Lateral Response and Failure Mechanisms of Rigid Piles in Soft Soils Under Geosynthetic-Reinforced Embankment

  • Anhui Wang
  • Dingwen ZhangEmail author
Research paper


Previous studies regarding geosynthetic-reinforced pile-supported (GRPS) embankments over soft soils have mainly focused on load transfer mechanisms and design approaches. However, little attention was given to the lateral performance of rigid piles in GRPS embankment systems. This paper presents the results of 3D finite element analyses to examine and compare the lateral response and failure mechanisms of floating and end-bearing piles in soft soils under geosynthetic reinforced embankments. The effects of geosynthetic reinforcement and pile length on the stability of the embankments are also investigated. The results indicate that the induced lateral responses in the piles are distinctly different for floating and end-bearing piles. Failure of the floating pile is primarily caused by the inclination of the pile. However, for end-bearing piles, bending failure is clearly established as the principal mode of failure. The benefit of the geosynthetic layers in improving the stability of piled embankments is not particularly apparent. Moreover, the increase in pile length is significant in enhancing the stability of GRPS embankments. Specifically, when the normalized pile length varies from 0.75 to 1.15, the critical height of embankment increases from 6.2 to 11.8 m. However, the effect of pile length becomes negligible when the normalized pile length exceeds 1.15. The lateral movement and failure modes of GRPS embankments are strongly dependent on pile length. Therefore, it is essential to consider this aspect when analyzing the stability of the GRPS embankment.


GRPS embankment Floating pile End-bearing pile Lateral response Failure mode 



The research reported in this paper was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFC0800200). The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and advice, which greatly improved the quality of this manuscript.


The work presented in this paper was supported by the following supporting funds Organization: the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFC0800200).


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Copyright information

© Iran University of Science and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of TransportationSoutheast UniversityNanjingChina

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