Local Stiffness Assessment of Geogrid-Stabilized Unbound Aggregates in a Large-Scale Testbed

Mingu Kang, Han Wang, Issam I. A. Qamhia, Erol Tutumluer, Jeb S. Tingle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper integrates and extends an earlier article presented at the 20th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. The generation of a stiffened zone in the proximity of a geogrid is one of the primary mechanisms of mechanical stabilization of pavement unbound aggregate layers using geogrids. This paper focuses on the quantification of the stiffened zone through a local stiffness assessment using bender element (BE) sensors. Unbound aggregate base layers were constructed in a large-scale laboratory testbed. Geogrid-stabilized layers had geogrids with different-sized triangular apertures contributing to the geogrid-stiffened zone. Shear wave velocities were measured at three different heights using BE sensors, and the vertical stiffness profiles of the mechanically stabilized aggregate layers were evaluated. In addition, the conversion method between small-strain stiffness and large-strain stiffness was established from the repeated load triaxial tests with BE pairs to transform the vertical stiffness profile into that of the resilient modulus. Furthermore, dynamic cone penetration (DCP) and light-weight deflectometer (LWD) tests were performed at multiple locations into the stabilized and unstabilized unbound aggregates. From the large-scale experimental study, the local stiffness improvement owing to the geogrid enhancement was up to 16.2% in the vicinity of the geogrid location, and the extent of the local stiffened zone evaluated through various test methods was between 15.2 cm (6 in.) and 25.4 cm (10 in.) above the geogrid.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number352
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • mechanical stabilization
  • shear wave velocity
  • bender elements
  • geogrid
  • unbound aggregates


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