Permanent deformation behaviour of reinforced flexible pavements built on soft soil subgrade

Xiaochao Tang, Angelica M. Palomino, Shelley M. Stoffels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of using various geogrid products to improve permanent deformation resistance in soft subgrade soils commonly encountered during roadway construction in Pennsylvania. Permanent deformation behaviours of the soft soils both with and without the inclusion of geogrids were investigated. Cyclic moving wheel loads were applied through a reduced-scale accelerated pavement testing (APT) device, a one-third-scale model mobile load simulator (MMLS3). Tests were conducted on two soil types, each modified with three different biaxial geogrids placed at the base–subgrade interface. The total permanent deformation/surface rutting of the pavement and the permanent deformation of the subgrade were measured at selected intervals of the wheel loading applications. The pavement sections were trenched upon completion of the accelerated testing to measure the deformed profiles of the cross sections from which the permanent deformations in the asphalt layer and the base layer were determined. Sections modified with geogrids were found to have similar performance with the control section in terms of the total permanent deformation. While the geogrids did not show significant effects on the asphalt layer permanent deformation, sections with geogrids consistently showed a significantly higher base layer permanent deformation as compared to the control sections. Measurements of the subgrade permanent deformation showed that two of the geogrids consistently reduced the permanent deformation of subgrade built with the two types of soft soil. The relative layer contribution to the total permanent deformation suggested a base layer failure in both sets of the accelerated tests, most likely due to the inadequate compaction of the base layer during construction. Sections modified with geogrids exhibited a significantly higher base layer contribution, along with a significantly lower subgrade contribution, to the total permanent deformation, whereas the control section showed the opposite of the layer contributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-327
Number of pages17
JournalRoad Materials and Pavement Design
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Permanent deformation behaviour of reinforced flexible pavements built on soft soil subgrade'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this