Soil Nailing: An Effective Slope Stabilization Technique

  • Mahesh Sharma
  • Manojit Samanta
  • Shantanu Sarkar
Part of the Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research book series (NTHR, volume 50)


The present chapter discusses the soil nailing technique as an effective stabilization measure for slopes, excavations, rail or road embankments, tunnels and retaining walls. Different aspects of the technique such as favorable ground conditions, advantages and limitations over other methods have been reported. Further, different installation process, failure modes of soil nailed structures, design philosophies, effects of various construction parameters on the design method has been discussed in detail. The pullout response of the soil nail is the critical parameter for the soil nail design. Analytical, numerical, field and lab testing procedures are usually used to determine the pullout capacity of the soil nail. A chronological literature review examines the influence of various parameters such as grouting pressure, overburden pressure, soil dilation, degree of saturation, roughness of the nail surface and borehole on pullout capacity of soil nail. A comparative study based on different types of experimental setup reported in the literature along with the innovative pullout system developed at CSIR-CBRI for determination of pullout capacity of soil nail has also been summarized. The last section briefly describes the recent advancements in the soil nail technique and its beneficial effects over the conventional soil nailing system.


Soil nail Slope stabilization Pullout test Helical soil nail Roughness Overburden pressure 


  1. 1.
    Watkins AT, Powell GE (1992) Soil nailing to existing slopes as landslip preventive works. Hong Kong Eng 20:20–27Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Federal Highway Administration (2015) Geotechnical engineering circular No. 7: soil nail walls – reference manual. FHWA Rep. No. FHWA-NHI-14-007, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Yim KP, Watkins AT, Powell GE (1988) Insitu groundreinforcement for slope improvement in Hong Kong. Proc., International Geotechnical Symp. on theory and Practice of Earth Reinforcement, Fukuoka, Japan, pp 363–368Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chan RKS (2005) Safe and green slopes—the holistic Hong Kong approach. In Safe and green slopes. Proceedings of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, Geotechnical Division annual seminar, vol 4, pp 1–26Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Milligan GWE, Tei K (1998) The pull-out resistance of model soil nails. Soils Found 38(2):179–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Burland JB (2002) Reliability of soil nailed slopes in Hong Kong. Geotech Eng Off Hong Kong Gov, Hong KongGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lazarte CA, Baecher GB, Withiam JL (2003) New directions in LRFD for soil nailing design and specifications. In Proceedings of the international workshop on limit state design in geotechnical engineering practice (LSD 2003), Cambridge, MA, vol 26Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chu LM, Yin JH (2005) Comparison of interface shear strength of soil nails measured by both direct shear box tests and pullout tests. J Geotech Geoenviron 131(9):1097–1107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Pradhan B, Tham LG, Yue ZQ et al (2006) Soil–nail pullout interaction in loose fill materials. Int J of Geomech 6(4):238–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Su LJ, Chan TC, Shiu YK et al (2007) Influence of degree of saturation on soil nail pull-out resistance in compacted completely decomposed granite fill. Can Geotech J 44(11):p1314–p1328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Su LJ, Chan TC, Yin JH et al (2008) Influence of overburden pressure on soil–nail pullout resistance in a compacted fill. J geotech geo environ eng 134(9):p1339–p1347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Yin JH, Su LJ, Cheung RWM et al (2009) The influence of grouting pressure on the pullout resistance of soil nails in compacted completely decomposed granite fill. Geotechnique 59(2):103–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Yin JH, Zhou WH (2009) Influence of grouting pressure and overburden stress on the interface resistance of a soil nail. J Geotech Geoenviron 135(9):1198–1208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zhang LL, Zhang LM, Tang WH (2009) Uncertainties of field pullout resistance of soil nails. J Geotech Geoenviron 135(7):966–972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zhou WH, Yuen KV, Tan F (2012) Estimation of maximum pullout shear stress of grouted soil nails using Bayesian probabilistic approach. Int J Geomech 13(5):659–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Rabcewicz L (1964a) The new Austrian tunnelling method. Part I, Water Power 16(11):453–457Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rabcewicz L (1964b) The new Austrian tunnelling method. Part II, Water Power 16(12):511–515Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rabcewicz L (1965) The new Austrian tunnelling method. Part III, Water Power 17(1):19–24Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Stocker MF, Korber GW, Gassler G, et al (1979) Soil nailing. C.R. Col. Int. Reinforced des. Sols. Paris, pp 469–474Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    GEO (2008) Guide to soil nail design and construction (Geoguide 7). Geotechnical Engineering Office, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Hong Kong, p 97Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Cornforth DH (2005) Landslides in practice: investigation, analysis, and remedial/preventative options in soils. