# Soil nailing

Soil nailing is a construction remedial measure to treat unstable natural soil slopes or as a construction technique that allows the safe over-steepening of new or existing soil slopes. The technique involves the insertion of relatively slender reinforcing elements into the slope – often general purpose reinforcing bars (rebar) although proprietary solid or hollow-system bars are also available. Solid bars are usually installed into pre-drilled holes and then grouted into place using a separate grout line, whereas hollow bars may be drilled and grouted simultaneously by the use of a sacrificial drill bit and by pumping grout down the hollow bar as drilling progresses. Kinetic methods of firing relatively short bars into soil slopes have also been developed. Bars installed using drilling techniques are usually fully grouted and installed at a slight downward inclination with bars installed at regularly spaced points across the slope face. A rigid facing (often pneumatically applied concrete, otherwise known as shotcrete) or isolated soil nail head plates may be used at the surface.[1] Alternatively a flexible reinforcing mesh may be held against the soil face beneath the head plates. Rabbit proof wire mesh and environmental erosion control fabrics and may be used in conjunction with flexible mesh facing where environmental conditions dictate.

Soil nail components may also be used to stabilize retaining walls or existing fill slopes (embankments and levees); this is normally undertaken as a remedial measure.

Since its first application using modern techniques in Versailles in 1972,[2] soil nailing is now a well-established technique around the world. The U.S. Federal Highway Administration issued guideline publications in 1996[3] and 2003.[4]

Cross section of a slope with soil nails installed

## Preliminary Analysis

Four main points to be considered in determining if soil nailing would be an effective retention technique are as follows. First, the existing ground conditions should be examined. Next, the advantages and disadvantages for a soil nail wall should be assessed for the particular application being considered. Then other systems should be considered for the particular application. Finally, cost of the soil nail wall should be considered.[4]:13–14 Soil nail walls can be used for a variety of soil types and conditions. The most favorable conditions for soil nailing are as follows: The soil should be able to stand unsupported one to two meters high for a minimum of two days when cut vertical or nearly vertical. Also all soil nails within a cross section should be located above the groundwater table. If the soil nails are not located above the groundwater table, the groundwater should not negatively affect the face of the excavation, the bond between the ground and the soil nail itself.[4]:14–15 Based upon these favorable conditions for soil nailing stiff to hard fine-grained soils which include stiff to hard clays, clayey silts, silty clays, sandy clays, and sandy silts are preferred soils. Sand and gravels which are dense to very dense soils with some apparent cohesion also work well for soil nailing. Weathered rock is also acceptable as long as the rock is weathered evenly throughout (meaning no weakness planes). Finally, glacial soils work well for soil nailing.[4]

A list of unfavorable or difficult soil conditions for soil nailing can include dry, poorly graded cohesion-less soils, soils with a high groundwater table, soils with cobbles and boulders, soft to very soft fine-grained soils, highly corrosive soils, weathered rock with unfavorable weakness planes, and loess.[4]:15–16 Other difficult conditions include prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures, a climate that has a repeated freeze-and-thaw cycle, and granular soils that are very loose.[4]:16

## Origins

Soil nailing evolved from the New Austrian tunnelling method, which is a system for underground excavations in rock. This method consists of passive steel reinforcement in the rock followed by the application of reinforced shotcrete. This concept of combining passive steel reinforcement and shotcrete has also been applied to the stabilization of rock slopes since the early 1960s.[4]:23

The first application of soil nailing was implemented in 1972 for a railroad widening project near Versailles, France. Soil nails were used to stabilize an 18 metres (59 ft) high slope consisting of sandy soil. This method proved to be more cost-effective, while at the same time cut down the construction time when compared to other conventional support methods.[4]:23 Germany was the next country to investigate soil nailing. From 1975 to 1981 the University of Karlsruhe and the construction company Bauer collaborated to establish a research program. This program conducted full-scale testing of experimental walls with different configurations and developed analysis procedures for use in design.[4]:23 The United States first used soil nailing in 1976 for the support of a 13.7 metres (45 ft) deep foundation excavation in dense silty sands. Soil nailing was implemented in the expansion of The Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon. This retaining system was produced in approximately half the time at about 85% of the cost of conventional retaining systems.[4]:24

## Design

After a preliminary analysis of the site, initial designs of the soil nail wall can be begin. This begins with a selection of limit states and design approaches. The two most common limit states used in soil nail wall design is strength limit and service limit states.[3]:77 The strength limit state is the limit state that addresses potential failure mechanisms or collapse states of the soil nail wall system.[3]:77 The service limit state is the limit state that addresses loss of service function resulting from excessive wall deformation and is defined by restrictions in stress, deformation and facing crack width under regular service conditions.[3]:77 The two most common design approaches for soil nail walls are limit state design and service load design.[3]:77

