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New Findings in GRS Technology

October 23rd, 2017

CORRE's Philip Meinholz, PE discusses the findings from his latest study published in Transportation Infrastructure Geotechnology.

GRS Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil
GRS technology consists of closely-spaced layers of geosynthetic reinforcement and compacted granular fill material. GRS has been used for a variety of earthwork applications since the U.S. Forest Service first used it to build walls for roads in steep mountain terrain in the 1970s.

"Seismic Behavior of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil (GRS) Bridge Abutments with Concrete Block Facing—an Analytical Study."

In a nutshell, what does this study say (in layman's terms)?

This study describes how finite element modeling and full scale seismic testing have led to the conclusion that GRS (Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil) abutments are a proven strong and viable solution for bridge support in seismically active areas.

What role did you play in this study?

This study compared the finite element model findings to the results of the GRS seismic testing I worked on in 2009 while working at an Army Corps of Engineers research facility in Champaign, Illinois.

What impact do these findings have on future bridge projects in our area?

This study, in addition to the implementation of GRS technology nationwide, has shown that GRS abutments offer a low-cost and robust alternative to conventional bridge abutments.

How can CORRE use these findings?

Having a thorough understanding of the design and construction of GRS bridge abutments will allow us to provide our clients with the information needed to take a GRS bridge project from start to finish.

When did you become interested in geotechnical engineering?

During undergraduate coursework I was exposed to ways of using a soils own mass to stabilize itself. I thought some of the concepts were ingenious and I wanted to learn more.

What about yourself might people not know regarding your structural engineering background?

Having a background in carpentry has really helped me be able to visualize the process in which structures are constructed.

Philip Meinholz, PE is a structural engineer for CORRE, Inc. He holds a Master of Science degree in Structural and Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee where he also served as a Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant. He has been featured on the ACOE CERL website for his research on seismic testing of geo-synthetic reinforced bridge abutments, which played into the findings of this latest study.

Ghaderi, R., Helwany, S., Wu, J.T.H. et al. Transp. Infrastruct. Geotech. (2017) 4: 52.

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