In this paper, Edwin Ruiz shares the analyses he performed for a case study in which he simulated the construction of a hypothetical reinforced road embankment and its effects on the soft cohesive soil on top of which it was built. First, embankment construction was simulated, considering a small deformation and plane-strain analysis for the embankment cross section. Then, a total stress analysis was performed, disregarding the development of excess pore-water pressures in the soft soil. A set of undrained soil parameters for the foundation soil were considered. Nevertheless, not only total stress analyses were performed, effective stress analyses were also carried out. In this case, the construction of the system was simulated considering a partially drained behavior of the soft soil, allowing partial dissipation of excess pore-water pressures during embankment construction. Stiffness parameters for the foundation soil had to be taken into consideration to simulate drained conditions, as well as hydraulic conductivity for all materials involved. All parameters taken into consideration for the simulation cases are presented. Results indicate the significant influence of consolidation process on the embankment performance in terms of mobilized reinforcement strains. A normalization chart was developed to estimate the additional mobilized reinforcement strains as a result of consolidation.
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Reported by Lucía Isabel Dávila, Young Members Chair for the South America Region