Department: Structural Engineering
Research Institute Affiliation: Graduate Program in Materials Science and Engineering
Faculty Advisor(s): John S. McCartney

Primary Student
Name: Wenyong Rong
Email: w1rong@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-999-7189
Grad Year: 2020

Student Collaborators
Yewei Zheng, y7zheng@ucsd.edu

Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil (GRS) bridge abutments have been used widely as highway infrastructure all over the world. In most instances, GRS bridge abutments are a system that includes a lower GRS wall supporting the bridge deck and superstructure, a bridge seat, and an upper GRS wall supporting the approaching roadway. Compared with traditional pile-supported bridge abutments, GRS bridge abutments have advantages of better differential settlement response, lower cost, and faster construction. Although 2D design methods have been shown to work well for GRS bridge abutments, the geometry of the abutment may be such that 3D effects may play a role in the design of the side walls. This study involves a 3D numerical simulation of deformation behavior of a typical GRS bridge abutment during construction and service using the finite difference program FLAC-3D. The objective of this study is to understand the deformation behavior of GRS system taking boundary effects into consideration. To reach this objective, soil-block, block-block, and soil-abutment interactions were simulated using interface elements and soil-geogrid interactions were simulated using geogrid structural elements in FLAC-3D. Analyses were performed in stages to simulate the abutment construction process. A uniform surcharge load was applied on the bridge deck and approach roadway to simulate traffic loads during service. The results provide insight into the lower wall lateral facing displacement in both the longitudinal and transverse walls, as well as lateral earth pressures and abutment structure settlement at the edge of the bridge deck compared to the centerline of the bridge deck. A parametric study has been conducted and shows the effect of soil dilatancy is small in the 3D analysis.

Industry Application Area(s)
Civil/Structural Engineering

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