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Experimental and Numerical Study of Micropiles


to Reinforce High Railway Embankments

Article in International Journal of Geomechanics December 2013


DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GM.1943-5622.0000280

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Experimental and Numerical Study of Micropiles
to Reinforce High Railway Embankments
Morteza Esmaeili1; Morteza Gharouni Nik2; and Farid Khayyer3

Abstract: The construction of railway embankments on loose beds using reinforcing elements results in a modication of the embankments
slope, which signicantly reduces the amount of earthworks. In addition, reinforcement of both bed and embankment is essential to increase the
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load-bearing capacity and control the settlements. A solution for high railway-embankment stabilization and enhancing the operational axle
load is the use of micropiles in the embankment toe to transmit the applied loads to the rm underlying layers and avoid the deep sliding of
loose subgrade. This paper presents three experimental models of embankments of 10 m in height on a scale of 1=20 to set up a number of
loading tests: one based on a non-reinforced embankment and two others based on reinforced embankments that are stabilized with two
different arrangements of micropiles. During laboratory tests, the data, including the load-bearing capacity of embankments, displacements of
embankment crest and bed surface, and axial strain of micropiles were measured using the instrumentation tools. In the next step, three numerical
models were developed by using the PLAXIS-3D code based on the FEM. Then, a comparison was made between the experimental and numerical
data to verify the outputs of the numerical analyses. In the procedure of numerical analyses, elastoplastic behaviors of embankment material and bed
were dened based on the Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion, and micropiles were considered as linear elastic elements. Finally, after accomplishing
a series of sensitivity analyses on the geometric parameters of micropiles, their efciency factor was classied in the process of arrangement
optimization. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GM.1943-5622.0000280. 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers.
CE Database subject headings: Railroad tracks; Embankments; Soil stabilization; Micro piles; Load tests; Finite element method;
Experimentation.
Author keywords: High railway embankments; Loose beds; Soil stabilization; Micropiles; Laboratory loading test; Finite-element modeling.

Introduction 3. There is a possibility of embankment slip caused by the


increase of the axle load of the railway;
One of the major concerns in the repair and maintenance of rail 4. The settlement of high embankments on loose beds can
lines is strengthening the infrastructures. For this purpose, researchers usually lead to embankment failure or geometrical change
have always strived to provide new methods for the reinforcement of of rail lines; and
railway embankments as the most widely used structures in rail line 5. As there are limitations in trafc blocking, a special type of
infrastructures. This paper presents the use of nonreticulated micro- soil improvement technique should be used in the case of
piles in group form as a suitable method for the reinforcement against underutilized railway lines. In this regard, the micropiles in
deep sliding of high railway embankments that rest on loose beds. group form can be used as a suitable method to stabilize
The following reasoning indicates the importance of this research: railway embankments on loose subgrades (Khayyer 2010).
1. Railway embankments higher than 5 m are susceptible to creep, According to the previous studies on the use of micropiles to
because of the considerable self-weight and, in some cases, stabilize soft soils, three categories of research, including numerical
inappropriate materials used in the body of the embankments; laboratory and eld tests, can be diagnosed.
2. High embankments are susceptible to earthquake-induced The following studies can serve as examples of numerical re-
slides because of their high inertia; search in this area. The work of Cantoni et al. (1989) dealt with
developing a design methodology for reticulated micropile struc-
tures in sliding slopes. The design method proposed gives a simple
1 criterion for setting out the spacing and number of rows of micro-
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Railway Engineering, Iran Univ. of Sci-
ence and Technology, 16846 Narmak, Tehran, Iran. E-mail: M_Esmaeili@ piles, as well as the total number required. The method is depicted
iust.ac.ir through application to a slope of sandy silt and gravel over bedrock
2
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Railway Engineering, Iran Univ. of Sci-
near Florence, Italy. Four reticulated micropile structures were in-
ence and Technology, 16846 Narmak, Tehran, Iran. E-mail: Gharouni@
doctor.com stalled to a depth of 5 m in the bedrock. The choice of stabilizing
3
Researcher, Dept. of Railway Engineering, Iran Univ. of Science method, design method, and evaluation of landslide thrust, soil
and Technology, 16846 Narmak, Tehran, Iran (corresponding author). structure interaction, and stability of the reticulated structure, as-
E-mail: F_K@engineer.com sumed to be a monolithic block, were all discussed.
Note. This manuscript was submitted on March 23, 2012; approved on Richards and Rothbauer (2004) investigated the lateral load
December 14, 2012; published online on December 17, 2012. Discussion
performance and design of pin piles. The intent is to demonstrate
period open until May 1, 2014; separate discussions must be submitted
for individual papers. This paper is part of the International Journal of that micropiles and micropile groups can be designed to support
Geomechanics, Vol. 13, No. 6, December 1, 2013. ASCE, ISSN 1532- lateral loads and provide options and considerations for lateral load
3641/2013/6-729744/$25.00. design.

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Int. J. Geomech. 2013.13:729-744.


