Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Kennedy, J.


Engineering, Civil.




In the last four decades, soil-metal structures have been used extensively as short-span bridges. With deep soil cover the soil provides the necessary support for the metallic structure. However, for long spans and shallow soil cover, the soil may not provide enough support. Failures of such structures, some catastrophic, have been reported. Moore, R. (1986) inspected some 141 soil steel structures in the county of Elgin, Ontario. Of those 141 structures 56 showed some signs of distress. Two approaches have been suggested to deal with the latter problem. One approach is to provide more stiffness to the metallic structure by increasing its thickness, by adding stiffeners, or by introducing relieving slabs over the metallic structure. The other better approach is to increase the stiffness of the surrounding soil by cementing the soil, using thrust beams, or by reinforcing the soil by means of flat bars. In this dissertation, the structural behaviour of the reinforced soil-metal structures is compared with the nonreinforced ones. A study is undertaken to determine the ultimate static-load response of reinforced and nonreinforced soil-metal arch structures of long spans under shallow soil cover conditions. Different methods of reinforcing are compared. A rational method of analysis and design is presented, based on the buckling mode of failure. Triaxial tests are conducted on nonreinforced and reinforced soil unit cells. A simplified method to evaluate the modulus of soil reaction for reinforced and nonreinforced soil is proposed based on the triaxial test results. A simplified finite element model is proposed for analyzing reinforced and nonreinforced soil-metal arch structures. The model is used to analyze prototype structures. Different spans, depths of cover, and degrees of reinforcement are considered. An experimental program consisting of testing a total of ten soil-metal arch structures is undertaken. Seven of them are tested under line load and three are tested under a concentrated moving load. A finite element program for analyzing the soil as an elastic perfectly plastic material with a nonlinear yield surface is developed. The model is tested using the triaxial test results and the reduced scale model results.Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1993 .M63. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 55-05, Section: B, page: 1948. Adviser: J. B. Kennedy. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1993.