In the scope of a research project by the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, large-scale field tests with flexible slope stabilization systems were performed in Winterthur, Switzerland under the direction of the Bern University of Applied Sciences in Burgdorf. For this purpose, a 13 × 15 m steel frame was filled with soil material and tilted up to 85° using a 500 to crawler crane. Different mesh and net coverings combined with a nail anchoring system were used to stabilize the soil material against instabilities near the surface. This article gives an overview of the test assembly and summarizes the results from the large-scale field tests performed. In addition, the retrograde calculation of the RUVOLUM dimensioning concept was verified. The large-scale field tests performed create an ideal foundation for a better understanding of the load bearing capacity of flexible slope stabilization systems and comparison of different meshes under same conditions as well for further developing and adapting them to project-specific requirements.

1. Introduction

A total of 31 large-scale field tests were performed on flexible slope stabilization systems in cooperation with industry partner Geobrugg AG. Varying the distance between nails and the soil materials made it possible to analyze the load bearing capacity of the different systems in detail. This allowed for an objective system comparison at similar conditions.

2. Testing equipment

The testing equipment consists of a 13 × 15 m steel frame which can be filled with soil material through a 10 × 12 m surface up to a layer thickness of 1.20 m. The incline of the frame can vary between 0° and 85° by lifting it with a 500 to crane.

The base and side areas of the test area are covered flat with rough wooden planks. To ensure that the sliding surfaces of instabilities close to the surface form within the filling material and do not follow the board floor, wooden slats with a cross sectional area of 30 × 60 mm were applied to increase roughness in the transverse direction (cf. figure 2).

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