Use of Innovative Geosynthetics to Improve the Resiliency of Highway Embankment Slopes Under Extreme Climatic Conditions

Expansive clays and frost susceptible silty soils are worldwide problems that trigger slope instability problems that can cause extensive damage to the highway embankments. This problem is dependent on soil types, their moisture content variation due to seasonal changes, and the external stress state conditions. The geomechanical behavior of such embankment soils is highly dependent on the changes in matric suction values associated with moisture variation. These fluctuations in the moisture and saturation levels of the soils are affected by freeze-thaw, wetting-drying cycles, and groundwater location. The changes in moisture level would result in frost heave-thaw settlement and swell-shrinkage on the embankment slopes which would yield a significant volume change that would ultimately cause significant damage to transportation infrastructure. While there are various techniques developed to mitigate the slope stability problems caused by these soils in embankments, this study proposes to test and evaluate innovative geosynthetic materials (e.g., wicking geotextile, capillary barrier geocomposites, geonets and others) to drain water out of the slope systems to minimize the swelling and shrinking of clays and heaving and thaw settling of silty soils. It is hypothesized that these innovative geosynthetics will prevent the migration of water from groundwater and/or other sources (e.g., precipitation, snow melting) and keep the embankment slopes under fully unsaturated conditions. This, in turn, prevents swelling/shrinking and/or heaving/thaw settling and improves the shear strength/slope stability. In this study, a detailed literature review including case histories, a field-relevant laboratory study, actual field instrumentation effort, and development/verification of a numerical model for use of geofabrics in embankment slopes are proposed to determine and evaluate the performance of the use of innovative geosynthetics in slope applications.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $1118972
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      National Center for Infrastructure Transformation

      Prairie View A&M University
      Prairie View, TX  United States  77446
    • Performing Organizations:

      Michigan State University, East Lansing

      Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      East Lansing, MI  United States  48824-1226
    • Principal Investigators:

      Cetin, Bora

      Puppala, Anand J

      Zapata, Claudia

      Alam, Jobair

      Biswas, Nripojyoti

    • Start Date: 20230901
    • Expected Completion Date: 20250831
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
    • Source Data: 01-05-MSU

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01893157
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: National Center for Infrastructure Transformation
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3552344813
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Sep 13 2023 11:48AM