Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Thang Pham

Second Advisor

Dr. Thuy Vu

Third Advisor

Dr. Mohamed Abdel Raheem


Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) walls have been used in past decades as an alternative, cost-effective, and performance solution to replace conventional retaining walls. AASHTO guidelines recommend a reinforcement length-to-height ratio of 0.7. However, this ratio is not applicable where there exist constraint conditions. FHWA guidelines recommend the minimum reinforcement length-to-height ratio of 0.3 for Narrow Mechanically Stabilized Earth (NMSE) walls in these cases. However, published guidelines have not sufficiently accounted for several parameters influencing NMSE performance and efficiency. Using finite element analysis (PLAXIS 2D), this study focuses on finding a relation between the length-to-height ratio and other parameters/components of the NMSE walls that influence the behavior and structure of NMSE walls. Moreover, length-to-height ratios from 0.3 to 0.5 were targeted, and effects of secondary reinforcement layers were applied. With a proposed reinforcement configuration, the lateral displacement can be reduced significantly and the amount of reinforcement material to be used.


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