Effect of soil arching on lateral soil pressures acting upon rigid retaining walls

Aydın Ertuğrul, Nihan
Retaining walls are encountered in various fields of civil engineering. In many practical applications, the earth pressure against rigid retaining walls are calculated using either Coulomb’s or Rankine’s lateral earth pressure theories. For the sake of simplicity, it is assumed that the lateral earth pressure distribution is linear; however, many experimental results indicated it is significantly nonlinear. Previous physical modeling studies indicated that this nonlinearity results from arching behavior induced within the granular backfill. In this study, lateral active earth pressures acting on yielding rigid retaining walls are studied by considering arching effects. Previous lateral earth pressure theories that take into account of soil arching are modified. For this purpose, new analytical formulations considering arching effects are suggested to predict lateral active earth pressures. In these proposed methodologies, shape of the failure surface and soil arch geometries are changed for better representation of the actual behavior. Additionally, effect of surcharge on lateral earth pressures is discussed. Pressure distributions estimated by the proposed methodologies were validated against physical test data and compared with the previous theories. Parametric studies indicate that active earth pressure distributions change from triangular to curvilinear as the effect of soil arching increases. Wall backfill interface friction is found as the main factor influencing the arching effect. Lateral soil pressures calculated according to parabolic failure line assumption provide better agreement with the actual test results. Application point of the total thrust rises up to 0.43H which is approximately 30% higher than the mostly used value of 0.33H.
Citation Formats
N. Aydın Ertuğrul, “Effect of soil arching on lateral soil pressures acting upon rigid retaining walls,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2013.