Numerical simulations using FEM 2D compared to FEM 3D and observed behaviour of reinforced full scale embankment
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A full scale test embankment (6 m height) was constructed by Department of Highways, the Bureau of Road Research and Development in Phitsanulok, Thailand. A surcharge fill of 1.2 m thick without reinforcements was added at the top of the embankment equivalent to 2 tsm of load. One side of this embankment was reinforced with polymeric reinforcements consisting polyester (PET), polypropylene (PP) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) and referred as reinforced steep slope (RSS), which is at an angle of 70 degrees from horizontal. The other side of the embankment was reinforced with metallic reinforcements consisting of metallic strips (MS) and steel wire grids (SWG) combined with precast concrete panel and termed as mechanically stabilized earth wall (MSEW). The comparisons of these reinforcing materials in terms of stiffness from highest to lowest are metallic strip (MS), steel wire grids (SWG), polypropylene (PP), high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polyester (PET). The behavior of the test embankment on hard foundation was analyzed and compared with the simulated results using PLAXIS software. The FEM 2D and the FEM 3D simulations were compared with the observed data. The results obtained from FEM 3D have good agreement with the field measurements in terms of vertical and lateral deformations of the embankment. However, there were slight differences when compared with the FEM 2D simulations due to its limitations.