Applications of Slurry Walls in Civil Engineering

by Safdar A. Gill, (F.ASCE), Principal Engineer; Soil Testing Services, Inc., Northbrook, Ill.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 2, Pg. 155-167

Document Type: Journal Paper


Slurry wall (also called diaphragm wall) construction developed in the last three decades is a relatively new technique in civil engineering. It has been applied to a variety of projects in difficult soil and ground-water conditions. A brief description of construction procedures and design principles is given. Stability of the trench during excavation is an important consideration especially when ground movements in adjacent areas are to be minimized. In general, trenches remain stable when the hydrostatic pressure of the slurry is at least 65% to 80% of the outside pressures. Other forces imparting stability are not fully understood although various theories exist to explain them. Soil arching due to limited trench dimension is an important factor. Examples are given for application of slurry walls for seepage cutoff, basement walls, foundation pits, deep shafts, vibration control, underpinning alternatives, bridge foundations, quays and dock walls, slope stabilization, sewage projects, load bearing elements, and for cut-and-cover tunnels.

Subject Headings: Diaphragm walls | Trenches | Bridge foundations | Slurries | Slurry walls | Core walls | Diaphragms (structural) | Groundwater

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