Experimental Investigation and Finite Element Analysis of Highway Embankment on Soft Clay


Ramy Saadeldin

Research Scholar, Environmental Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Regina, Canada; e-mail: Mohamera@uregina.ca

Manal A. Salem

Assistant Professor
Geotechnical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Cairo University, Egypt

Hani A. Lotfi

Geotechnical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Cairo University, Egypt



Soft clays deposits are generally characterized by its low shear strength and high compressibility, and are usually subjected to surface desiccation. Cement stabilization of soft clay has been growingly used as a ground improvement method for both shallow and deep applications. This research evaluates the geotechnical behavior of a highway embankment constructed on soft clay before and after stabilization with cement. The undrained shear strength of the cement stabilized soft clay was experimentally determined. The results of the experimental work were used to analyze the behavior of the foundation soil under the highway embankment using a 2-D finite element model. The foundation soil consisted of two layers: CSC having a variable thickness ranging from 1 to 5m, followed by soft clay layer extending to 15m below ground surface. The behavior of the embankment founded on CSC was compared to that obtained if the CSC was replaced with compacted sand fill. Cement stabilization improved the behavior of the embankment with respect to safety against shear failure more than sand soil replacement.

Keywords: Soft clay; Highway embankment, Cement stabilization, Shear strength, Finite element model

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