Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

James A. Bay


James A. Bay


John D. Rice


Marvin W. Halling


Many research studies made on hundreds of MSE walls have shown that in order to get lower values of lateral earth pressure coefficients from an active condition on the backfill soil, thus lower exerted loads and stresses on the reinforcement, the wall needs to yield. This is typical of extensible polymer-based wall systems, such as geosynthetics. Steel systems, on the other hand, are very rigid and do not allow enough deformation on the wall to generate the active condition.

For this research, steel reinforcement for MSE walls that behaves similar to geosynthetics was developed. This was done by using crimps on steel bars that would allow the wall to deform as the crimps straighten. A pullout box was designed and constructed, where tensile and pullout tests were performed on the crimped reinforcement. Different crimp geometries on different bar diameters were tested under a range of confining pressures. From this, force-displacement curves were developed for these crimp geometries that could be used to predict deflections on walls with crimped reinforcement.

In addition, the pullout resistance of the crimps in the straighten process was evaluated. This way, the crimps would not only be used to allow the wall to yield, but also as a pullout resistance mechanism. The pullout resistances per crimp for different tensions on the crimp and under a range of overburden pressures were evaluated. By combining the pullout resistance of the crimps and the force-displacement curves, a new internal stability design method was introduced where crimped reinforcement is used to resist both pullout and rupture failure.

Also presented here are the pullout resistances of round bars with improved deformations of different diameters. These were found to have the same pullout resistance of square deformed bars with the same cross-sectional area. Round bars are preferred over square bars because they are more corrosion resistant and have longer design life.