Effectiveness of a Geocomposite-PVD system in preventing subgrade instability and fluidisation under cyclic loading

Publication Name

Geotextiles and Geomembranes


Instability of subgrade soil sometimes associated with soil fluidisation can lead to uncontrollable deformation and failure at a critical number of loading cycles for a given cyclic deviator stress and frequency. Although numerous laboratory experiments on the performance of Prefabricated Vertical Drains (PVDs) and geocomposites have already been carried out in the past, how effectively this combination can mitigate the potential for subgrade fluidisation under repeated (cyclic) loading is still not properly understood. The primary objective of this paper is to evaluate the integrated role of PVDs and geocomposite in preventing subgrade fluidisation using Dynamic Filtration Apparatus (DFA). Laboratory experiments show that the continuous dissipation of EPWP and the substantial reduction in drainage path lengths by PVDs can prevent subgrade fluidisation at shallow depths, while geocomposite can provide adequate surficial drainage and effective confinement at the ballast/subgrade interface. By measuring the Excess Pore Pressure Gradients (EPPGs) during cyclic loading, the test results convincingly reveal the promising performance of PVD-geocomposite combination under different loading conditions.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Sponsor

Associazione di Fondazioni e di Casse di Risparmio



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