Earth Pressures against Rigid Retaining Walls

by Mehmet A. Sherif, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg. and Adjunct Prof. of Quaternary Research; Seattle, Wash.,
Isao Ishibashi, Assoc. Prof. of Civ. and Environmental Engrg.; Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y.,
Chong Do Lee, (M.ASCE), Grad. Student; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Washington, Seattle, Wash.,


Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 5, Pg. 679-695


Document Type: Journal Paper

Discussion: Silvestri Vincenzo (See full record)
Discussion: Paruvakat Nandakumaran (See full record)

Abstract: This paper outlines the results of unique shaking table experiments to determine neutral and active static and dynamic stresses and the points of application of corresponding total thrust generated by granular soils against rigid retaining walls and compares the experimental data with the well-known Coulomb and Mononobe-Okabe equations. A new criterion is proposed for identification of the wall deformation level at which the active state of stress develops. This criterion states that active stress develops when the angle of friction between the wall and the backfill soil reaches its maximum value. Based on the above criterion, experimental results show that the backfill soil enters the active state at much lower wall displacement levels than generally believed. An equation is proposed for calculating the displacement necessary to initiate active static or dynamic stress. This equation reveals that the displacement necessary to initiate active state increases with the height of the wall and decreases with backfill soil strength.

Subject Headings: Backfills | Displacement (mechanics) | Granular soils | Soil analysis | Soil stress | Retaining structures | Soil strength | Shake table tests

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