Geogrid Stabilization of Unbound Aggregates Evaluated Through Bender Element Shear Wave Measurement in Repeated Load Triaxial Testing

Mingu Kang, Joon Han Kim, Issam I.A. Qamhia, Erol Tutumluer, Mark H. Wayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes the use of the bender element (BE) shear wave measurement technology for quantifying the effectiveness of geogrid stabilization of unbound aggregate materials with improved mechanical properties from repeated load triaxial testing. Crushed stone aggregate specimens were prepared with three different gradations, that is, upper bound (UB), mid-range engineered (ENG), and lower bound, according to the dense graded base course gradation specification in Illinois. The specimens were compacted at modified Proctor maximum dry densities and optimum moisture contents. Two geogrids with different triaxial aperture sizes were placed at specimen mid-height, and unstabilized specimens with no geogrid were also prepared for comparison. To measure shear wave velocity, three BE pairs were placed at different heights above geogrid. Repeated load triaxial tests were conducted following the AASHTO T307 standard resilient modulus test procedure, while shear wave velocity was measured from the installed BE pairs. After initial specimen conditioning, and at low, intermediate, and high applied stress states, both the resilient moduli and accumulated permanent strains were determined to relate to the geogrid local stiffening effects in the specimens quantified by the measured shear wave velocities. The resilient modulus and shear wave velocity trends exhibited a directly proportional relationship, whereas permanent strain and shear wave velocity values were inversely related. The enhancement ratios calculated for the geogrid stabilized over the unstabilized specimens showed significant improvements in mechanical behavior for the UB and ENG gradations, and a maximum enhancement was achieved for the engineered gradation specimens stabilized with the smaller aperture geogrid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-125
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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