The paper summarizes work by the writers that is focussed on a program of full scale model tests of geosynthetic reinforced soil walls carried out by the Geotechnical Research Group at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC). Over a period of 13 years, a total of 13 significant full scale walls have been constructed. All of the structures were surcharge loaded to stress levels well in excess of working load conditions and in several cases were taken to collapse. The data gathered from this program has been useful to identify important performance features of the reinforced soil structures and to identify sources of conservatism in current methods of analysis for geosynthetic reinforced soil wall structures in North America. The high quality data has also proved useful for calibration of numerical models.


The Geotechnical Research Group of the Civil Engineering Department at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) is engaged in a long-term research project related to design and performance evaluation of geosynthetic reinforced soil structures. A major component of this research has been the construction, surcharge loading and monitoring of instrumented full scale geosynthetic reinforced soil retaining walls. In total, 16 full scale test structures have been built over a period of 13 years of which 13 have been significant wall models.


Test models have been constructed in the RMCC Retaining Wall Test Facility located within the Civil Engineering Department structures laboratory at RMCC (Figure 1). The test facility in its current configuration allows walls to be constructed that are 3.6 m high by 3.4 m wide and extending up to 6 m from the front edge of the facility. Some early models were constructed when the inside dimension of the facility was 2.4 m wide.

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