On the shear failure mode of granular column embedded unit cells subjected to static and cyclic shear loads
Since the initial conception of geosynthetic encased columns (GECs), exhaustion of column capacity due to vertical loads in bulging and punching failure modes were readily recognized. This lead to a vast majority of the available research on GECs to be about the behavior of columns under the action of vertical loads. Recently, two other likely and perhaps more dominant failure modes for granular columns namely, shear and bending failure modes, were identified. The purpose of this paper is to study the behavior of unit cells containing ordinary stone columns (OSCs) and GECs under static and cyclic lateral loads where shear failure of the column is imminent. 1-g physical tests are conducted with a novel apparatus, designated as Unit Cell Shear Device (UCSD), to model the behavior of the unit cells located close to the toe of an embankment where OSCs and GECs experience significant lateral loading. Overall failure envelope and strength parameters for GECs with varying reinforcement stiffnesses are quantified under static and cyclic lateral loading conditions. The distribution and magnitude of reinforcement strains in horizontal (hoop) and vertical direction of the columns are also considered.