Jenck et al. (2009) studied settlement and the arching effect One of the most important issues in the railway geotechnic is
in piled embankments using the three-dimensional (3D) nite- stabilizing the high railway embankment that is resting on loose beds
difference model by FLAC 3D code. It is remarkable that the soft against self-weight and operational trafc loads. In such embank-
soil behavior of the subgrade was simulated by the modied Cam ments, the failure usually appears in the form of deep sliding, which
Clay model, and the embankment material behavior was succes- crosses the embankment and its underlying layers. In this regard,
sively simulated by an elastic perfectly plastic model with a Mohr- using micropiles in group form at the embankment toe has been
Coulomb failure criterion and then by an isotropic hardening recommended by many relevant standards and guidelines. For in-
elastoplastic model to approach the real system behavior. stance, some minor recommendations can be observed in Federal
Wang et al. (2009) also studied the effect of micropiles on soil Highway Administration (FHWA 2000) guidelines for the use of
reinforcement under static and dynamic loadings. Embankment on micropiles in stabilizing the embankment located on loose beds;
untreated soil and treated soil by micropiles were modeled using moreover, reinforcing the railway embankment by micropiles has
PLAXIS-3D code. The displacement caused by embankment static been also recommended by UIC722 and UIC719 codes (International
loading and acceleration of the embankment caused by seismic Union of Railways 1994) with an emphasis on geotechnical issues.
loading were calculated and compared. It was found that micropile- Reviewing the technical literature shows that there are no com-
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treated soil can greatly reduce the settlement of the embankment and prehensive studies on the behavior of nonreticulated (individual)
mitigate the seismic response of the embankment. micropiles for the stabilization of high railway embankments on
An investigation, which presents a so-called multiphase model loose beds. This research is dedicated to investigating the behavior
for soft grounds improved by rigid vertical piles, aimed at capturing of the railway embankments resting on sandy beds using two nu-
the global constitutive behavior of the reinforced ground was done merical and experimental approaches.
by Hassen et al. (2009). First, an initial numerical study was conducted to determine the
In addition, the use of micropiles for slope stabilization was ex- best location of micropiles in the embankment slope to reinforce the
amined by Howe (2010). The main purpose of this study is to de- embankments with heights between 5 and 12 m. In this stage, using
termine fundamental design guidance for using micropiles for the the micropiles at embankment toe was conrmed, which is in ac-
in-situ stabilization of slope failures by performing a slope stability cordance with the UIC719-R code recommendation.
analysis on case studies using limit equilibrium software and nite- In the next step, laboratory models of the bed and embankment
element software. were constructed in the loading chamber of the School of Railway
Moreover, a number of laboratory projects have been performed Engineering (SRE), Narmak, Tehran in the scale of 1=20 and were
that evaluate the behavior of micropiles. The effect of micropiles on loaded statically.
seismic shear strain was examined by McManus et al. (2004). Misra It should be mentioned that the experiments were done on one
and Chen (2007) examined the relationships of load displacement non-reinforced embankment and two embankments that were rein-
for micropiles. Also, Wolosick (2009) studied the ultimate micropile forced with micropiles. It should be considered that in this study, the
bond stresses, which were observed during load testing in clays and applied load was the combination of weight and operational load,
sands. which was statically applied by a loading jack with a load capacity of
Furthermore, many practical experiences can be pointed out re- 300 kN. It is worth mentioning that the UIC719-R code (Inter-
garding to the performance of micropiles. The use of micropiles to national Union of Railways 1994) recommends different allowable
strengthen the east bay of the Rock Run Dam project, which is lo- safety factors of slope stability under various loading conditions,
cated in Pennsylvania, was accomplished by Haider et al. (2004). In which are on the order of 1.5, 1.3, and 1.1 for applications of dead
that project, the support system was designed to limit differential (self-weight), operational, and earthquake loads, respectively.
movement relative to the existing structure. A micropile system was The use of instrumentation tools on the embankment surface and
selected and was designed to have minimal impact on the existing the reinforcing bar of micropiles made it possible to measure the
structure. The piling system included both vertical and battered piles failure load of embankment, displacements of the bed and em-
to accommodate variable hydrostatic loading. bankment, and axial strains of micropiles. Subsequently, the failure
In another case study, Bruce et al. (2004) proposed a non- mechanism of the embankments could be investigated and the exact
reticulated micropile array for stabilization of the south side of the sliding surface during the loading tests perceived.
Grimsby railway embankment in Ontario, Canada. Furthermore, Furthermore, three numerical models of non-reinforced and
a detailed FLAC analysis was completed, using multiple iterations reinforced embankments were established using the PLAXIS-3D
to eventually arrive at the optimum micropile depth and spacing. code. Additionally, we checked the generated outputs by experi-
The analysis predicted an 18% increase in safety and short-term mental data and veried the accuracy of the numerical models.
inclinometer monitoring, and performance evaluations in the Finally, a series of sensitivity analyses were performed on the
months following the construction so far corroborate the prediction. geometric parameters of micropiles including diameter, length,
The applications of micropiles and permanent anchors to re- number, and spacing. Hereby, it was possible to determine the ef-
inforce loose earth in three different projects were reported by ciency factor of each parameter and present the optimum arrange-
Schwarz et al. (2004). The rst example shows the production of ment of micropiles.
micropiles and permanent anchors in a tidal zone and the im-
provement of the load transfer zone to guarantee the load-bearing
capacity through a jetting foot. In the second example, the protection Scaling Laws
of permanent anchors against lime-attacking carbon dioxide in
the groundwater in rock is discussed. The last example explains the In this project the material behavior is nonlinear and the geotechnical
concept for the postfoundation under organic soil conditions of the structure to be studied contains several materials that interact with
Berlin State Library Unter den Linden. each other. This issue leads to greater difculty in investigating the
Additionally, the main highway embankment in Mendocino, behavior of the components in the underlying theoretical model.
California, the Missouri road embankment, and the embankment of One of the methods for studying load-deformation behavior of
State Road No. 4023 located in Pennsylvania, were all were stabilized geotechnical structures is a manufacture of a laboratory model,
by micropiles either individually or in group form (Bruce 2008). which should represent the behavior of the prototype. In this regard,

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Int. J. Geomech. 2013.13:729-744.


adopting a suitable scale and satisfying the scaling laws is essential study. According to Wood (2004), the factor of a, which shows
for describing the relationship between the model and the prototype. the relationship of stiffness and effective stress level (G } sa ) in soil
Many researchers in the eld of geotechnical modeling have pro- materials, is approximately adopted equal to 0.5 for sandy soil.
posed various scaling laws (e.g., Harris and Sabris 1999; Krawinkler As mentioned earlier, the main purpose of this paper is the in-
1979; Iai 1989; Schoeld and Steedman 1988). Wood (2004) gathered vestigation of the efciency of micropiles to reinforce the high
the previously mentioned works and presented them in an integrated railway embankment and determine the optimum arrangement of
format. Table 1 shows the relevance of this work to the current these reinforcing elements. In this regard, at rst, a full-scale model
of railway embankment with geometrical and mechanical proper-
Table 1. Scaling Factors ties, as given in Tables 2 and 3, was simulated in PLAXIS-3D code to
study the failure mechanism. Therefore, a suitable arrangement of
Scale Scale Scale
micropiles that were needed to reinforce the embankment was found.
Description General Parameter factor factor Y=X factor X=Y
It is worth mentioning that all of the parameters in the previous
Material nr r 1 1.00 1 tables were selected in accordance with embankments, which have
density been used in the rail lines of Iran since 1970 (Shahroudi and Zakeri
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Length nL L 1=N 20.00 0.05 2006). Moreover, the exact values of the mechanical properties of
Stiffness nG G 1=N a 4.47 0.22 materials were obtained using standard laboratory tests that will be
Displacement nr nG n2L D 1=N 22a 89.44 1:1 3 1022 discussed in the Construction of Bed and Embankment section.
Micropile nE nI 5 nG n4L 1=N 41a 715,541.75 1:40 3 1026 The numerical analysis procedure on the full-scale embankment
concluded that there is a safety factor of 2.35 under the embankment
self-weight, which is greater than the minimum recommendation
Table 2. Geometry of Prototype Embankment 1.5 [UIC719 Code (International Union of Railways 1994)]. How-
ever, a displacement of 45 cm led the embankment to collapse. In
Parameter (m) Value
this condition, using the micropiles in a group form with arrange-
Embankment length 50 ments presented in Table 4 could increase the safety factor to 1.3
Embankment height 10 as minimum recommended safety factor under operational load
Slope length 18 [UIC719 Code (International Union of Railways 1994)]. Youngs
Embankment crest 6 modulus of micropiles materials in the full-scale model are selected
Bed depth 16 as ES 5 210,000 MPa, EG 5 31,000 MPa, and EGS 5 200 MPa.
Depth of the modied part of the bed 2
Width of the bed sides 7
Scaling the Bed and Embankment
Table 3. Material Properties of Bed and Embankment Classication According to scale factors, as given in Table 1, the geometry of the
Classication (USCS) laboratory model of the embankment are presented in Table 5;
moreover, the mechanical properties of materials have the same
ASTM SP (material SC (material of values as those of full scale. It should be mentioned that the fol-
standard Parameters of bed) embankment) lowing parameters between a prototype and model were compared to
D422 D10 (mm) 0.85 0.06 prove the accuracy of the scaling methodology:
D422 D30 (mm) 1.66 0.35 1. The settlement of the non-reinforced embankment crest at the
D422 D60 (mm) 3.51 1.26 moment of failure is equal to 5.3 mm, as given in Table 13,
CU 4.13 21 which is about 1=90 of the settlement applied on the embank-
CC 0.92 1.62 ment crest of prototype (Table 1); and
D854 GS 2.6 2.69 2. The safety factor of the embankments reinforced with the
D3080 w (degree) 30 32 proposed arrangements of micropiles is on the order of 1.25, as
D3080 c kN=m2 1 25 given in Table 15, which is almost identical to the actual one.
D1194 ESoil (MPa) 17.01 49.891
D698 wopt (percentage) 14 11
D2049 g dmax kN=m2 15 17.5 Scaling the Micropiles
D1556 g kN=m2 15.6 18.1
Note: c 5 soil cohesion; CC 5 curvature coefcient; CU 5 uniformity According to Wood (2004), the scaling method of micropile prop-
coefcient; GS 5 specic gravity of soil; wopt 5 optimum moisture content erties consists of the following steps:
of soil; g 5 soil unit weight; g dmax 5 maximum dry soil unit weight; 1. Scaling down the micropiles length: as shown in Table 1, to
w 5 angle of internal friction. determine the length of micropiles in a laboratory model, the

