Finite element analysis of a CFRP reinforced retaining wall

Ahad Ouria, Vahab Toufigh, Chandrakant Desai, Vahid Toufigh, Hamid Saadatmanesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Soils are usually weak in tension therefore different materials such as geosynthetics are used to address this inadequacy. Worldwide annual consumption of geosynthetics is close to 1000 million m2, and the value of these materials is probably close to US$1500 million. Since the total cost of the construction is at least four or five times the cost of the geosynthetic itself, the impact of these materials on civil engineering construction is very large indeed. Nevertheless, there are several significant problems associated with geosynthetics, such as creep, low modulus of elasticity, and susceptibility to aggressive environment. Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) was introduced over two decades ago in the field of structural engineering that can also be used in geotechnical engineering. CFRP has all the benefits associated with geosynthetics and it boasts higher strength, higher modulus, no significant creep and reliability in aggressive environments. In this paper, the performance of a CFRP reinforced retaining wall is investigated using the finite element method. Since the characterization of behavior of soils and interfaces are vital for reliable prediction from the numerical model, soil and interface properties are obtained from comprehensive laboratory tests. Based on the laboratory results for CFRP, backfill soil, and interface data, the finite element model is used to study the behavior of a CFRP reinforced wall. The finite element model was verified based on the results of filed measurements for a reference wall. Then the reference wall simulated by CFRP reinforcements and the results. The results of this investigations showed that the safety factor of CFRP reinforced wall is more and its deformations is less than those for a retaining wall reinforced with ordinary geosynthetics while their construction costs are in similar range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-774
Number of pages18
JournalGeomechanics and Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • CFRP
  • Finite element method
  • Mechanically stabilized earth wall
  • Plasticity model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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