SCREW-IN SOIL NAIL FOR SLOPE REINFORCEMENT AGAINST SLIP FAILURE: A LAB-BASED MODEL STUDY
Keywords:slope failure, soil nail, friction, slip plane, load-bearing, displacement, shearbox test
Slope failures occur when the shear resistance along the slip plane is exceeded. This can be caused by excessive load imposed at the slope crest or compromised stability of the slope, e.g. disturbed dimensions of the slope. In order to prevent slope failure, stabilisation or reinforcement measures need to be taken. A common solution is to intercept the slope failure plane with reinforcement elements, such as soil nails and ground anchors. In soil nailing, reinforcement bars are installed on the slope to effectively resist the additional shear forces from the imposed loads, hence reducing the probability of failure in the long run. This paper describes the innovation of soil nail with screw-in installation mechanism instead of the conventional push-in approach. The screw-in installation ensures better soil-nail grip and less disturbance during the slope stabilisation procedure, especially in terms of noise and spoils. In addition, the novel nail has a hollow stem which improves shear resistance with greater soil-nail surface contact on the inner wall. The opening at the nail head also enables displaced air to escape as the nail is screwed into the slope and soil pushed into the inner hollow cavity. The prototype nails were tested in a slope model with different configurations, and were found to reduce the Angular Distortion Ratio by 37 % and the Volumetric Deformation Index as much as 33 % respectively. The novel screw-in soil nail could be potentially used to stabilize natural and man-made slopes, though full-scale simulations are recommended to formulate the installation procedure and to validate the effectiveness.