The Use of Geosynthetics To Reinforce Low Volume Roads

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  05/10/2001


This report presents the results of a study that investigated the reinforcement function of geosynthetics for typical Minnesota low-volume roadways. Researchers conducted a series of numerical simulations using the finite difference program FLAC. The numerical tests consisted of a static, circular nine kip loading over a variety of typical surfaced and unsurfaced road cross sections that were reinforced with geotextiles and geogrids. Researchers used elastic and elasto-lastic models with frictional interfaces to simulate the layered roadway system. The results of the study indicate that the addition of a geosynthetic does provide reinforcement to the roadway as long as the geosynthetic is stiffer than the subgrade material. However, for most of the cases studied, the benefit in terms of deflection reduction, was very small. Only for the poorest quality subgrades was the reinforcement benefit substantial.

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