Research Papers

Temperature Distribution in Mechanically Stabilized Earth Wall Soil Backfills for Design Under Elevated Temperature Conditions

[+] Author and Article Information
Andrew M. Kasozi

Department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering,
University of Nevada,
1664 North Virginia Street, Reno/MS257,
Reno, NV 89557
e-mail: akasozi@gmail.com

Raj V. Siddharthan

Professor of Civil Engineering
Department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering,
University of Nevada,
1664 North Virginia Street, Reno/MS257,
Reno, NV 89557
e-mail: siddhart@unr.edu

Rajib Mahamud

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of South Carolina,
300 Main Street,
Columbia, SC 29208
e-mail: mahamud@email.sc.edu

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS. Manuscript received August 11, 2014; final manuscript received November 24, 2014; published online January 13, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Samuel Sami.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 7(2), 021004 (Jun 01, 2015) (9 pages) Paper No: TSEA-14-1188; doi: 10.1115/1.4029354 History: Received August 11, 2014; Revised November 24, 2014; Online January 13, 2015

Two-dimensional (2D) transient numerical thermal modeling was undertaken using ansys fluent v12.1 software to estimate distribution of soil backfill temperatures in a typical mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall. The modeling was calibrated using field-measured temperature data from the Tanque-Verde MSE wall in Tucson, Arizona (AZ) in which computed temperature data were found to be within ±5% of the field data. The calibrated model predictions for Las Vegas, Nevada (NV) showed an overall average soil backfill temperature of 34.3 °C relative to a maximum outside surface temperature of 51.6 °C. Such a high average soil backfill temperature calls for modification of design procedures since conventional designs are based on geosynthetic tensile strength determined at 20 °C.

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Fig. 1

(a) Typical MSE wall structure and (b) 3D isometric view of wall schematic showing face panel and backfill reinforcing elements

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Fig. 2

Laboratory tensile strength testing of unconditioned uniaxial HDPE geogrid: (a) universal testing machine; (b) environmental chamber; (c) test results (error bars represent ±1 standard deviation from the mean value)

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Figure 3

(a) Photograph of Tanque-Verde MSE wall in Tucson, AZ; (b) wall cross section 26–30 showing field-measured temperature data (upper and lower data were taken in June 1986 and June 1996, respectively. Adapted from Ref. [7].

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Figure 4

2D Transient heat flow analysis domain: (a) schematic/cross section through typical MSE wall; (b) sinusoidal temperature profile along external surfaces

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Figure 5

Boundary conditions for field data recorded in June 1986

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Figure 6

Correlation between ansys-computed and field-measured data

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Figure 7

Boundary conditions for modeling soil backfill temperatures in Las Vegas

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Figure 8

Thermal modeling results for Las Vegas, NV: (a) temperature distribution; (b) dectionwise variation of soil backfill temperatures



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