Effects of soil arching on behavior of pile-supported railway embankment: 2D FEM approach

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Journal Article
Computers and Geotechnics, 2020, 123
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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd The construction of railway embankment on soft soil is a challenging task for practitioners. In the past, several approaches have been employed in practice to overcome this problem. Pile foundation is considered one of the reliable solutions for soft ground. In a pile-supported railway embankment, soil arching plays a vital role in the efficient load transfer to the piles. In this study, the soil arching phenomenon in a granular embankment subjected to train induced loading is demonstrated based on the two-dimensional (2D) finite element modeling approach. A 2D plane strain idealization is used to convert a real three-dimensional (3D) case into 2D. The effects of the piled railway embankment properties on soil arching are investigated. It is found that pile modulus, embankment modulus and friction angle affect the arching mechanism significantly. Pile spacing (s) variation affects soil arching (i.e., the arching zone can be increased by reducing s). In addition, the height and shape of arching are studied. A comparison with the available analytical design methods for embankments is presented which indicates inconsistencies in the previously published results.
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