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Effect of geogrid-facing connection on MSE wall deformations induced by laterally loaded piles

Piles have been increasingly installed in Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) walls with geogrid reinforcement to support lateral loads from bridges or sound barrier walls. Laterally loaded piles can induce deformations of the MSE wall. The magnitude of the deformation depends on several factors, one of which is the geogrid-facing connection method. To investigate this effect, reduced-scale model tests with block units were conducted in the laboratory, in which mechanical and frictional connections were used. A rigid pile with a pinned connection at the bottom of the pile was adopted. Three pile offset distances to the wall facing were also considered in this study. After the construction of the wall, the pile was loaded laterally at the top of the pile by a loading system that included a pulley and weights. A digital scale was used to measure the lateral load. The wall facing deformations were measured by a photo-grammetry method. The model tests clearly showed that the wall facing deformations increased with the increase of the load magnitude and decreased with the pile offset. The geogrid-facing connection affected the wall deformations at higher loads. The effect of the geogrid-facing connection became less significant when the pile offset distance became larger. The geogrid-facing connection also affected the deformation profile of the MSE wall induced by the laterally loaded pile. In general, the mechanical connection result-ed in less wall deformation than the frictional connection, especially when the pile had a small offset dis-tance.