Experimental Evaluation of Wicking Geotextile-Stabilized Aggregate Bases over Subgrade under Rainfall Simulation and Cyclic Loading


Wicking geotextile has been increasingly utilized in field projects to mitigate water-related roadway problems. The previous studies showed that the wicking geotextile could provide mechanical stabilization, serve as capillary barrier, and enhance lateral drainage. The wicking geotextile differentiates itself from non-wicking geotextiles by providing capillary or wicking drainage in unsaturated conditions, whereas non-wicking geotextiles only provide gravitational drainage under saturated or near-saturated conditions. Although the previous studies have demonstrated the benefits of soil water content reduction by the wicking drainage, it is not well understood how the wicking geotextile stabilization improves overall performance of aggregate bases over subgrade under traffic or cyclic loading. This paper presents an experimental study where large-scale cyclic plate loading tests were conducted under different conditions: (1) non-stabilized base, (2) non-wicking geotextile-stabilized base, and (3) wicking geotextile-stabilized base, over soft and moderate subgrades. Rainfall simulation was carried out for each test section. After each rainfall simulation, a drainage period was designed to allow water to drain from the section. The amounts of water applied and exiting from the test section were recorded and are compared. Cyclic loading was applied after each drainage period. The test results show that the combined hydraulic and mechanical stabilization effect by the wicking geotextile reduced the permanent deformation of the aggregate base over the subgrade as compared with the non-stabilized and non-wicking geotextile-stabilized sections.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


National Natural Science Foundation of China, Grant 42002267

Keywords and Phrases

Deformation; Drainage; Geosynthetic; Geotextile; Road; Unsaturated Soil; Wicking

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Dec 2021