Analysis of Arching Pressures in Ideal Elastic Soil

by Zvi Getzler, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Technion, Israel Inst. of Technol., Haifa, Israel,
Menachem Gellert, Sr. Lect.; Fac. of Civ. Engrg., Technion, Israel Inst. of Technol., Haifa, Israel,
Ruben Eitan, Res. Engr.; Ministry of Defence; formerly, Res. Asst., Technion, Israel Inst. of Technol., Haifa, Israel,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 4, Pg. 1357-1372

Document Type: Journal Paper


For the purpose of analysis of arching above a flexible structure the soil is considered a suitably-bounded rectangular prism with a strip of the bottom plane representing the structure undergoing settling in a uniform or a parabolic pattern. Solution is obtained by the elastic theory using the finite differences method. The principal compressive stress trajectories produced by differential settling indicate that an arch is formed in the overlying soil, abutting on both sides of the structure and transferring part of the load to those zones. Both magnitude and mode of the arching vary with depth of cover, beginning with two small separate local arches over the edges, through single arch with a saddle-shaped crown and ending with fully-developed arch which increases up to a fixed limiting size corresponding to geometric and elastic conditions. Increase in Poisson ratio strengthen the effect. A parabolic settling pattern (flexible structure) is associated with a smaller arching effect as part of the arch abuts on the edges of the structure itself, creating an inner arch.

Subject Headings: Arches | Soil pressure | Soil analysis | Paraboloid | Elastic analysis | Soil compression | Soil structures | Prism

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