Table 4. Specications of Micropiles Arrangement in Prototype


Micropile parameters
Arrangement
number Location DMP (cm) ODC (cm) IDC (cm) RGP (cm) NS AS cm2 LMP (m) BL (m) N u (degree) SMP (m)
1 Embankment toe 30 28 26.8 10 2 16.1 18 4 24 45 4
2 Embankment toe 30 28 26.8 10 4 16.1 16, 18 4 32 0, 45 6.7
Note: AS 5 bar and pile casing steel area; BL 5 bond length of micropiles; DMP 5 diameter of micropile (diameter of drilled hole); IDC 5 inner diameter of
casing; LMP 5 micropile length; N 5 number of micropiles; NS 5 number of micropiles in embankment section; ODC 5 outer diameter of casing; RGP 5 radius
of grout penetration zone; SMP 5 micropile spacing.

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Int. J. Geomech. 2013.13:729-744.


only requirement is to multiply the actual length by a scaling during the selection of the micropile dimensions in the lab-
factor of 1=20. oratory model. With a 5 0:5, one can achieve nE .nI 5 1=N 9=2
2. Scaling down the properties of micropiles section: consider with a length scale nL 5 1=N 5 1=20 as the equivalent di-
the micropile of equivalent diameter of a grouted section, ameter of the grouted section of dm in the laboratory micropile
dp 5 31:28 cm, which is calculated based on the equivalent model given by the following equation:
area method. Take into account the scaling of soil stiffness
p d4 E 1 p d4 E (1)
m p
64 m N 9=2 16 p
Table 5. Geometry of Model Embankment
Parameter (m) Value By substituting the full-scale micropile properties in the previous
equation, the diameter of the equivalent grout section is calculated as
Embankment length 50 2.4 cm. Consequently, geometrical and mechanical parameters of
Embankment height 10 micropiles in the laboratory model are, respectively, selected based
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Slope length 18 on the values presented in Tables 6 and 7. It should be noted that
Embankment crest 6 these selected specications exactly satisfy Eq. (1).
Bed depth 16 It is worth mentioning that all of the values presented in Table 7
Depth of the modied part of the bed 2 were obtained using standard laboratory tests, which will be
Width of the bed sides 7
explained in the Micropiles Installation section.

Table 6. Geometric Parameters of Micropiles Arrangement in Laboratory Model


Micropile parameters
Arrangement
number Location DMP (cm) ODC (cm) RGP (cm) NS Db (cm) LMP (cm) BL (cm) N u (degree) SMP (cm)
1 Embankment toe 1.5 1.4 0.5 2 0.37 90 20 24 45 20
2 Embankment toe 1.5 1.4 0.5 4 0.37 80, 90 20 32 0, 45 33.33
Note: BL 5 bond length of micropiles; Db 5 diameter of steel bar; DMP 5 diameter of micropile (diameter of drilled hole); LMP 5 micropile length; N 5 number
of micropiles; NS 5 number of micropiles in embankment section; ODC 5 outer diameter of casing; RGP 5 radius of grout penetration zone; SMP 5 micropile
spacing; u 5 angle of micropiles to vertical axis.

Table 7. Material Properties of Model Micropiles


Micropile parameters (standard of ASTM)
Arrangement number Materials of casing EG (MPa) EGS (MPa) (D2166) fc9 (MPa) (C109) PG (bar) W=C ES (MPa) (A400)
Micropile arrangement Soft and transparent 31,000 200 34.5 1.52 0.5 150, 250
numbers 1 and 2 rubber
Note: EG 5 Youngs modulus of grout; EGS 5 Youngs modulus of grouted sand; PG 5 grouting pressure; W=C 5 water-to-cement ratio.

Fig. 1. Cross section of model micropile

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Int. J. Geomech. 2013.13:729-744.


Experimental Setup embankment for numerical and experimental analyses. Further-
more, mechanical properties of the materials, as given in Table 3,
were determined on the basis of ASTM standards including me-
Construction of Bed and Embankment chanical analysis of soils [ASTM D422 (ASTM 2007a)], specic
An initial numerical analysis using the PLAXIS-3D code was con- gravity of soils [ASTM D854 (ASTM 2010b)], shear stress pa-
ducted to nd the suitable dimension of the loading chamber. It is rameters of soils using direct shear test [ASTM D3080 (ASTM
worth mentioning that the main criterion for selecting chamber 2006)], maximum dry density of sand [ASTM D2049 (ASTM
dimensions was minimal interference between the sliding surface 1983)], maximum dry density and optimum moisture content using
of the slope of the model embankment and the side walls of the standard Proctor compaction test [ASTM D698 (ASTM 2011b)], in
chamber. Through this manner, the dimensions of the loading place soil density using sand cone method [ASTM D1556 (ASTM
chamber of SRE were selected as 2:5 3 2:5 m2 with a height 2007b)], and elastic modulus of soils using plate loading test [ASTM
of 2 m. D1194 (ASTM 2003)].
As mentioned earlier, poorly graded sand with gravel (SP) and To implement the model embankment in the best possible
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clayey sand (SC) were, respectively selected to model the bed and compaction, it was constructed in 10-cm layers with optimum
moisture contents, which are equal to 14 and 11% for soil materials
of bed and embankment, respectively. The condensing process was
achieved by passing a 50 kg roller over it until it reached maximum
possible compaction. In this way, 91 and 93% of Proctor standard
compaction, respectively, resulted in the construction process of
both the bed and embankment.

