Volume 34, N. 4

December 2011

The Interaction Between Reinforcement and Vertical Drains and Effect on the Performance of Embankments on Soft Ground


Volume 34, N. 4, December 2011 | DOWNLOAD PDF (12 downloads)


This paper reviews the behaviour of reinforced embankments on soft ground. Case of the Almere test embankment is used as an example to demonstrate the key function of reinforcement in improving the performance of embankments on soft foundation. The effects of partial drainage are summarized for reinforced embankments and contrasted the results from undrained analyses to highlight the effect of partial consolidation during construction. Effects of the interaction between reinforcement and prefabricated vertical drains (PVDs) are presented. It is concluded that the combined effects of partial consolidation provided by PVDs and the tension mobilized in reinforcement can substantially increase the stability of an embankment on a given soft soil. This paper also provides brief explanation of a recent design approach for embankments on soft soil, considering the combined effect of reinforcement and PVDs. Effects of the creep/relaxation characteristics of geosynthetic reinforcement and rate-sensitive nature of soft cohesive foundation soil are discussed. It is shown that time-dependent nature of geosynthetics and foundation can decrease the failure height of a reinforced embankment. Also, the long-term performances of a reinforced embankment can vary significantly depending on the soil and reinforcement characteristics. The results suggest the need for care when the foundation soil is rate-sensitive.

Keywords: Reinforced embankment, Geosynthetics, PVDs, Creep/relaxation, Soft ground, Design methods,

Submitted on October 18, 2010.
Final Acceptance on December 15, 2011.
Discussion open until July 31, 2012.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.344261