Minnesota Department of Transportation
Vern Schaefervern@iastate.edu email >
Interim Director, CEER
About the research
Geogrids have been widely used in roadway construction as reinforcement in pavement foundations. Geogrids have been effective in practice for reducing rutting damage, distributing traffic loads within the pavement foundation layers, increasing the resilient modulus of the base course, and stabilizing the subgrade layer. For this project, an integrated mobile accelerated test system (IMAS), an automated plate load test (APLT) device, and finite element simulation approaches were used to evaluate the effects of geogrid reinforcement. Test configurations were constructed by varying geogrid types (i.e., light-duty biaxial, heavy-duty biaxial, light-duty triaxial, and heavy-duty triaxial), geogrid locations in the base course (i.e., at the interface between the base and the subgrade or in the base course), and base aggregate thicknesses (6, 10, and 16 in) in the laboratory and in experimental field tests.
The finite element method (FEM) models were calibrated based on the results from the experimental test sections. Then, the calibrated FEM models were used to determine granular equivalent (GE) values for the remaining sections. Testing results included resilient modulus, deflection, and permanent deformation of the pavement foundation to evaluate the structural benefits of geogrids as a function of the GE. The results of this research revealed that improvement in pavement performance using geosynthetic reinforcement depended on various factors and variables. A new formulation was proposed to predict the GE factor of geogrid reinforcement of flexible pavements. The products produced by this research include this report, which improves geogrid understanding, and a well-developed method to apply GE factors during pavement design. It is expected that one or more of the following benefits will be achieved during implementation: increased service life, reduced gravel and/or asphalt thickness, and reduced maintenance costs.