Micropiles Installation
As mentioned previously, the geometrical properties of model mi-
cropiles were determined according to the scaling laws discussed in
the previous section, and as provided in Table 6. Moreover, the
mechanical properties, which are required for experimental and nu-
merical modeling, including the water-to-cement ratio of grout, the
injection pressure required for grouting and the elastic Youngs
modulus of reinforcing bar, hardened cement grout and grouted sand
(Table 7), were obtained based on experimental tests. They included
performing tensile tests on reinforcing steel bar [ASTM A400
(ASTM 2011a)], a compressive test on 50-mm cube specimens of
hardened cement grout [ASTM C109 (ASTM 2009)], and an un-
conned compressive strength on grouted sand [ASTM D2166
(ASTM 2010a)].
Fig. 1 shows the cross section of the model micropile. Further-
more, Figs. 2(a and b) illustrate the micropile arrangement Nos. 1
and 2, respectively.To install each micropile, its location was rst
determined, and then a perforated rubber casing was rammed and
placed into the bed soil. Then, the injection operation was made and
the reinforcing bar was readily placed inside the micropile. Fig. 3
shows that the veins of grout properly strengthened the surrounding
soil of micropiles.
After installing all of the micropiles, two cap beams on either side
of the embankment toe, with sectional dimensions of 7 3 10 cm2 ,
Fig. 2. Micropile arrangements: (a) arrangement of micropiles in
were constructed parallel to the embankment to integrate the micro-
loading test No. 2; (b) arrangement of micropiles in loading test No. 3
piles (FHWA 2000).

Fig. 3. Veins of grout that strengthened surrounding soil of micropiles

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Int. J. Geomech. 2013.13:729-744.


Precision Tools embankment crest, respectively. Also, considering that strain gauges
were installed on the reinforcing bar of the micropile, a special
Different types of instrumental tools were used to monitor the fol-
type of strain gauge, FLA-611, was chosen with dimensions of
lowing items: the loading process, the deformation of the bed, and
6 3 2:2 mm2 , which is compatible to that of a steel bar. It should be
the embankment and axial strains of the micropiles. These mea-
noted that the model of the data logger and its driver software were
surement results were used in the following sections to validate the TMR-211 and TMR-7200, respectively (Tokyo Sokki Kenkyujo
numerical analysis. 2011).
Accordingly, two displacement transducers of CDP50 and The manner of monitoring and the exact location of precision
CDP100 (made by Tokyo Sokki Kenkyujo 2011) were used tools during each test are presented in Fig 4 and Table 8.
to determine the displacements of the sides of the bed and the As mentioned previously, a 300-kN loading jack was used to
statically apply a load on the experimental model. Accordingly, the
load-bearing capacity of the embankment was measured by an analog
gauge, which was installed on the hydraulic pump of the loading jack.
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Experimental Results

When the construction of the instrumented model was done, the


loading process was started by the use of the hydraulic jack with a
2.5-kN loading step and was continued as long as a sudden drop was
observed in the analog loading gauge, which indicated embankment
failure. Furthermore, during this time the embankment deformation
and axial strain of the micropiles were precisely monitored.

Failure Mechanism of the Embankment


Figs. 5 and 6 show the failure mechanism of the model embankment
during laboratory loading test Nos. 13.
Fig. 4. Position of instrumented points A deep sliding surface crossing through loose subgrade layers
caused the failure of the embankment slope, which is marked in

Table 8. Location of Instrumentation Tools during Loading Tests


Laboratory Number of micropile rows on Gauged micropile Positions of displacement
test number each side of the embankment in each row M (cm) transducers
1 P1 2P6 and PMS
2 1 MP1245 , MP6245 , MP12245 1 (30), 2 (50), 3 (80) P1 2P6 and PMS
3 2 MP120 , MP520 , MP820 1 (30), 2 (50), 3 (80) P1 2P6 and PMS
MP1245 , MP5245 , MP8245 1 (20), 2 (45), 3 (70)
Note: M 5 distance of strain gauge from head of the pile; MP 5 micropile.

Fig. 5. Progressive sliding surface of embankment

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Int. J. Geomech. 2013.13:729-744.


Furthermore, a sample of the outputs of the CDP [made by
Tokyo Sokki Kenkyujo (2011) with the maximum measurement of
50200 mm was used in a form of 250 and 100 mm for the
LVDT (linear variable differential transformer) reference data, which
was collected through a data logger] displacement transducers,
which were recorded by TMR-7200 software during loading test
No. 2, is shown in Fig. 8. Perusing the gradient of displacement-time
diagrams in Fig. 8, the general behavior of the embankment to the
moment of failure can be investigated. According to a trend of
the diagrams at points 2 and 5, settlement of the embankment crest
escalated gradually; however, in the last minute, owing to embank-
ment failure, the diagram suddenly climbed to a high rise of settle-
ment. Moreover, the uplift movements of bed sides, points 1, 3, 4, and
6, ascended slowly to minute 11 of loading, and after this moment,
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owing to embankment failure and interruption of load transfer through


the soil layers, it remained stable. Generally, it should be noted that the
deformation of the bed sides were negligible because of the micropiles
resistance against the sliding of the underlying layers.

Axial Strains of Micropiles


The axial strains of the micropiles, which were measured by FLA-611
strain gauges, are given in Table 11. Moreover, as a sample, Fig. 9
shows the strain of MP8245 on the right side of the embankment, which
was recorded by TMR-7200 software during loading test No. 3. It
should be mentioned that the points 13 are located in the head, middle,
and end of the MP8245 , respectively. As it can be seen in this gure, the
axial strain of the micropile increases dramatically, but in the last
minute of loading, owing to embankment failure and a reduction of the
load pressure applied on the micropile, it remained nearly unchanged.
Considering the noticeable strains generated in micropiles, it is
clear that these reinforcing elements prevented sliding of the un-
derlying layers and caused a prominent increase in the load-bearing
capacity of the embankment.
Fig. 6. (a) Settlement of the embankment crest and middle layers of
subgrade in loading test No. 2; (b) swelling and cracking of embankment Numerical Modeling
slope in loading test No. 3
In this section, considering the values of failure loads, displace-
ments, and axial strains achieved during the loading tests, three
Fig 5. It is worth mentioning that considerable settlement and uplift numerical models were developed by FEM and then veried on the
movement of the underlying layers, which are illustrated in the basis of the experimental measured data.
gure, imply that the main reason of non-reinforced embankment The main objective of this modeling is to conduct a series of
failure is in the sliding of bed layers. sensitivity analyses on the geometric parameters of micropiles to
Using micropiles as reinforcing elements in the substrate pre- determine their actual efciency.
vented the sliding of bed layers and changed the failure mechanism PLAXIS-3D code was adopted for the numerical analyses; also,
of the embankment. In these conditions, only the settlement of the during the analyses, the behavior of the embankment materials
middle layers of subgrade and embankment and swelling of the em- and bed were considered to be elastoplastic on the basis of the
bankment slope can be seen; this is illustrated in Figs. 6(a and b). Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion, and the micropile was supposed to
The measured data during the experimental tests, including be a linear elastic element.
failure loads, displacements of the bed, and embankment and axial
strains of micropiles, are summarized in the following sections. Geometry Model, Mesh Generation, and
Boundary Conditions

Load-Bearing Capacity of the Embankment The geometry of the embankment and bed were discretized using
quadratic 15-node wedge elements for the evaluation of the defor-
During the loading tests, displacements of the embankment crest for mations and stresses.
each 10-kN increase in load were recorded and illustrated in Fig. 7 as Using the PLAXIS-3D code, the inputs of soil layers, micropiles,
a load-deformation diagram. Furthermore, the load-bearing capacity stages of construction, loads, and boundary conditions were dened
of the embankment for each test is given in Table 9. using convenient CAD drawing procedures, which allowed for
a detailed and accurate modeling of main geometry cross section,
from which a 3D nite-element mesh was generated (Brinkgreve
Displacements of Bed and Embankment
et al. 2002). The standard xities option was used to dene the
The uplift movements of the bed sides and settlements of the em- boundary conditions. In addition, the number of elements, nodes,
bankment crest are given for each of the loading tests in Table 10. and stress points were 2,425, 7,424, and 14,550, respectively.

