Pullout Behavior of Steel Mechanically Stabilized Earth Reinforcements

Timothy A. Wood, William D. Lawson, Priyantha W. Jayawickrama, James G. Surles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Instrumented pullout tests of unprecedented scope and scale explore the pullout behavior for three steel mechanically stabilized earth reinforcement types: ribbed strips, ladder-like strips, and three-wire bar mat grids. These data quantify the distribution of pullout resistance between longitudinal elements and illustrate the nature of certain reinforcement deformations. Consistent with characteristic inextensible pullout behavior and soil-reinforcement interaction, synthesized strain-gage data illustrate linear stress reduction along the embedment length during pullout for all three reinforcement styles. For ladder-like strips, the axial force divides evenly between the two longitudinal elements. For the three-wire bar mat grid, the center bar carries approximately 40% of the axial force, whereas each outside bar carries approximately 30% of the axial force. Observed pullout-induced deformation in the transverse elements of three-wire bar mat grids having widely spaced longitudinal bars is conceptually different from extensible behavior and suggests the need for refinement in current pullout resistance formulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-250
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


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