Failure Mechanism of Two-Stage Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls on Soft Ground

  • Zhang Xu
  • Chen JianfengEmail author
  • Liu Junxiu
Conference paper
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


A coupled of discrete-continuum numerical model was established for the two-stage Mechanically Stabilized Earth (TS-MSE) wall on soft ground based on centrifugal test. In the numerical model, the wall and soft ground were simulated using Particle Flow Code (PFC) and Fast Lagrangian Code (FLAC), respectively. The deformations of the TS-MSE wall on soft ground were analyzed under working loading. Then, the failure mechanism of the wall was further investigated. It was found that the numerical results were in good agreement with the measured results in the centrifugal test and that the TS-MSE wall can well adapt to the soft ground under the working loading. The TS-MSE wall on the soft ground generally suffers the deep seated failure mode, and the deep seated failure surface is composed of a Rankine failure surface in the unreinforced zone and an arc failure surface in the foundation. The strength of the reinforcements was gradually reduced to investigate the internal failure mechanism of the TS-MSE wall on the soft ground, and the internal failure mechanism of the wall exhibited that the reinforcements were fractured from the bottom to the top of the wall in sequence following the failure surface in the foundation, forming a Rankine failure surface passing through the end of the connection element at the bottom layer.


Failure mechanism Two-stage mechanically stabilized earth wall Centrifuge modeling Coupling of discrete-continuous method Soft ground 



The support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grants Nos. 41072200, 41572266 and 41772289 is gratefully acknowledged.


  1. 1.
    Tatsuoka F, Tateyama M, Uchimura T et al (1997) Geosynthetic reinforced soil retaining walls as important permanent structures. Geosynth Int 4(2):81–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bloomfield RA, Soliman AF, Abraham A (2001) Performance of mechanically stabilized earth walls over compressible soils. Balkema, Swets and Zeitlinger, pp 317–322Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chen JF, Liu JX, Xue JF (2014) Centrifugal test on a reinforced soil wall with flexible/rigid facings. J Tongji Univ (Nat Sci) 42(12):1805–1811 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chen JF, Liu JX, Shi ZM (2016) Numerical simulation of reinforced soil walls with flexible/rigid facings on yielding foundation. Chin J Rock Mech Eng 35(2):422–432 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Berg RR, Christopher BR, Samtani NC (2009) Design of mechanically stabilized earth walls and reinforced soil slopes: volume I. Report No. FHWA-NHI-10-024. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Washington D C, USAGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cundall PA, Hart RD (1992) Numerical modelling of discontinua. Eng Comput 9(2):101–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Itasca Consulting Group Inc. (1999) PFC2D (Particle flow code in 2 dimensions) online manual table of contents. Itasca Consulting Group Inc., MinnesotaGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Xue JF, Chen JF, Liu JX, Shi ZM (2014) Instability of a geogrid reinforced soil wall on thick soft Shanghai clay with prefabricated vertical drains: a case study. Geotext Geomembr 42(2):302–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chen JF, Liu JX, Jian FX, Shi ZM (2014) Stability analyses of a reinforced soil wall on soft soils using strength reduction method. Eng Geol 177(10):83–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Anhui Jianzhu UniversityHefeiChina

Personalised recommendations