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Fig. 7. Load displacement of embankment crest

Table 9. Load-Bearing Capacity of Model Embankments Accordingly, the method of incremental loading was dened
Test number Load-bearing capacity (kN=m2 ) by the PLAXIS-3D code in a way that it increased until it reached
the embankment failure threshold and then remained constant.
1 254.16 As a result, the numerical failure loads are calculated as 258.3,
2 402.78 404.17, and 404:17 kN=m2 for model Nos. 1, 2, and 3, respectively.
3 401.39

Table 10. Displacements of Bed and Embankment at Moment of Failure


Validation of Numerical Models

Displacement 1a In this section, the outputs of the numerical analysis were veried by
Laboratory D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 DMS comparing them with the laboratory data. To this end, the load-
test number (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) bearing capacity of the embankments, displacements of different
points of bed and embankment, and axial strains of the micropiles
1 21 5.5 21:5 21:5 5.2 20:85 3.81 were evaluated as follows.
2 20:6 5.7 20:5 20:5 5.7 20:54 2.9
3 20:4 5.6 20:45 20:45 5.55 20:47 2.75
Load-Bearing Capacity of the Embankments
Note: See Fig. 4 for location of instrumented points.
a
Downward displacement is positive. The load-bearing capacities of the embankments that resulted from
the experimental and numerical studies are given in Table 12.
The geometrical model, mesh generation, and boundary con- Considering the excellent agreement of the load-bearing capacity
ditions are illustrated in Fig. 10. results in Table 12 with a percentage difference of 0.89%, the re-
liability of the numerical modeling can be proved.
Material Properties
Displacements of Bed and Embankment
To simulate the numerical models using PLAXIS-3D code, the soil
material model was assumed to be elastic-plastic Mohr-Coulomb The displacements resulted from the experimental and numerical
involving ve parameters: E and n 5 soil elasticity; w and c 5 soil analyses were compared in Table 13. As it can be seen, the existing
plasticity, and c 5 an angle of dilatancy. All input parameters were percentage difference of 16% between the experimental and nu-
dened according to Tables 1 and 2. merical deformation shows a fairly good correlation and conse-
quently proves the accuracy of the numerical models.
Loading Method and Analysis
Axial Strains of the Micropiles
The load-bearing capacity of embankments obtained from the lab-
oratory tests made it possible to predict the approximate value of The positions of the strain gauges installed on each micropile were
the embankment failure load for numerical modeling. determined in accordance with Fig. 4 and Table 8.

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Fig. 8. Displacement time of points 16 [output of TMR-7200 software (Tokyo Sokki Kenkyujo 2011) in loading test No. 2]

Table 11. Axial Strain of Micropiles at the Moment of Failure


Test 2 Test 3
Strain of micropiles Strain of micropiles
in right side of the in left side of the Strain of micropiles in right side of Strain of micropiles in left side of
embankment section (ms) embankment section (ms) the embankment section (ms) the embankment section (ms)
Number of
strain gauge 1245 6245 12245 1245 6245 12245 1245 1210 5245 520 8245 820 1245 120 5245 520 8245 820
M 51 1,120 1,327 1,405 1,168 1,411 1,401 1,440 842 1,850 940 1,300 810 1,350 1,311 1,870 1,658 1,101 1,279
M 52 1,327 1,692 1,780 1,425 1,781 1,732 1,600 2279 2,000 2150 1,440 2275 1,960 2809 2,540 2729 1,693 2642
M 53 811 1,021 978 862 1,033 942 900 2280 1,200 2256 815 2284 1,180 2460 1,320 2489 895 2419
Note: See Fig. 4 for location of instrumented points.

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Fig. 9. Strain time of points 13 on MP8245 located in right side of embankment [output of TMR-7200 software (Tokyo Sokki Kenkyujo 2011)
in loading test No. 3]

Fig. 10. Geometry model, mesh generation, and boundary conditions

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It should be considered that the axial strains of the six micro- obtain an appropriate criterion for starting the procedure of sensitivity
piles in loading test No. 2 and 12 micropiles in loading test No. 3 analysis on the geometric parameters of the micropiles. Moreover,
were gauged at three points. The measured outputs are tabulated by controlling the outputs of the safety analysis with an allowable
in Table 14. safety factor of 1.3 [which is recommended by UIC719-R code
The acceptable conformity of the strains numerical and exper- (International Union of Railways 1994)], the effect of each geo-
imental values that were determined with a percentage difference of metric parameter of micropile on the safety factor can be evaluated to
4.11% can adequately prove the accuracy of developed numerical achieve the optimum arrangement of these reinforcing elements
models. Furthermore, the strains of the micropiles on the left- and during the procedure of sensitivity analysis.
right-hand sides of the embankment are almost identical. Their To this end, rst the method of the PLAXIS-3D code for the safety
magnitudes are expected, considering the model scale and imposed analysis should be described. For the analysis of slope stability in an
load. embankment, a more appropriate denition of the safety factor
corresponds to Eq. (2)
Safety Analysis
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Savailable
Safety factor (2)
In this section, it is necessary to determine safety factor of the slope Sneeded for equilibirium
stability for the proposed arrangements, Nos. 1 and 2, in order to
where S 5 shear strength of the soil.
Table 12. Load-Bearing Capacity of Model Embankments Numerically
and Experimentally Determined
The ratio between the available strength and the computed
minimum strength, which is needed for equilibrium, is the safety
Test Numerical load-bearing Experimental load-bearing factor that is conventionally used in soil mechanics. This principle is
number capacity (kN=m2 ) capacity (kN=m2 ) the basis of the method of phi-c reduction that can be used in the
1 258.3 254.16 PLAXIS-3D code to calculate a safety factor.
2 404.17 402.78 In this regard, the cohesion and the tangent of the angle of friction
3 404.17 401.39 are reduced in the same proportion as follows:

c tan w P M (3)
sf
Table 13. Displacements of Bed and Embankment at the Moment Failure cr tan wr
is Numerically and Experimentally Determined
P
Displacement 1a The incremental multiplier, Msf , controlled the reduction of the
strength parameters during the analysis procedure. This parameter
D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 DMS
is increased in a step-by-step procedure until failure occurs.
P
Test number (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm)
Then, the safety factor is dened as the value of Msf at the
1 moment of failure, providing at the time that a more or less constant
Numerical 20:7 5.28 21 21 5.28 21 3.6 value is obtained for a number of consecutive load steps (Brinkgreve
Experimental 21 5.5 21:5 21:5 5.2 20:85 3.81 et al. 2002).
2 Based on the methodology described previously, diagrams of
Numerical 20:4 5.5 20:4 20:4 5.5 20:4 2.5 the safety factor of slope stability in an embankment failure threshold
Experimental 20:6 5.7 20:5 20:5 5.7 20:54 2.9 for the three models are shown in Fig. 11. According to this gure, it
3 can be stated that both arrangements led to a safety factor that is less
Numerical 20:4 5.4 20:4 20:4 5.4 20:4 2.5 than the recommended value of 1.3, which is approximately on the
Experimental 20:4 5.6 20:45 20:45 5.55 20:47 2.75 order of 1.25.
Note: See Fig. 4 for the location of the instrumented points. In addition, the results of the numerical analyses in model Nos. 2
a
Downward displacement is positive. and 3, as given in Table 15, were compared in order to diagnose the