Initial design considerations include wall layout (wall height and length), soil nail vertical and horizontal spacing, soil nail pattern on wall face, soil nail inclination, soil nail length and distribution, soil nail material and relevant ground properties.[4]:123 With all these variables in the mind of the design engineer the next step is to use simplified charts to preliminarily evaluate nail length and maximum nail force. Nail length, diameter and spacing typically control external and internal stability of the wall. These parameters can be adjusted during design until all external and internal stability requirements are met.[4]:130 After the initial design is completed, final design progresses where the soil nail wall has to be tested for external and internal failure modes, seismic considerations and aesthetic qualities.[4]:144 Drainage, frost penetration and external loads such as wind and hydrostatic forces also have to be determined and included in the final examination of the design.[4]:144 Soil nail walls are not ideal in locations with highly plastic clay soils. Soils with high plasticity, a high liquid limit and low undrained shear strengths are at risk of long-term deformation (creep).[4]:144

## Construction

With the design complete, construction is the next step. Most soil nail wall construction follows a specific procedure. First a cut is excavated and temporary bracing is put in place if necessary. This is done with conventional earth moving equipment and hydraulic drills.[3]:33 Next, holes for the soil nails are drilled at predetermined locations as specified by the design engineer. The equipment used for this step is dependent on the stability of the material in which the soil nail wall is supporting. Rotary or rotary percussive methods using air flush or dry auger methods can be used with stable ground.[3]:33 For unstable ground, single tube and duplex rotary methods with air and water flush or hollow stem auger methods are used.[3]:33 With the holes drilled, the next step is to install and grout the nails into place. After all nails are inserted, a drainage system is put into place. Synthetic drainage mat is placed vertically between the nail heads, which are extended down to the base of the wall where they are most commonly connected to a footing drain.[3]:35 A layer of shotcrete is applied and bearing plates are installed before a final facing is put in place to complete the soil nail wall.[3]:35 Variations of the steps described above may be necessary to accommodate additional preparation tasks or supplementary activities for specific project conditions.

In terms of construction, soil nail walls have a decisive advantage over other alternatives. Soil nail walls require a smaller right-of-way than ground anchor walls and have less environmental impact.[4]:17 Installation of soil nail walls is relatively rapid and typically uses less materials and smaller construction equipment than ground anchor walls.[4]:17

## Cost comparison

One great advantage of soil nail walls is their cost-effectiveness over other alternatives. When conventional soil nailing construction procedures are used, soil nail walls are much more economical than concrete gravity walls and similarly or more cost effective than ground anchor walls.[4]:18

## Inspection and performance monitoring

Inspection activities play a vital role in the production of high-quality soil nail walls because conformance to project plans and specifications should result in a soil nail wall that will perform its intended duty for its designed duration. Inspections usually involve evaluation of the following: conformance of system components to material specification, conformance of construction methods to execution specifications, conformance to short-term performance specifications, and long-term monitoring.[4]:156 Short-term performance specifications are checked with loads tests, which use hydraulic jacks and pumps to perform several load applications. Three common load tests for short-term performance are verification or ultimate load tests, proof tests and creep tests. Verification or ultimate load tests are conducted to verify the compliance of the soil nails with pullout capacity and strengths resulting from the contractor's installation method.[4]:163 Proof tests are intended to verify that the contractor's construction procedure has been consistent and that the nails have not been drilled and grouted in a soil zone not tested in the verification stage.[4]:163 Creep tests are performed to ensure that the nail design loads can be safely carried throughout the structure's service life.[4]:163

Long-term performance monitoring is used to collect data to ensure adequate performance and refine future design practices. Parameters to be measured include vertical and horizontal movement of the wall face, local movements or deterioration of facing elements, drainage to the ground, loads, load distribution and load changes in the nails, temperature and rainfall.[4]:170 These parameters are measured using several specific tools including inclinometers, load cells and strain gauges.

