To obtain a better understanding of the bearing capacity characteristics of reinforced sand subjected to a footing load and the associated reinforcing mechanisms, results from plane strain laboratory model tests were simulated using a nonlinear elastoplastic finite element model (FEM). The following factors, which affect the strength and deformation of sand, were considered in the simulations: (i) confining pressure; (ii) anisotropy; (iii) nonlinear strain-hardening and strain-softening; (iv) dilatancy; and (v) strain localization into a shear band(s) having a width proportional to the particle size. Simulated load-settlement relationships were generally in good agreement with the physical experimental results. The strain and stress fields obtained from the FEM analysis clearly reveal that the ground failure is extremely progressive. The peak strength is never mobilized simultaneously along the potential failure planes.
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