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Geogrids are products that are used nowadays in many geotechnical and highway applications. they are formed from intersecting ribs that are made from polymer materials  such as polypropylene, polyester, and polyethylene which are capable of withstanding biological and chemical conditions. The gaps between the ribs are called Apertures. Geogrids can also be produced from natural materials such as cotton, however, these type of geogrids are only used for temporary applications since they are easily affected by biological activities below the ground level.

Fig 1: Geogrids (image source)

Applications of geogrids in highway construction:

1- stabilizaion:

The process of strengthening  subgrade material. In some cases subgrade soil is too weak to support highway construction loads and this makes the project of building highways extremely difficult, furthermore, if the foundation of a roadway is placed on a highly expansive soil which expands and shrinks due to moisture variation, the foundation of the roadway will severely deteriorate and continuous maintenance will be required. There are many methods used for soil stabilization such as chemical and mechanical stabilization. Compaction is a form of mechanical stabilization that is used extensively in roadway construction, however, in soft soils engineers prefer to use geogrids since it may be impossible to use compaction equipments for those types of soils. Subgrades are stabilized by placing a layer of aggregate and geogrids (please look at Fig 2).

Weak soils have low bearing capacity, which is the main cause to surface rutting (Fig 3). Therefore, geogrids are used to increase the bearing capacity by changing the shear failure mode due to effective load distribution .

Fig 2: stabilization procedure (image source)

Fig 3: surface rutting (image source)

2- Base reinforcement:

The application of placing geogrids in the base layer to increase aggregate lateral confinement through friction which is developed between aggregates  and geogrids (Fig 4). Geogrids restrain lateral and vertical displacement and thus prevents fatigue cracking and increases the service life of highways.

Fig 4: base reinforcement (image source)


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Mohammad Barzan

BSc- Geotechnical Engineering- Koya University.

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