Pullout resistance factors for inextensible mechanically stabilized earth reinforcements in sandy backfill

William Lawson, Priyantha Jayawickrama, Timothy Wood, James Surles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper presents results from a laboratory program of 402 pullout tests of inextensible reinforcements used for walls of mechanically stabilized earth (MSE). Results focus on the evaluation of pullout resistance factors for ribbed-steel strip and welded-steel grid reinforcements embedded in sandy backfill that marginally met AASHTO requirements for select granular fill. This project used Texas Tech University's large-scale MSE test box with dimensions of 12 × 12 × 4 ft and an applied overburden capacity of 40 ft of backfill. This test box facilitated pullout testing at a scale not unlike typical field construction. The research design evaluated pullout resistance factors for both ribbed-strip and welded-grid reinforcements for a variety of independent variables, including overburden pressure, reinforcement length, level of compaction, grid wire size, and grid geometry, such as transverse and longitudinal wire spacing. Appropriate statistical analyses were used to interpret the data within the context of published AASHTO design guidance for inextensible MSE reinforcements. The results show that pullout behaviors of both ribbed strips and welded grids in properly compacted sandy backfill are conservative compared with the default pullout resistance factors provided by AASHTO. The data also suggest that the current AASHTO equations for pullout resistance factors for grid reinforcement do not accurately capture the influence of transverse and longitudinal bar spacings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2363
StatePublished - Jan 12 2013


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