Table 14. Axial Strain of Micropiles at the Moment Failure is Numerically and Experimentally Determined
Test 2 Test 3
Strain of micropiles Strain of micropiles
in right side of the in left side of the
embankment section embankment section Strain of micropiles in right side Strain of micropiles in left side
(ms) (ms) of the embankment section (ms) of the embankment section (ms)
Number of
strain gauge 1245 6245 12245 1245 6245 12245 1245 120 5245 520 8245 820 1245 120 5245 520 8245 820
M 51
Numerical 1,150 1,420 1,420 1,100 1,350 1,400 1,399 710 1,821 980 1,408 710 1,378 1,280 1,901 1,650 1,180 1,270
Experimental 1,120 1,327 1,405 1,168 1,411 1,401 1,440 842 1,850 940 1,300 810 1,350 1,311 1,870 1,658 1,101 1,279
M 52
Numerical 1,420 1,780 1,720 1,400 1,770 1,800 1,609 2280 1,916 2160 1,416 2280 1,905 2690 2,702 2700 1,720 2650
Experimental 1,327 1,692 1,780 1,425 1,781 1,732 1,600 2279 2,000 2150 1,440 2275 1,960 2809 2,540 2729 1,693 2642
M 53
Numerical 850 1,050 950 850 1,040 1,000 917 2300 1,138 2240 851 2280 1,191 2460 1,206 2480 980 2410
Experimental 811 1,021 978 862 1,033 962 900 2280 1,200 2256 815 2284 1,180 2460 1,320 2489 895 2419
Note: See Fig. 4 for location of instrumented points.

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Fig. 11. Diagram of safety factor displacement (output of PLAXIS-3D code)

Table 15. Comparison of Numerical Models 2 and 3 Reinforced with Arrangement Numbers 1 and 2
Micropile parameters
Reduction of displacements (mm)
Arrangement Increase of load-bearing
number N LMP (cm) DD2:5 DDMS DD1,3,4,6 capacity V cm3 FS
1 24 90 1.6 1.08 0.7 145.87 4,942.08 1.249
2 32 80, 90 1.63 1.1 0.7 145.87 6,589.44 1.254
Note: FS 5 safety factor; LMP 5 micropile length; N 5 number of micropiles; V 5 volume of grout consumption.

suitable arrangement for the rst step of the sensitivity analysis. It is appropriate location for a group of micropiles is the embank-
understood that although both arrangements are equal in safety ment toe (for embankments that are 512 m high); and
factor and reduction of displacements, lesser amounts of grout had 2. Because of practical limitations, it is recommended that the
been consumed in arrangement No. 1 (Model 2). Therefore, this angle between the micropile and the vertical axis not exceed
arrangement was chosen as a base to conduct a series of sensitivity 45 (because of the difculty in micropile installation); con-
analyses to achieve the optimum arrangement of micropiles. sequently, this angle is selected to be between 0 and 45. It
should be noted that resistance against sliding of underlying
layers improves with the increase of the micropiles angle to
Sensitivity Analysis on the Geometric Parameters the vertical axis. This is because of an increase in the horizontal
of Micropiles component of the micropiles axial load.
Therefore, the sensitivity analysis was performed on the basis of
In the case of embankment stabilization, the most important geo- parameters 36. To determine the efciency of these parameters,
metric parameters of micropiles can be summarized as follows: three or four sensible values were considered for each and the
1. The micropiles location in the embankment slope; diagrams of the safety factor versus grout consumption were drawn.
2. The micropile angle; According to the trend lines gradient in these diagrams, it was
3. The number of micropiles in the embankment section; possible to dene an efciency factor for each parameter. This means
4. Micropile spacing (longitudinal distances between micropiles); that a larger gradient equates with a more efcient parameter in
5. Micropile diameter; and raising the safety factor.
6. Micropile length. Finally, considering the lowest grout consumption, an optimal
According to the initial modeling using the PLAXIS-3D code arrangement of micropiles in which the embankment safety factor
(Khayyer 2010) and recommendations of UIC719-R code (In- equals 1.3 could be chosen.
ternational Union of Railways 1994), the most appropriate values of It should be noted that the primary reason for choosing the grout
the geometric parameters of points 1 and 2 during the sensitivity consumption as an operative parameter is that this parameter is the
analysis can be determined as follows: only one that can show the relationships between all of the geometric
1. Slip of the bed layers is the main reason for failure of the parameters of micropiles, i.e., number, spacing, diameter, and length
embankments resting on loose subgrades. As a result, the most with the embankment safety factor.

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Effect of Number of Micropiles in Embankment factor of the parameter of the micropiles number in the embankment
Section section is equal to 0.8, as given in Table 20. This means that this
parameter has the least impact on the arrangement optimization
In the rst step of the sensitivity analysis, the number of micropiles
process in comparison with the other geometric parameters.
in the embankment section was examined. For this parameter, three
different values were considered and the safety factors and the
amounts of grout consumption for each arrangement were calculated
Effect of Micropiles Spacing
as given in Table 16. As mentioned earlier, this process began with
arrangement No. 1. Moreover, to investigate the effect of this pa- In the second step of the sensitivity analysis procedure, the geo-
rameter on the process of arrangement optimization, Graph (1) in metric parameter of micropile spacing was assumed to be a variable,
Fig. 12 compares the safety factor to grout consumption. therefore four different values were considered for this parameter.
According to the values of safety factors presented in Table 16, it Furthermore, considering the results obtained from the previous
can be seen that they are all less than the recommended value of 1.3, section, the procedure for the analysis in this part began with ar-
henceforth indicating that none of the proposed arrangements can rangement No. 3, where an increase in the values of the safety factor
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suitably reinforce the embankment. Thus, the analysis was con- was a result of the reduction of micropile spacing as calculated in
tinued by decreasing the micropile spacing to achieve the recom- Table 17. Subsequently, the effect of this parameter in the form of
mended safety factor in the following section. Considering the safety factor versus grout consumption is shown in Graph (2) of
magnitude of the safety factor and the amounts of grout con- Fig. 12.
sumption, arrangement No. 3 was selected to carry out the analysis As it can be seen from Table 17, the level of the safety factor
procedure. It should be taken into consideration that the efciency increases considerably by decreasing micropiles spacing; on the

