Load-transfer platform behaviour in embankments supported on semi-rigid columns: Implications of the ground reaction curve

Daniel J. King, Abdelmalek Bouazza, Joel R. Gniel, R. Kerry Rowe, Ha H. Bui

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Post-construction data from an instrumented geosynthetic reinforced column supported embankment (GRCSE) on drilled displacement columns in Melbourne, Australia, show the time-dependent development of arching over the 2 year monitoring period and a strong relationship between the development of arching stresses and subsoil settlement. A ground reaction curve is adopted to describe the development of arching stresses and good agreement is found for the period observed thus far. Predictions of arching stresses and load-transfer platform behaviour are presented for the remaining design life. Four phases of arching stress development (initial, maximum, load-recovery, and creep strain phases) are shown to describe the time-dependent, and subsoil-dependent, development of arching stresses that can be expected to occur in many field embankments. Of the four phases, the load-recovery phase is the most important with respect to load-transfer platform design, as it predicts the breakdown of arching stresses in the long term due to increasing subsoil settlement. This has important implications in assessing the appropriate design stress for the geosynthetic reinforcement layers, but also the deformation of the load-transfer platform in the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-1175
Number of pages18
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Arching
  • Column-supported embankment
  • Field case study
  • Geosynthetics
  • Load-transfer platform

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