (2002) have given a new approach for the analysis of sheet
reinforcement subjected to transverse force. They assumed a simple Winkler type
response for the ground and the reinforcement was assumed to be inextensible and then
the resistance to transverse force is estimated. A relation is established between pull-out
resistance and transverse free end displacement. They have concentrated to understand
the effect of intersection of reinforcement by failure surface at an oblique angle.

Abadi and Arjomand (2011) presents the results of pullout tests aimed at studying the
interaction of clays reinforced with geogrids embedded in thin layers of sand. Pullout
tests were conducted after modification of the large direct shear apparatus of size (300
300200 mm) as shown in Fig. 2.5. Samples were prepared at optimum moisture content
and maximum dry densities obtained from standard Proctor compaction tests. Tests were
conducted on clay-geogrid, sand-geogrid and clay-sand-geogrid samples. A
unidirectional geogrid with sand layer thicknesses of 6, 10 and 14 mm were used. Results
revealed that encapsulating geogrids in thin layers of sand under pullout conditions
enhances pullout resistance of reinforced clay. For the clay-sand-geogrid samples an
optimum sand layer thickness of 10 mm was determined, resulting in maximum pullout
resistance which increased with increasing confining pressure. The maximum pullout
resistance of reinforced samples increases as the confining pressure is increased and that
for sandy soils the passive earth pressure offers the most pullout resistance, whereas for
fine grained soils, it is replaced by friction resistance.

Fig.2.5 Modified direct shear apparatus used for pullout testing (Abadi and
Arjomand, 2011)

Several researchers have carried out the pull-out tests of reinforcements in soils. These
pull-out tests were originally carried out for the purpose of clarifying the pull-out
mechanism of the reinforced soils. The method of preparing the sample, soil utilized,
reinforcement material, testing procedure and the size of the pull-out test apparatus were
among the factors studied. Most of the authors have conducted direct shear tests and
pullout tests to determine these factors. In this present study, it is proposed to understand
the interaction properties of different geosynthetics with cohesionless soils.

This chapter presents a comprehensive review of the previous research work done by
various investigators in the area of soil-geosynthetics interaction properties. There are
three modes of studies available to find the soil- geosynthetic interaction such as
analytical, experimental and numerical modes.