Investigation of Soil-Arching Development in Dense Sand by 2D Model Tests

Rui Rui, Frits van Tol, YY Xia, SJM van Eekelen, G Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)
308 Downloads (Pure)


A trapdoor system has frequently been used to study soil arching and its development in recent years. The load transfer in the fill of piled embankments is very similar to a trapdoor system with multiple trapdoors. There are multiple arching models described in different standards and guidelines for piled embankments that can be subdivided into three archingmodel families. To study the soil-arching type and its development, a series of model tests with sand fills were carried out in a two-dimensional (2D) multi-trapdoor test setup. The tests considered four factors—the fill height, trapdoor width, pile width, and grain size of the sand—with four values for each factor. Triangular slip surfaces were found at very small deformations using the particle image velocimetry (PIV) technique. These surfaces evolved in ways that could be related to the three types of stress-distribution ratio curves, with development patterns similar to the arching families of piled embankments: (1) the rigidmodel family, (2) the equal-settlement-plane-model family, and (3) the limit-equilibriummodel family. The limit-equilibrium-model family occurred in tests with narrow trapdoor widths.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-430
JournalGeotechnical Testing Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • trapdoor tests
  • soil arching
  • piled embankments
  • multiple trapdoors
  • model test
  • stress-distribution ratio
  • PIV technique


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