Physical modelling of structural and biological soil reinforcement

Jonathan Knappett (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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This paper presents a number of different approaches that can be used to produce small scale models of soil re-inforcing elements (here, piles and plant roots) for which similitude of relative soil-structure stiffness and soil-structure strength can be achieved simultaneously. This includes a discussion of the appropriate dimension-less groups that should be satisfied and a description of the modelling procedures. This is achieved via a se-ries of worked examples of centrifuge model design for steel tubular piles, square reinforced concrete piles and plant roots, though the methods can in principle be applied to other types of reinforcement including re-taining walls and soil nails. It is hoped that these will prove to be useful guidance in model design for those new to centrifuge modelling. The modelling procedures demonstrate how principles from materials science can be creatively applied to achieve simultaneous similitude of strength and stiffness, including (i) the use of heat-treatment processing of metal alloys; (ii) development of a micro reinforced concrete based on an under-standing of size effect in brittle materials; and (iii) use of materials selection charts for identification of suita-ble analogue materials. The paper concludes with examples of the application of these procedures in as-sessing the resilience of reinforced slopes to earthquake ground motions using centrifuge modelling to deter-mine whether vegetation (plant roots) can be used as a low-carbon alternative to conventional ‘hard’ engineer-ing methods for such a problem.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysical Modelling in Geotechnics
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (ICPMG 2018), July 17-20, 2018, London, United Kingdom
EditorsAndrew McNamara, Sam Divall, Richard Goodey
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-34419-8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2018
Event9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geoetchnics - City University, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Jul 201820 Jul 2018


Conference9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geoetchnics
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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