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Experimental Evaluation of the Effect of Compaction on the Behavior of Geosynthetics-Reinforced Pile-Supported (GRPS) Embankment System

This article presents the results of two large-scale physical model studies of a geosynthetic-reinforced pile-supported embankment system (GRPS) under working stress conditions. The tests were performed at the Geotechnical Laboratory of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, COPPE/UFRJ, and simulate a GRPS construction under the plane-strain conditions. A backfill is composed of granular well-graded material and surcharge is applied by a pneumatic load system. A hydraulic platform elevator system simulates the soft soil settlement. For soil compaction, two different types of hand-operated compactors were used: a vibrating plate and a vibratory tamper. Equivalent vertical stresses for the vibrating plate (referred to as the “light compactor”) were much lower than the corresponding value of the vibratory tamper (referred to as the “heavy compactor”). The two models were similar, except for the induced stress due to compaction operation. In the first model, the vibrating plate was only used for backfill compaction. In the second model, the vibrating plate and the vibratory tamper were employed for the compaction of the backfill. The models were assembled and instrumented to monitor the transference of load between the soil, pile caps, and reinforcement. Settlements mobilized tensions on the reinforcement and the total stress at the interface between the pile caps and soil were measured. The results highlight the effect of the compaction induced stress on the behavior of GRPS.