Earth Reinforcement Testing

Verify Performance of Strip Reinforcements

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Verify Performance of Strip Reinforcements
Project Details
Location: Brewster, NY
Client: The Reinforced Earth Company (RECO) 133 Park Street North Reading, MA, 01864
Client Contact: Mr. Peter L. Anderson, P.E. Northeast Regional Manager The Reinforced Earth Company

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The Reinforced Earth Company (RECO) retrieved a set of four samples of strip reinforcements, and a corresponding sample of fill material from a reinforced earth (RE) retaining wall system constructed in Brewster, New York. The strips were removed from upper wall panels damaged by a snowplow impact. The wall was constructed in November 1997, and the accident occurred in February 2010. Thus, the strip reinforcements were in service for approximately 12 years. RECO requested ERTesting to assess the condition of of the exhumed reinforcements as compared to the performance that may be anticipated based on assumptions used in design. Condition assessment involved laboratory analysis of the fill samples, and measurements of zinc oxide and remaining zinc. Conditions were observed at locations within the tie-strips that serve to connect the reinforcements to the precast concrete wall panels, and at locations not included within the connection. Zinc thickness measurements were obtained via (1) nondestructive measurements of zinc oxide and remaining zinc thickness using an electronic thickness gauge, (2) stripping and weighing, and  (3) optical measurements to identify the character and thickness of remaining zinc from metallographic cross-sections.

These results indicate that the existing condition of the reinforcements exceeds expectations based on assumed rates of metal loss used for design, and the specified minimum zinc thickness. The portion of the reinforcements included in the connection to the wall face are coated with a tightly adhered layer of zinc oxide. This serves to protect the area of the reinforcements that are "sandwiched"  within the tie-strip from  corrosion, and demonstrates the beneficial effect of the sandwich connection to mitigate metal loss of the reinforcement.

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