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Khalil M, Rhodes M, Daly J, Ferris J (1998) Soil nail walls in residual soils. In: Soil improvement for big digs, In geotechnical special publication. American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, pp 214–225Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Sheahan TC (2000) A field study of soil nails in clay at the University of Massachusetts—Amhurst national geotechnical experimentation site. In: Benoıt J, Lutenegger AJ (eds) National geotechnical experimentation sites, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 93. ASCE, Reston, pp 250–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Gassler G, Gudehus G (1981) Soil nailing-some aspects of new technique. In: Proceedings of tenth ICSMFE. Balk-ema, Stockholm, pp 943–962Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Gassler G (1988) Soil-nailing — theoretical basis and practical design. In: Miura N, Ochiai H, Yamanouchi T (eds) Proceedings of the international geotechnical symposium on theory and practice of earth reinforcement, Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan, October 1988. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 283–288Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Stocker MN, Riedinger G (1990) The bearing behaviour of nailed retaining structures. In: Lambe PC, Hansen LA (eds) Proceedings of design and performance of earth retaining structures, Geotechnical Special Publication, vol 25. ASCE, New York, pp 612–628Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Juran I, George B, Khalid F, Elias V (1988) Kinematical limit analysis approach for the design of nailed soil retaining structures. In: Proceedings of the geotechnical symposium on theory and practice of earth reinforcement, Japan. AA Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 301–306Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    FHWA (2003) Geotechnical engineering circular No 7—soil nail walls, Report FHWA0-IF-03–017. US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Su LJ, (2006) Laboratory pullout testing study on soil nails in compacted completely decomposed granite fillGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Byrne RJ, Cotton D, Porterfield J et al (1998) Manual for design and construction monitoring of soil nail walls, No. FHWA-SA-96-069R. Federal Highway. Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Schlosser F (1982) Behaviour and design of soil nailing. Proc. Symp. on recent developments in ground improvement techniques, Bangkok, 399–413Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Barley AD, Maddison JD, Jones DB (1997) The use Of soil nails for the stabilization of a new cutting for the realignment ff the 237 A4059 at Lletty Turner Bends. Ground improvement geosystems: densification and reinforcement. Proceedings of the third international conference on ground improvement geosystems, London, 3–5 June 1997, p 459–467Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Tei K, TAYLOR NR, Milligan GW (1998) Centrifuge model tests of nailed soil slopes. Soils Found 38(2):165–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Luo SQ, Tan SA, Yong KY (2000) Pull-out resistance mechanism of a soil nail reinforcement in dilative soils. Soils Found 40(1):47–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Luo SQ, TANT S, Cheang W et al (2002) Elastoplastic analysis of pull-out resistance of soil. Ground Improvement 6(4):153–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Franzen G (1998) A laboratory and field study of pullout capacity. Doctoral thesis, Chalmers Univ. of Technology, Göteborg, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Junaideen SM, Tham LG, Law KT (2004) Laboratory study of soil-nail interaction in loose, completely decomposed granite. Can Geotech J 41(2):274–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Schlosser F, Guilloux A (1981) Le frottement dens les sols. Revue Francaise de Geotechnique 16:65–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Cartier G, Gigan JP (1983) Experiments and observations on soil nailing structures. In Proceedings of the Eight European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering (ECSMFE), Helsinki, Vol. 2, p 473–476Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Jewell RA, Pedley MJ (1990) Soil nailing design: the role of bending stiffness. Ground Eng 23(2)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    HA 68/94 (1994). Front-face pull-out in the absence of facing elements or wrap-round reinforcement. Geotechniques and Drainage, Section 1 Earthworks, Vol.4, Part 4Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Potyondy JG (1961) Skin friction between various soils and construction materials. Geotechnique 11(4):339–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Wong HY (1995) Soil nails design manual for slopes (with worked example). Architectural Services Department, Hong KongGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Heymann G, Rohde AW, Schwartz K et al (1992) Soil nail pullout resistance in residual soils. In: Proceedings of the international symposium on earth reinforcement