Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

John Scott McCartney

Second Advisor

Hon-Yim Ko

Third Advisor

Dobroslav Znidarcic


Geosynthetic reinforcement of granular fill overlying soft soils is a possible approach to improve the load-settlement behavior of foundations. Geosynthetic reinforcement of granular fill is intended to function by providing lateral restraint to the fill, which reduces the potential for settlement of underlying soils by distributing the foundation load to a wider area. The approach may help avoid high costs associated with other alternatives such as deep foundations or modification of the underlying soil. Further, the use of geosynthetic reinforcement may require less backfill soil to adequately distribute the foundation load to a wider area. In other words, geosynthetic reinforcements are expected to increase the lateral restraint of granular fill, minimizing lateral deformations during application of a surficial foundation load. The objective of this research project is to use small-scale centrifuge tests to evaluate the load-settlement curves of surficial foundations on geosynthetic reinforced sand layers overlying soft material. The variables investigated in this study include the depth and number of geosynthetic layers and the centrifuge acceleration level. It was found that geosynthetic reinforcement only leads to an improvement in the load-settlement curves when the confining pressure is low enough that the pullout resistance of the geosynthetics can be mobilized.

IMG_0001(2).JPG (2161 kB)
IMG_0011(3).JPG (2607 kB)
IMG_0023(2).JPG (2634 kB)