## References

1. ^ Goldstein, Natalie (Sep–Oct 2001). "Soil Nailing". Erosion Control. Forester Media. 8 (6). Archived from the original on 2011-07-10.
2. ^ "Construction d'un mur de soutènement entre Versailles-Chantiers et Versailles-Matelots", S. Rabejac and P. Toudic, General review of the railways, 93rd edition, pp 232-237.
3. Manual for Design and Construction Monitoring of Soil Nail Walls (Report). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). October 1998. FHWA-SA-96-069.
4. Geotechnical Engineering Circular No. 7: Soil Nail Walls (PDF) (Report). FHWA. 2003. FHWA-IF-03-017.
Borehole

A borehole is a narrow shaft bored in the ground, either vertically or horizontally. A borehole may be constructed for many different purposes, including the extraction of water, other liquids (such as petroleum) or gases (such as natural gas), as part of a geotechnical investigation, environmental site assessment, mineral exploration, temperature measurement, as a pilot hole for installing piers or underground utilities, for geothermal installations, or for underground storage of unwanted substances, e.g. in carbon capture and storage.

Clay

Clay is a finely-grained natural rock or soil material that combines one or more clay minerals with possible traces of quartz (SiO2), metal oxides (Al2O3 , MgO etc.) and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure. Clays are plastic due to particle size and geometry as well as water content, and become hard, brittle and non–plastic upon drying or firing. Depending on the soil's content in which it is found, clay can appear in various colours from white to dull grey or brown to deep orange-red.

Although many naturally occurring deposits include both silts and clay, clays are distinguished from other fine-grained soils by differences in size and mineralogy. Silts, which are fine-grained soils that do not include clay minerals, tend to have larger particle sizes than clays. There is, however, some overlap in particle size and other physical properties. The distinction between silt and clay varies by discipline. Geologists and soil scientists usually consider the separation to occur at a particle size of 2 µm (clays being finer than silts), sedimentologists often use 4–5 μm, and colloid chemists use 1 μm. Geotechnical engineers distinguish between silts and clays based on the plasticity properties of the soil, as measured by the soils' Atterberg limits. ISO 14688 grades clay particles as being smaller than 2 μm and silt particles as being larger.

Mixtures of sand, silt and less than 40% clay are called loam. Loam makes good soil and is used as a building material.

Deep Foundations Institute

The Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) is an international membership association of contractor, engineers and suppliers in the field of design and construction of deep foundations and excavations. The organization is classified as a 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation under the United States Internal Revenue Code. DFI was formed in 1976.

The institute functions via the volunteer activity of its members, including an 18-member board of trustees, and through the management of its staff located in Hawthorne, New Jersey.

Geotextile

Geotextiles are permeable fabrics which, when used in association with soil, have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect, or drain. Typically made from polypropylene or polyester, geotextile fabrics come in three basic forms: woven (resembling mail bag sacking), needle punched (resembling felt), or heat bonded (resembling ironed felt).

Geotextile composites have been introduced and products such as geogrids and meshes have been developed. Geotextiles are able to withstand many things, are durable, and are able to soften a fall if someone falls down. Overall, these materials are referred to as geosynthetics and each configuration—geonets, geosynthetic clay liners, geogrids, geotextile tubes, and others—can yield benefits in geotechnical and environmental engineering design.

Gravel

Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel is classified by particle size range and includes size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. In the Udden-Wentworth scale gravel is categorized into granular gravel (2 to 4 mm or 0.079 to 0.157 in) and pebble gravel (4 to 64 mm or 0.2 to 2.5 in). ISO 14688 grades gravels as fine, medium, and coarse with ranges 2 mm to 6.3 mm to 20 mm to 63 mm. One cubic metre of gravel typically weighs about 1,800 kg (or a cubic yard weighs about 3,000 pounds).

Gravel is an important commercial product, with a number of applications. Many roadways are surfaced with gravel, especially in rural areas where there is little traffic. Globally, far more roads are surfaced with gravel than with concrete or asphalt; Russia alone has over 400,000 km (250,000 mi) of gravel roads. Both sand and small gravel are also important for the manufacture of concrete.

Index of soil-related articles

This is an index of articles relating to soil.

Mass wasting

Mass wasting, also known as slope movement or mass movement, is the geomorphic process by which soil, sand, regolith, and rock move downslope typically as a solid, continuous or discontinuous mass, largely under the force of gravity, frequently with characteristics of a flow as in debris flows and mudflows. Types of mass wasting include creep, slides, flows, topples, and falls, each with its own characteristic features, and taking place over timescales from seconds to hundreds of years. Mass wasting occurs on both terrestrial and submarine slopes, and has been observed on Earth, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter's moon Io.

When the gravitational force acting on a slope exceeds its resisting force, slope failure (mass wasting) occurs. The slope material's strength and cohesion and the amount of internal friction within the material help maintain the slope's stability and are known collectively as the slope's shear strength. The steepest angle that a cohesionless slope can maintain without losing its stability is known as its angle of repose. When a slope made of loose material possesses this angle, its shear strength counterbalances the force of gravity acting upon it.