Table 16. Results of Sensitivity Analysis on Number of Micropiles in Embankment Section


Micropile parameters
Arrangement
number u (degree) N NS SMP (cm) DMP (cm) ODC (cm) RGP (cm) AS (cm2 ) LMP (cm) BL (cm) BC (kN=m2 ) V (cm3 ) FS
1 45 24 2 20 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 90 20 404.17 4,942.08 1.249
3 0, 45 48 4 20 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80, 90 20 410.68 9,884.16 1.262
4 0, 22.5, 45 72 6 20 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80, 90, 90 20 413.22 14,826.24 1.268
5 0, 15, 30, 45 96 8 20 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80, 90, 90, 90 20 414.77 19,768.32 1.27
Note: AS 5 bar and pile casing steel area; BC 5 embankment load-bearing capacity; BL 5 bond length of micropiles; DMP 5 diameter of micropile (diameter of
drilled hole); FS 5 safety factor; LMP 5 micropile length; N 5 number of micropiles; NS 5 number of micropiles in embankment section; ODC 5 outer diameter
of casing; RGP 5 radius of grout penetration zone; SMP 5 micropile spacing; V 5 volume of grout consumption; u 5 angle of micropiles to vertical axis.

Fig. 12. Diagram of safety factor grout consumption

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Table 17. Results of Sensitivity Analysis on Micropiles Spacing
Micropile parameters
Arrangement
number u (degree) N NS SMP (cm) DMP (cm) ODC (cm) RGP (cm) AS (cm2 ) LMP (cm) BL (cm) BC (kN=m2 ) V (cm3 ) FS
3 0, 45 48 4 20 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80, 90 20 410.68 9,884.16 1.262
6 0, 45 52 4 19 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80, 90 20 414.17 10,707.84 1.269
7 0, 45 56 4 18 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80, 90 20 420.1 11,531.52 1.28
8 0, 45 64 4 15 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80, 90 20 429.72 13,178.88 1.3
9 0, 45 96 4 10 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80, 90 20 440.3 19,768.32 1.32
Note: AS 5 bar and pile casing steel area; BC 5 embankment load-bearing capacity; BL 5 bond length of micropiles; DMP 5 diameter of micropile (diameter of
drilled hole); FS 5 safety factor; LMP 5 micropile length; N 5 number of micropiles; NS 5 number of micropiles in embankment section; ODC 5 outer diameter
of casing; RGP 5 radius of grout penetration zone; SMP 5 micropile spacing; V 5 volume of grout consumption; u 5 angle of micropiles to vertical axis.
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Table 18. Results of Sensitivity Analysis on Micropiles Length


Micropile parameters
Arrangement
number u (degree) N NS SMP (cm) DMP (cm) ODC (cm) RGP (cm) AS (cm2 ) LMP (cm) BL (cm) BC (kN=m2 ) V (cm3 ) FS
9 0, 45 96 4 10 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80, 90 20 440.3 19,768.32 1.32
10 0, 45 96 4 10 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80 20 436.72 17,571.84 1.312
11 0, 45 96 4 10 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 70 20 432.56 15,375.36 1.304
12 0, 45 96 4 10 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 60 20 426.83 13,178.88 1.293
Note: AS 5 bar and pile casing steel area; BC 5 embankment load-bearing capacity; BL 5 bond length of micropiles; DMP 5 diameter of micropile (diameter of
drilled hole); FS 5 safety factor; LMP 5 micropile length; N 5 number of micropiles; NS 5 number of micropiles in embankment section; ODC 5 outer diameter
of casing; RGP 5 radius of grout penetration zone; SMP 5 micropile spacing; V 5 volume of grout consumption; u 5 angle of micropiles to vertical axis.

Table 19. Results of Sensitivity Analysis on Micropiles Diameter


Micropile parameters
Arrangement
number u (degree) N NS SMP (cm) DMP (cm) ODC (cm) RGP (cm) AS (cm2 ) LMP (cm) BL (cm) BC (kN=m2 ) V (cm3 ) FS
12 0, 45 96 4 10 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.107 80 20 434.72 17,571.84 1.312
13 0, 45 96 4 10 1 0.9 0.5 0.107 80 20 432.22 8,823.71 1.303
14 0, 45 96 4 10 0.75 0.65 0.5 0.107 80 30 425.66 5,588.73 1.294
15 0, 45 96 4 10 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.107 80 35 418.39 3,096.26 1.28
Note: AS 5 bar and pile casing steel area; BC 5 embankment load-bearing capacity; BL 5 bond length of micropiles; DMP 5 diameter of micropile (diameter of
drilled hole); FS 5 safety factor; LMP 5 micropile length; N 5 number of micropiles; NS 5 number of micropiles in embankment section; ODC 5 outer diameter
of casing; RGP 5 radius of grout penetration zone; SMP 5 micropile spacing; V 5 volume of grout consumption; u 5 angle of micropiles to vertical axis.

micropile had a maximum possible value of 90 cm. Hence, an ar-


Table 20. Efciency Factors of Geometric Parameters of Micropiles rangement should be used that provides a safety factor of slope
P stability greater than 1.3 as a basis to carry out the sensitivity anal-
Graph Geometric parameter Gradient of Gradient = Efciency
number of micropiles trend line gradient factor ysis on this parameter. For this reason arrangement No. 9, which has
a safety factor of 1.32, was selected.
1 No. in embankment 1 3 1026 0.08 0.8 During the sensitivity analysis procedure, the magnitude of the
section micropile length was reduced (Table 18) to achieve an optimum
2 Spacing 6 3 1026 0.46 4.6
arrangement. Furthermore, the effect of this parameter was in-
3 Length 4 3 1026 0.31 3.1
vestigated in the form of a safety factor versus grout consumption
4 Diameter 2 3 1026 0.15 1.5
diagram, as shown in Fig. 12, Graph (3). According to Table 20, the
efciency factor of the micropile length is 3.1.
other hand, there are no signicant changes in the volume of grout
consumption. Henceforth, according to Table 20 and Fig. 12, the
efciency factor of this parameter is on the order of 4.6, which means Effect of Micropile Diameter
that this parameter has the greatest impact in comparison with the
The last parameter studied was a micropile diameter that had a max-
others.
imum value of 30 cm based on FHWA (2000) recommendations.
Therefore, arrangement No. 12 with a safety factor of 1.312 was
Effect of Micropile Length chosen as a basis to continue the analysis on this parameter.
According to the previously investigated arrangements and existing As can be seen in Table 19, the safety factor and the volume of
limitations on the loading chamber dimensions, the length of the grout consumption decreased because of a reduction in the diameter

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Table 21. Conditions of Model Embankment Reinforced with Optimum Arrangement No. 13
Parameters
Displacements 1a (mm)
Type of the model Load-bearing
embankments capacity (kN=m2 ) Safety factor D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 DMS
Non-reinforced 258.3 1 20:7 5.28 21 21 5.28 21 3.6
Reinforced 432.22 1.303 20:3 3.32 20:3 20:3 3.32 20:3 2.09
Difference 173.92 0.303 0.4 21:96 0.7 0.7 21:96 0.7 21:51
Percentage difference 67.3% 30.3% 57.1% 37.1% 70% 70% 37.1% 70% 42%
a
Downward displacement is positive.

of the micropiles. Moreover, the effect of this parameter is depicted 80 cm, and 10 cm, respectively, and the grout penetration
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in Fig. 12, Graph (4). radius is 5 mm.


