Brief overview of the design of retaining walls - A nice construction article by Ian Riley
Ian Riley, a renowned engineer, published a useful construction article for structural engineers that offers brief summary on the design of retaining walls.
Earth pressure and retaining wall are one of the most vital subjects of the structural engineer (SE) exam according to the 2011 to 2014 SE exam specifications.
You should be aware of the following important items for retaining walls as stated by the SE exam specification:
. Settlement loads, fluid/hydrostatic loads, and static earth pressure loads for the vertical exam as well as dynamic earth pressure loads definitely for the lateral exam.
. Application of design pressure coefficients (e.g., active, passive, at rest, bearing coefficient of friction, cohesion).
. Choice of foundation systems (e.g., on the basis of geotechnical information, boring logs, settlement, and groundwater table).
. Overturning, sliding, and bearing.
. Piles (concrete, steel, timber).
. Drilled shafts/drilled piers/caissons.
. Gravity walls.
. Anchored walls.
. Basement walls for buildings.
. Outcome of adjoining loads.
. Utilization of modulus of sub-grade reaction.
Usually, retaining walls contain little vertical load except self-weight and weight of any soil on a footing. As for instance, if the retaining wall belongs to the basement foundation wall of a building, then it is feasible to contain a beam or other lateral support at the top and the cantilevered support at the bottom. Therefore, the wall bahaves somewhere amid a simple span beam and a fixed cantilever.
The cantilever walls may be chosen as a subsection of gravity walls. This is crucial as the SE exam specifications catalogue three types of walls that may appear on the exam:
. Gravity walls
. Anchored walls
. Basement walls for buildings
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