Mass wasting may occur at a very slow rate, particularly in areas that are very dry or those areas that receive sufficient rainfall such that vegetation has stabilized the surface. It may also occur at very high speed, such as in rockslides or landslides, with disastrous consequences, both immediate and delayed, e.g., resulting from the formation of landslide dams. Factors that change the potential of mass wasting include: change in slope angle, weakening of material by weathering, increased water content; changes in vegetation cover, and overloading.

Volcano flanks can become over-steep resulting in instability and mass wasting. This is now a recognised part of the growth of all active volcanoes. It is seen on submarine as well as surface volcanoes: Loihi in the Hawaiian volcanic chain and Kick 'em Jenny in the Caribbean volcanic arc are two submarine volcanoes that are known to undergo mass wasting. The failure of the northern flank of Mount St Helens in 1980 showed how rapidly volcanic flanks can deform and fail.

Natchez silt loam

In 1988, the Professional Soil Classifiers Association of Mississippi selected Natchez silt loam soil to represent the soil resources of the State. These soils exist on 171,559 acres (0.56% of state) of landscape in Mississippi.

Permeability (earth sciences)

Permeability in fluid mechanics and the earth sciences (commonly symbolized as k) is a measure of the ability of a porous material (often, a rock or an unconsolidated material) to allow fluids to pass through it.

The permeability of a medium is related to the porosity, but also to the shapes of the pores in the medium and their level of connectedness.

Response spectrum

A response spectrum is a plot of the peak or steady-state response (displacement, velocity or acceleration) of a series of oscillators of varying natural frequency, that are forced into motion by the same base vibration or shock. The resulting plot can then be used to pick off the response of any linear system, given its natural frequency of oscillation. One such use is in assessing the peak response of buildings to earthquakes. The science of strong ground motion may use some values from the ground response spectrum (calculated from recordings of surface ground motion from seismographs) for correlation with seismic damage.

If the input used in calculating a response spectrum is steady-state periodic, then the steady-state result is recorded. Damping must be present, or else the response will be infinite. For transient input (such as seismic ground motion), the peak response is reported. Some level of damping is generally assumed, but a value will be obtained even with no damping.

Response spectra can also be used in assessing the response of linear systems with multiple modes of oscillation (multi-degree of freedom systems), although they are only accurate for low levels of damping. Modal analysis is performed to identify the modes, and the response in that mode can be picked from the response spectrum. These peak responses are then combined to estimate a total response. A typical combination method is the square root of the sum of the squares (SRSS) if the modal frequencies are not close. The result is typically different from that which would be calculated directly from an input, since phase information is lost in the process of generating the response spectrum.

The main limitation of response spectra is that they are only universally applicable for linear systems. Response spectra can be generated for non-linear systems, but are only applicable to systems with the same non-linearity, although attempts have been made to develop non-linear seismic design spectra with wider structural application. The results of this cannot be directly combined for multi-mode response.

Retaining wall

Retaining walls are relatively rigid walls used for supporting soil laterally so that it can be retained at different levels on the two sides.

Retaining walls are structures designed to restrain soil to a slope that it would not naturally keep to (typically a steep, near-vertical or vertical slope). They are used to bound soils between two different elevations often in areas of terrain possessing undesirable slopes or in areas where the landscape needs to be shaped severely and engineered for more specific purposes like hillside farming or roadway overpasses. A retaining wall that retains soil on the backside and water on the frontside is called a seawall or a bulkhead.

Rockslide

A rockslide is a type of landslide caused by rock failure in which part of the bedding plane of failure passes through compacted rock and material collapses en masse and not in individual blocks. While a landslide occurs when loose dirt or sediment falls down a slope, a rockslide occurs only when solid rocks are transported down slope. The rocks tumble downhill, loosening other rocks on their way and smashing everything in their path. Fast-flowing rock slides or debris slides behave similarly to snow avalanches, and are often referred to as rock avalanches or debris avalanches.

Sand

Sand is a granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles. It is defined by size, being finer than gravel and coarser than silt. Sand can also refer to a textural class of soil or soil type; i.e., a soil containing more than 85 percent sand-sized particles by mass.The composition of sand varies, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal settings is silica (silicon dioxide, or SiO2), usually in the form of quartz. The second most common type of sand is calcium carbonate, for example, aragonite, which has mostly been created, over the past half billion years, by various forms of life, like coral and shellfish. For example, it is the primary form of sand apparent in areas where reefs have dominated the ecosystem for millions of years like the Caribbean.

Sand is a non-renewable resource over human timescales, and sand suitable for making concrete is in high demand. Desert sand, although plentiful, is not suitable for concrete. 50 billion tons of beach sand and fossil sand is used each year for construction.