practice, Kyushu, Japan, vol 1, pp 487–492Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Mecsi J (1997) Some practical and theoretical aspects of grouted soil anchors. In Ground anchorages and anchored structures: Proceedings of the international conference organized by the Institution of Civil Engineers and held in London, UK, on 20–21 March 1997, Thomas Telford Publishing, p 119–130Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Smith IM, Su N (1997) Three-dimensional FE analysis of a nailed soil wall curved in plan. Int J Numer Anal Methods Geomech 21(9):583–597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Benhamida B, Unterreiner P, Schlosser F (1997) Numerical analysis of a full scale experimental soil nailed wall. Proc. 3rd int. conf. on ground improvement geosystems, London, p 452–8Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Kim JS, Kim JY, Lee SR (1997) Analysis of soil nailed earth slope by discrete element method. Comput Geotech 20(1):1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Su LJ, Yin JH, Zhou WH (2010) Influences of overburden pressure and soil dilation on soil nail pull-out resistance. Comput Geotech 37(4):555–564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Shafiee S (1986) Numerical simulation of the behaviour of soil nailing. Interaction of soil nail and behaviour of the structure. PhD Thesis, ParisGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Babu GLS, BRS M, Srinivas A (2002) Analysis of construction factors influencing the behavior of soil nailed earth retaining walls. Ground Improv 6(3):137–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Yeo KC, Lo SR, Yin JH (2007) Installation method and overburden pressure on soil nail pullout test. New Horizons in Earth Reinforcement. In: Otani J, Miyata Y, Mukunoki T (eds) Proc., 5th Int. Symp. on Earth Reinforcement. Taylor and Francis, Kyushu, pp 321–327Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Li KS, Lo SR (2007) Discussion of comparison of interface shear strength of soil nails measured by both direct shear box tests and pullout tests by Lok-Man Chu and Jian-hua Yin. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 133(3):344–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Tei K (1993) A Study of soil nailing in sand. PhD thesis, University of Oxford, LondonGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Pradhan B (2003) Study of pullout behaviour of soil nails in completely decomposed granite fill. M.Phil thesis, The University of Hong KongGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Yin JH, Su LJ (2006) An innovative laboratory box for testing nail pull-out resistance in soil. ASTM Geotech Test J 29:451Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Wu JY, Zhang ZM (2009) Evaluations of pullout resistance of grouted soil nails. In slope stability, retaining walls, and foundations: Selected papers from the 2009 Geo Hunan International Conference, p 108–114Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Samanta M, Sharma M, Punetha P et al (2017) Pullout capacity of soil nails in cohesionless soil and its constitutive modelling, Conference on Numerical Modeling in Geomechanics. IIT Roorkee, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Sharma M, Samanta M, Sarkar S (2016) A study on comparison of pullout behavior of helical and conventional driven soil nails. In. proceeding of International Geotechnical Engineering Conference on Sustainability in Geotechnical Engineering Practices and Related Urban Issues, Mumbai, India, (Submission number: 133)Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Sharma M, Samanta M, Sarkar S et al (2017) A laboratory study on inclined pullout capacity of helical anchors in sand medium. Proceeding of Sixth Indian Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference (6IYGEC2017) NIT Trichy, India, 10–11th March, 2017Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Pedley MJ (1990) The performance of soil reinforcement in bending and shear (Doctoral dissertation, University of Oxford)Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Clouterre (1991) Recommendations Clouterre 1991. US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway AdministrationGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Plumelle BC, Schlosser F, Delage P et al (1990) French national research project on soil nailing Clouterre. In: Proceedings of a conference on design and performance of earth retaining structures, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 25, Ithaca, USA, pp 660–675Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Hong CY, Zhang YF, Guo JW et al (2015) Experimental study on the influence of drillhole roughness on the pullout resistance of model soil nails. Int J Geomech 16(2):04015047CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Wernick E (1978) Stress and strain on the surface of anchors. Revue Fracaise de geotechnical, n°3, Janvier 3:113–119Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Schlosser F, Jacobsen HM, Juran I (1983) General report—soil reinforcement, specialty session 5. In: Proceedings of the 8th European conference on soil mechanics and Foundation Engineering, vol 3, Espoo, Finland, pp 1159–1180Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Palmeira EM, Milligan GWE (1989) Scale and other factors affecting the results of pull-out tests of grids buried in sand. Geotechnique 39(3):511–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 67.