According to Table 20 and Fig. 12, the efciency factor of the 3. Considering the results of sensitivity analysis, it can be stated
geometric parameter of the micropile length is on the order of 1.5. that the efciency factors of the geometric parameters of
Finally, considering the volume of grout consumption, arrange- the micropiles are on the order of 4.6, 3.5, 1.5, and 0.8 for
ment No. 13 was the resultant optimum arrangement of micropiles. spacing, length, diameter, and number in embankment sec-
Table 21 shows how the optimum arrangement of micropiles tion, respectively.
can reinforce the model embankment. In this regard, the following 4. If the optimum arrangement of the micropile is used to re-
results were obtained: inforce the embankments, the safety factor of the slope sta-
1. The safety factor of slope stability increases by more than 30%; bility and static load-bearing capacity of the embankments will
2. The load-bearing capacity of the embankment ascends by increase by more than 30 and 65%, respectively; and also the
more than 65%; settlement of the embankment crest will decrease by approx-
3. The settlement of the embankment crest decreases by about imately 35%.
35%;
4. The settlement of middle layers of the bed decreases by about
40%; and Notation
5. The uplift movements of the bed sides decrease by more than
65%. The following symbols are used in this paper:
AS 5 bar and pile casing steel area (cm2 );
BC 5 embankment load-bearing capacity (kN=m2 );
BL 5 bond length of micropiles (m);
Summary and Conclusion CC 5 curvature coefcient;
CU 5 uniformity coefcient;
This paper presents the results of experimental and numerical pro- c 5 soil cohesion (kN=m2 );
grams that were conducted to study the performance of railway Db 5 diameter of steel bar (cm);
embankments reinforced with micropiles. First, three experimental
DK 5 displacement measured by transducer
models of embankment were constructed on the scale of 1=20 to
number K (mm);
perform a number of laboratory loading tests: one based on a non-
DMP 5 diameter of micropile (diameter of drilled
reinforced embankment and the others based on the embankments
hole) (cm);
reinforced with two different arrangements of micropiles.
D10 5 soil particle diameter at which 10% of the
Subsequently, the data, which include the load-bearing capacity
mass of a soil sample is ner;
of the embankments, displacements of the embankment crest and
D30 5 soil particle diameter at which 30% of the
bed sides, and the axial strains of the micropiles, were measured
mass of a soil sample is ner;
using precision tools during the laboratory tests.
In the next step, the models were simulated and analyzed with D60 5 soil particle diameter at which 60% of the
PLAXIS-3D code and the outputs were controlled by the experi- mass of a soil sample is ner;
mental data to validate the numerical results. dm 5 diameter of an equivalent grout section of
Finally, a series of sensitivity analyses was accomplished on the model micropile (cm);
geometric parameters of micropiles to classify their efciency factor dp 5 diameter of an equivalent grout section of
in the process of arrangement optimization. prototype micropile (cm);
The main ndings of the research are summarized as follows: EG 5 Youngs modulus of grout (MPa);
1. The experimental and numerical results have an excellent EGS 5 Youngs modulus of grouted sand (MPa);
agreement with percentage differences of 0.89, 16, and 4.11% Em 5 Youngs modulus of equivalent grout section
in load-bearing capacity, embankment deformation, and axial of model micropile (MPa);
strains of micropiles, respectively. This proves the accuracy of Ep 5 Youngs modulus of equivalent grout section
the numerical modeling. of prototype micropile (MPa);
2. According to the results of the numerical analysis, the opti- ES 5 Youngs modulus of steel;
mum arrangement of micropiles for embankment stabilization FS 5 safety factor;
occurs in the case of installing two vertical and two 45 mi- f c9 5 compression strength of cement grout (MPa);
cropiles at the embankment toe. In this condition, the micro- G 5 material stiffness;
piles diameter, length, and spacing are limited to 10 mm, GS 5 specic gravity of soil;

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Int. J. Geomech. 2013.13:729-744.


IDC 5 inner diameter of casing (cm); Bruce, J., Ruel, M., Janes, M., and Ansari, N. (2004). Design and con-
K 5 displacement transducer number; struction of a micropile wall to stabilize a railway embankment.
L 5 length (m); Proc., 29th Annual Conf. on Deep Foundations, Deep Foundations
LMP 5 micropile length (m); Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 111.
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M 5 number of strain gauge;
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MP 5 micropile;
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MPN -u 5 micropile number N with degree of u; Federal Highway Admistration (FHWA). (2000). Micropile design and
N 5 number of micropiles; construction guidelines. Rep. FHWA-SA-97-070, DOT, Washington,
NS 5 number of micropiles in embankment section; DC, 31200.
ODC 5 outer diameter of casing (cm); Haider, T. F., Byle, M. J., and Horvath, R. E. (2004). Dam stabilization
PG 5 grouting pressure (bar); with micropiles. Proc., Sessions of Geo-Denver 2000, ASCE, New
PK 5 position of displacement transducer No. K; York.
RGP 5 radius of grout penetration zone (cm); Harris, H. G., and Sabnis, G. M. (1999). Structural modelling and experi-
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S 5 shear strength of the soil (kN=m2 ); mental techniques, 2nd Ed., CRC, Boca Raton, FL.
SMP 5 micropile spacing (cm); Hassen, G., Dias, D., and de Buhan, P. (2009). Multiphase constitutive
V 5 volume of grout consumption (cm3 ); model for the design of piled-embankments: Comparison with three-
W=C 5 water-to-cement ratio; dimensional numerical simulations. Int. J. Geomech., 9(6), 258266.
Howe, W. K. (2010). Micropiles for slope stabilization. Proc., 2010
wopt 5 optimum moisture content of soil;
Biennial Geotechnical Seminar, ASCE, New York.
a 5 an exponent of effective stress in stiffness Iai, S. (1989). Similitude for shaking table tests on soil-structure-uid
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gdmax 5 maximum dry soil unit weight (kN=m3 ); merical modelling of a piled embankment. Int. J. Geomech., 9(3),
5 strain of micropiles (mstrain ); 102112.
M
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u 5 angle of micropiles to vertical axis (degree); piles. M.S. thesis, School of Railway Engineering of Iran Univ. of
n 5 Poissons ratio; Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran.
r 5 material density (kg=m3 ); Krawinkler, H. (1979). Possibilities and limitations of scale-model testing
s 5 stress (kN=m2 ); in earthquake engineering. Proc., 2nd US National Conf. on Earth-
w 5 angle of internal friction (degree); and quake Engineering, Stanford Univ., 283292.
McManus, K. J., Charton, G., and Turner, J. P. (2004). Effect of micropiles
c 5 angle of dilatancy (degree).
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Misra, A., and Chen, C. H. (2007). Load displacement relationships for
micropiles. Proc., Int. Deep Foundations Congress 2002, ASCE, New
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