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A study of embankments on soft foundation soils

Purdue University
Publication Date
  • Geotechnology|Engineering
  • Civil


A study was made to investigate potential factors which influence the behavior of embankments constructed on soft foundation soils, using a cap plasticity model in a finite element framework. The scope of the program was both observation- and numerically-oriented. To develop an understanding of these factors, several case histories were reviewed, and subsequently, those factors which were observed to be of a concern were analyzed using the previously-mentioned technique. Based on the results of this study, the greatest influence on the stability of an embankment constructed on a soft foundation soil is attributed to crust strength. Although reinforcement was observed to be beneficial, its influence on stability is one of only localized improvement.^ A simplied approach of the analysis of an embankment on a soft foundation of limited thickness using an upper-bound method is also presented. A mechanism is postulated based on velocity fields evaluated from numerical analyses. Subsequently, the approach is compared to the previous case histories, and agreement is relatively reasonable for the assumed mechanism. However, the approach presented herein only has limited applicability involving small values of embankment width to foundation depth, $\rm B\sb{n},$ (i.e., $\rm 2.5 < B\sb{n} < 6).$ ^

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