    Farrag K, Acar YB, Juran I (1993) Pull-out resistance of geogrids reinforcements. Geotext Geomembr 12(2):133–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Chai XJ, Hayashi S (2005) Effect of constrained dilatancy on pull-out resistance of nails in sandy clay. Ground Improv 9(3):127–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Guilloux A, Schlosser F, Long NT (1979) Etude du frottement sable-armature en laboratoire. Proc. of Int. Conf. of Soil Reinforcement, Paris, France, pp 35–40Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Wang Z, Richwien W (2002) A study of soil-reinforcement interface friction. J Geotech Geoenviron 128(1):92–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Juran I (1985) Reinforced soil systems-application in retaining structures. Geotech Eng 16(1):39–82Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Yin JH, Hong CY, Zhou WH (2011) Simplified analytical method for calculating the maximum shear stress of nail-soil interface. Int J Geomech 12(3):309–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Schlosser F, Guilloux A (1981) Le frottement dans le renforcement des sols. Rev Fr Géotech 16:65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    CIRIA (2005) Soil nailing – best practice guidance, Report No C637, p286. Construction Industry Research & Information Association, LondonGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Juran I, Elias V (1991) Ground anchors and soil nails in retaining structures. In Foundation engineering handbook. Springer, US, pp 868–905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Kim Y, Lee S, Jeong S et al (2013) The effect of pressure-grouted soil nails on the stability of weathered soil slopes. Comput Geotech 49:253–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Elias V, Juran I (1989) Soil nailing for stabilization of highway slopes and excavations, Report FHWA-RD-89-198. Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Elias V, Juran I (1991) Soil nailing for stabilization of highway slopes and excavations, Technical report FHWA-RD-89- 198. Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    Patra CR, Basudhar PK (2005) Optimum design of nailed soil slopes. Geotech Geol Eng 23(3):273–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    Yeung AT, Cheng YM, Lau CK et al (2005) An innovative Korean system of pressure grouted soil nailing as a slope stabilization measure. The HKIE Geotechnical Division 25th annual seminar, Hong Kong, vol 1, pp 43–49Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Dai ZH, Guo WD, Zheng GX et al (2016) Moso bamboo soil-nailed wall and its 3D nonlinear numerical analysis. Int J Geomech 16(5):04016012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    Zhu HH, Yin JH, Yeung AT (2010) Field pullout testing and performance evaluation of GFRP soil nails. J Geotech Geoenviron 137(7):633–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. 84.
    Yeung AT, Cheng YM, Tham LG (2007) Field evaluation of a glass-fiber soil reinforcement system. J Perform Constr Facil ASCE 21(1):26–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. 85.
    Cheng YM, Au SK, Yeung AT (2015) Laboratory and field evaluation of several types of soil nails for different geological conditions. Can Geotech J 53(4):634–645CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. 86.
    Aziz ES, Stephens TJ (2013) Cost and schedule savings from directly-driven soil nail and snnovative fascia systems. In: Geo-Congress. Stability and Performance of Slopes and Embankments III, pp 1704–1718Google Scholar
  87. 87.
    Spagnoli G, Gavin K (2015) Helical piles as a novel foundation system for offshore piled facilities. Proceedings of Abu Dhabi international petroleum exhibition and conference, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Abu Dhabi, UAE 2015, November 9–12.
  88. 88.
    Spagnoli G (2016) A CPT-based model to predict the installation torque of helical piles in sand. Mar Georesour Geotechnol 35(4):1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. 89.
    Perko HA (2009) Helical piles: a practical guide to design and installation. Wiley, HobokenCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. 90.
    FSI (2014) Technical manual: helical piles and anchors, hydraulically driven push piers, polyurethane injection & supplemental support systems, 2nd edn. Foundation Support Works, Omaha, pp 33–39Google Scholar
  91. 91.
    Tokhi H, Ren G, Li J (2016) Laboratory study of a new screw nail and its interaction in sand. Comput Geotech 78:144–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. 92.
    Deardorff D, Moeller M, Walt E (2010) Results of an instrumented helical soil nail wall. In Earth Retent Conf 3:262–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahesh Sharma
    • 1
  • Manojit Samanta
    • 1
  • Shantanu Sarkar
    • 1
  1. 1.Geotechnical Engineering GroupCSIR-Central Building Research InstituteRoorkeeIndia

Personalised recommendations