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Response of pavement foundations incorporating both geocells and expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam

Siabil, S.M.A. Ghotbi; Tafreshi, S.N. Moghaddas; Dawson, A.R.


S.M.A. Ghotbi Siabil

S.N. Moghaddas Tafreshi

A.R. Dawson


The suitability of geocell reinforcement in reducing rut depth, surface settlements and/or pavement cracks during service life of the pavements supported on expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam blocks is studied using a series of large-scale cyclic plate load tests plus a number of simplified numerical simulations. It was found that the improvement due to provision of geocell constantly increases as the load cycles increase. The rut depths at the pavement surface significantly decrease due to the increased lateral resistance provided by the geocell in the overlying soil layer, and this compensates the lower competency of the underlying EPS geofoam blocks. The efficiency of geocell reinforcement depends on the amplitude of applied pressure: increasing the amplitude of cyclic pressure increasingly exploits the benefits of the geocell reinforcement. During cyclic loading application, geocells can reduce settlement of the pavement surface by up to 41% compared to an unreinforced case – with even greater reduction as the load cycles increase. Employment of geocell reinforcement substantially decreases the rate of increase in the surface settlement during load repetitions. When very low density EPS geofoam (EPS 10) is used, even though accompanied with overlying reinforced soil of 600 mm thickness, the pavement is incapable of tolerating large cyclic pressures (e.g. 550 kPa). In comparison with the unreinforced case, the resilient modulus is increased by geocell reinforcement by 25%, 34% and 53% for overlying soil thicknesses of 600, 500 and 400 mm, respectively. The improvement due to geocell reinforcement was most pronounced when thinner soil layer was used. The verified three-dimensional numerical modelings assisted in further insight regarding the mechanisms involved. The improvement factors obtained in this study allow a designer to choose appropriate values for a geocell reinforced pavement foundation on EPS geofoam.


Siabil, S. G., Tafreshi, S. M., & Dawson, A. (2019). Response of pavement foundations incorporating both geocells and expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam. Geotextiles and Geomembranes,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 25, 2019
Online Publication Date Sep 13, 2019
Publication Date Sep 13, 2019
Deposit Date Sep 17, 2019
Publicly Available Date Sep 14, 2020
Journal Geotextiles and Geomembranes
Print ISSN 0266-1144
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Article Number 103499
Keywords Geosynthetics; EPS geofoam; Geocell reinforcement; Cyclic plate load tests; Pavements
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