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2-D numerical investigation on load transfer in pile-supported fill platforms subjected to cyclic loading

Geosynthetic-Reinforced Pile-Supported (GRPS) fill platforms have been increasingly used as an expedite technique for embankment construction over soft soils. In the past decades, most studies have focused on the behavior of GRPS fill platforms under static loading. However, the GRPS embank-ments are subjected to traffic loading in service. Some experimental tests also showed that cyclic loading would weaken the load transfer from soil to piles. In this paper, a series of two-dimensional (2-D) numerical analyses were conducted to investigate the load transfer in GRPS embankments under cyclic loading. A uniform cyclic pressure was applied on the embankment surface. The numerical model was first calibrated using a model test available in the literature. After that, the model was used to investigate the influence factors of the thickness of granular fill, the geosynthetic reinforcement, and the load type (static load and cyclic load) on soil arching effect. The numerical results show that the cyclic load weakened the load trans-fer function of the gravel fill since more load was transferred onto the moveable part and more surface differential settlement took place as compared with those under the static load. However, the geosynthetic reinforcement minimized the effect of the cyclic load on the soil arching, especially under the thin fill condition. A curved soil arch with lower and upper boundaries was identified under a thick fill condition and the critical height of the soil arch was almost identical under both static and cyclic loading conditions. Modified factors for soil arching ratio are proposed to consider the influence of the cyclic load on the soil arching effect.