Shoring

Shoring is the process of temporarily supporting a building, vessel, structure, or trench with shores (props) when in danger of collapse or during repairs or alterations. Shoring comes from shore, a timber or metal prop. Shoring may be vertical, angled, or horizontal.

Silt

Silt is granular material of a size between sand and clay, whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil (often mixed with sand or clay) or as sediment mixed in suspension with water (also known as a suspended load) and soil in a body of water such as a river. It may also exist as soil deposited at the bottom of a water body, like mudflows from landslides. Silt has a moderate specific area with a typically non-sticky, plastic feel. Silt usually has a floury feel when dry, and a slippery feel when wet. Silt can be visually observed with a hand lens, exhibiting a sparkly appearance. It also can be felt by the tongue as granular when placed on the front teeth (even when mixed with clay particles).

Specific storage

In the field of hydrogeology, storage properties are physical properties that characterize the capacity of an aquifer to release groundwater. These properties are storativity (S), specific storage (Ss) and specific yield (Sy).

They are often determined using some combination of field tests (e.g., aquifer tests) and laboratory tests on aquifer material samples. Recently, these properties have been also determined using remote sensing data derived from Interferometric synthetic-aperture radar.

Thixotropy

Thixotropy is a time-dependent shear thinning property. Certain gels or fluids that are thick or viscous under static conditions will flow (become thin, less viscous) over time when shaken, agitated, sheared or otherwise stressed (time dependent viscosity). They then take a fixed time to return to a more viscous state.

Some non-Newtonian pseudoplastic fluids show a time-dependent change in viscosity; the longer the fluid undergoes shear stress, the lower its viscosity. A thixotropic fluid is a fluid which takes a finite time to attain equilibrium viscosity when introduced to a steep change in shear rate. Some thixotropic fluids return to a gel state almost instantly, such as ketchup, and are called pseudoplastic fluids. Others such as yogurt take much longer and can become nearly solid. Many gels and colloids are thixotropic materials, exhibiting a stable form at rest but becoming fluid when agitated. Thixotropy arises because particles or structured solutes require time to organize. An excellent overview of thixotropy has been provided by Mewis and Wagner.Some fluids are anti-thixotropic: constant shear stress for a time causes an increase in viscosity or even solidification. Fluids which exhibit this property are sometimes called rheopectic. Anti-thixotropic fluids are less well documented than thixotropic fluids.

Trench

A trench is a type of excavation or depression in the ground that is generally deeper than it is wide (as opposed to a wider gully, or ditch), and narrow compared with its length (as opposed to a simple hole).In geology, trenches are created as a result of erosion by rivers or by geological movement of tectonic plates. In the civil engineering field, trenches are often created to install underground infrastructure or utilities (such as gas mains, water mains or telephone lines), or later to access these installations. Trenches have also often been dug for military defensive purposes. In archaeology, the "trench method" is used for searching and excavating ancient ruins or to dig into strata of sedimented material.

Void ratio

The void ratio of a mixture is the ratio of the volume of voids to volume of solids.

It is a dimensionless quantity in materials science, and is closely related to porosity as follows:

${\displaystyle e={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{S}}}={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{T}-V_{V}}}={\frac {\phi }{1-\phi }}}$

and

${\displaystyle \phi ={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{T}}}={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{S}+V_{V}}}={\frac {e}{1+e}}}$

where ${\displaystyle e}$ is void ratio, ${\displaystyle \phi }$ is porosity, VV is the volume of void-space (such as fluids), VS is the volume of solids, and VT is the total or bulk volume. This figure is relevant in composites, in mining (particular with regard to the properties of tailings), and in soil science. In geotechnical engineering, it is considered as one of the state variables of soils and represented by the symbol e.

Note that in geotechnical engineering, the symbol ${\displaystyle \phi }$ usually represents the angle of shearing resistance, a shear strength (soil) parameter. Because of this, the equation is usually rewritten using ${\displaystyle n}$ for porosity:

${\displaystyle e={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{S}}}={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{T}-V_{V}}}={\frac {n}{1-n}}}$

and

${\displaystyle n={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{T}}}={\frac {V_{V}}{V_{S}+V_{V}}}={\frac {e}{1+e}}}$

where ${\displaystyle e}$ is void ratio, ${\displaystyle n}$ is porosity, VV is the volume of void-space (air and water), VS is the volume of solids, and VT is the total or bulk volume.

Soil
Foundations
Retaining walls
Stability
Earthquakes
Geosynthetics
Numerical analysis

### Languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.