Behavior of geosynthetic-reinforced piled embankments with defective piles

Louis King, Abdelmalek Bouazza, Christophe Gaudin, Conleth D. O'Loughlin, Ha H. Bui

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper describes a series of centrifuge model tests undertaken to investigate the load transfer and settlements that develop around a defective pile within geosynthetic-reinforced piled embankments. Models of an embankment supported using both floating and end-bearing piles were constructed with the subsoil consolidated and piles installed in-flight to ensure the load-settlement responses of the piles were accurately modeled. In each model, a defective pile was installed to a shallower depth than the surrounding nondefective piles, and as a result, exhibited a relatively softer load-settlement response. The results show that for the floating pile case, the defective pile underwent uniform settlement with the surrounding nondefective piles, and therefore no differential settlement was experienced at the embankment surface. In contrast, for the end-bearing pile case, the defective pile underwent additional settlement compared with the surrounding nondefective piles, which resulted in a localized depression forming at the embankment surface. It is shown that the area influenced by the defective pile was limited to the confines of the surrounding pile unit cell. This was confirmed by penetrometer testing and the observation that piles adjacent to the defective pile carried no additional loads and underwent no additional settlement because of their close proximity to the defective pile.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04019090
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Arching
  • Centrifuge modeling
  • Defective pile
  • Geosynthetics
  • Piled embankments

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