Load coefficient for ditch conduits covered with geosynthetic-reinforced granular backfill

Document Type

Journal Article


American Society of Civil Engineers


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Engineering




Shukla, S. K., & Sivakugan, N. (2013). Load coefficient for ditch conduits covered with geosynthetic-reinforced granular backfill. International Journal of Geomechanics, 13(1), 76-82. Available here


Conduits buried in narrow trenches and covered with granular soil backfills are commonly used for several services. Because of soil arching action, a significant fraction of self-weight of the backfill is transferred to the wall. The load on top of the conduit is expressed as Cd γ B2 where γ is the unit weight of granular backfill, B is the trench width, and Cd is the load coefficient, which increases with depth. Values of Cd for ditch conduits covered with granular backfills have been presented in the literature. Recent research has shown that providing a layer of geosynthetic above the conduit, anchored at both the walls, can reduce the overburden load transferred to the conduit. This paper is aimed at formulating a theoretical framework for computing the load coefficient CdR for ditch conduits covered with geosynthetic-reinforced granular backfills. The new CdR -value takes into account the load reduction attributable to soil arching as well as geosynthetic arching but ignores the soil-geosynthetic frictional/adhesion interaction in the analysis for simplicity’s sake. It is shown that the CdR -values depend on the stiffness of the geosynthetic layer and the rut depth, among other factors that govern the unreinforced case. The developed expression should be useful for field applications of geosynthetics in buried structures and for developing standards for such applications.