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Numerical analysis of full-scale mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls under strip footing load

In this study, the results of full scale physical model geogrid-reinforced MSE walls are compared with the results of numerical analysis (Plaxis 2D) under short and longterm loading conditions. The two full scale models were only different in the flexibility of facing elements (with full rigid or full flexible face). Specifics regarding the behavior of the geogrids after the compaction load and under the strip footing load are included in the study. The focus of the paper is to compare the maximum tensile forces in reinforcement layers in the experimental tests with the numerical analysis. Based on the research findings, the maximum strains in the reinforcement layers occurred in the upper layers right below the strip footing load. The maximum wall deflection for flexible facing is larger than for rigid facing and occurred at h/H=0.81 from top of the wall. By considering the apparent cohesion of a soil-geogrid composite mass in this study, there is good agreement between the test results and numerical analysis. It appears that the geogrid has two functions it works as a ‘wedge tight back’ and as a soil improvement.