Geobarrier System for Protection Against Rainfall-induced Slope Failure

Harianto Rahardjo, Alfrendo Satyanaga, Nurly Gofar, Eng Choon Leong, Jernice Huiling Kew, Chien Looi Wang, Johnny Liang Heng Wong

Geobarrier System for Protection Against Rainfall-induced Slope Failure


Slope failures are a common occurrence in tropical regions with a high intensity of rainfall. Tropical areas such as Singapore are normally covered with residual soils whose behaviour does not follow the principles of classical saturated soil mechanics because these soils are often unsaturated in nature. The negative pore-water pressure in unsaturated soil is highly influenced by the changes in the flux boundary conditions, resulting from the variation in climatic conditions. On the other hand, the negative pore-water pressure contributes additional shear strength to the unsaturated soil. As water infiltrates into the slope, pore-water pressure in the slope increases (matric suction decreases), and the additional shear strength due to matric suction will decrease, causing the slope to be more susceptible to failure. Singapore is a land scarce country with a critical need to optimize land utilization. Steepening slopes or cutting back slopes and supporting them using a retaining structure is one way to create new spaces. In this study, a new type of retaining structure, Geobarrier System (GBS) is proposed. A GBS is a man-made three-layer cover system designed as a vegetative layer combined with a two-layer unsaturated system, which harnesses the distinct difference in unsaturated hydraulic properties between a fine-grained layer and a coarse-grained layer. GBS consists of recycled materials and does not use steel or concrete and is hence more cost effective, thereby making it economical for use in urban areas. Geobag for vegetative layer is supported by specially designed pockets for planting different types of sustainable plant species. The paper presents the design, construction procedures, material selection and field performance of a GBS constructed at an inclination angle of 70o in response to rainfall infiltration. In addition, the results of the finite element seepage and slope stability analyses of the GBS subjected to extreme rainfalls are also presented. The results from field instruments and numerical analyses showed that GBS was able to protect the slope from rainfall infiltration; therefore, the stability of the slope retained by GBS was not affected by the rainfall.


Geobarrier system, Field instrumentation, Recycled concrete, Recycled asphalt


Rahardjo, H., Satyanaga, A., Gofar, N., Leong, E. C., Kew, J. H., Wang, C. L., Wong, J. L. (2019). Geobarrier System for Protection Against Rainfall-induced Slope Failure, Vol. 5, Issue 1, p.26-42. doi: 10.4417/IJGCH-05-01-03


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