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Geogrids in cold climate: Temperature controlled tensile tests & Half-scale installation tests at different temperatures 
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Due to the findings of extensive damage on geogrids used in a road embankment in northern Sweden, the Swedish Transport Administration (TRV) started to investigate the reason of these damages. Since the geogrids were installed at low temperature, below 0°C, it was suspected that the damages were connected the low temperature.

To analyse whether low temperatures have an influence on the extent of installation damages, both a half-scale setup and temperature controlled tensile tests have been carried out on geogrids.

In total five different types of geogrids have been tested; 3 extruded polypropylene geogrids, 1 woven PET geogrid, and 1 welded PET geogrid. All geogrids had an aperture size of approximately 35 mm and specified tensile strength of approximately 40 kN/m.

The Half-scale tests was conducted by building a small road embankment inside a freeze container, at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU). The embankment contained crushed aggregate, type 0-70 mm, and geogrids. The purpose of the half-scale test was to simulate installation of geogrids at different temperatures and thereby investigate whether low temperatures have an influence on the rate of installation damages.

The half-scale test was done for each type of geogrid at the temperatures: +20°C, -20°C and -30°C. First, the geogrid was covered by 150 mm of crushed aggregate. Then a vibratory plate (160 kg) was used to compact the crushed aggregate. After each installation, the crushed aggregate was removed carefully by vacuum suction. The geogrid was removed and then analysed by visual control and tensile tests conducted according to ISO 10319:2008 (wide width tensile test).

Results from the half-scale tests indicate that 2 out of 5 of the tested geogrids were affected by the testing procedure. The results indicate that:

-        one of the geogrids of polyprophylene (here referred to as G2) was more damaged at lower temperatures compared to installation at +20° C.

-        the geogrid of woven PET (here referred to as G5) was less damaged at lower temperatures compared to installation at +20° C.

Results for the other geogrids are either inconsistent or shows no significant variation of the measured parameters as function of temperature. Hence, these results cannot be interpreted as damage during installation.

Temperature controlled tensile tests were done by tensile testing single strands from the geogrids to failure, inside a temperature controlled chamber. The purpose of these tests was to investigate how the strength properties of the geogrids are affected by low temperature. The test was repeated 5 times for each geogrid and temperature (+20°C, 0°C, -10°C and -20°C). Force and strain was measured during the tests.

The results from the temperature controlled tensile tests show that the maximum strain decreases with lower temperature for all tested geogrids. The maximum strain decreased by 16% - 49% when the temperature dropped from +20°C to -20°C.

The results show that the tensile strength increases with lower temperature for all tested geogrids except for the welded PET geogrid (here referred to as G1). For G1 the tensile strength decreased by approximately 7% at a temperature drop from +20°C to -20°C.

For the woven PET geogrid (G5) and the polypropylene geogrids (G2-G3) the tensile strength increased between 13%-45% at a temperature drop from +20°C to -20°C.

The E-modulus increased at lower temperature for all tested geogrids. The secant E-modulus at 2% strain increased by 13%-71% at a temperature drop from +20°C to -20°C.

Summarized conclusions from the tests:

Strength properties changed for all tested geogrids as the temperature decreased. All tested geogrids got stiffer at lower temperatures. The magnitude of the effects is different for different geogrids.

The tensile strength increased with lower temperature for all tested geogrids except for the welded PET geogrid, which got lower tensile strength at lower temperature.

The half-scale test indicates that the amount of installation damages at geogrids can be dependent of the temperature at installation. However, these indications can only be seen at two out of five tested geogrids. The effect cannot be connected to a specific step in the installation procedure and cannot be explained by the results from the temperature controlled tensile tests.

The results from the half-scale test have a statistically low reliability since only one installation for each temperature and geogrid type was done. The compaction equipment used during the test was small, and had low compaction energy compared to a vibratory roller compactor commonly used in construction work.

With respect to the discussion above, further studies should be focusing on developing the half-scale test. It is suggested that the test is scaled up to a full-scale test in order to simulate a real installation as close as possible. The test should also be conducted several times for each geogrid at each temperature in order to enable statistical analyses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 115
Keywords [en]
geogrid, cold climate, low temperature, tensile test, half-scale test
National Category
Geotechnical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-63204OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-63204DiVA, id: diva2:1092148
External cooperation
Trafikverket
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Civil Engineering, master's level
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-06-14 Created: 2017-05-01 Last updated: 2017-06-14Bibliographically approved

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