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Lateral Thrust Distribution of Column-Supported Embankments for Limiting Cases of Lateral Spreading | Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering


Lateral spreading analysis of column-supported embankments (CSEs) requires an understanding of lateral thrust distribution. This includes quantifying the portion of thrust that is resisted by tension in geosynthetic reinforcements installed in the load transfer platform. Results from a three-dimensional (3D) numerical parametric study using a half-embankment domain and totaling 140 scenarios are presented in terms of lateral thrust distribution. Forces examined include the lateral thrusts in the embankment and foundation soil, the geosynthetic tension, and the base shear at depth, and results are presented for the limiting cases of lateral spreading (i.e., undrained end-of-construction and long-term dissipated). Results show that lateral thrusts induced by embankment loading are significant in the embankment, foundation soil, and base shear beneath the columns. However, the portion of lateral thrust carried by the geosynthetic is limited, though it increases with the geosynthetic stiffness. Results also indicate that lateral spreading in CSEs is more critical at the undrained end-of-construction condition than in the long-term condition after excess pore water pressures have dissipated. Correlations for the thrust distribution at these limiting conditions and different embankment locations (i.e., centerline, shoulder, and toe) are provided.

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