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Basics of RETAINING WALL Design
Eighth Edition
Revised
Hugh Brooks Civil and Structural Engineer
A Guide for the Practicing Engineer
January,
2010
HBA PUBLICATIONS, INC. P.O. Box 826 Corona del Mar, CA 92625
Basics of Retaining Wall Design Eighth Edition
Hugh Brooks, SE
Copyright © 2010 Hugh Brooks
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Eighth Edition, third printing Printed in the United States of America
HBA Publications, Inc. (Retain Pro Software) P.O. Box 826 Corona del Mar, CA 92625 www.retainpro.com
ISBN 9780976836407 109876543
Disclaimer
Although it is intended that the material herein is accurate and represents good design practices, it is possibleand even likelythat errors may occur. These are my views, my code interpretations, and my design practices. Other engineers may have differing views. Therefore, each of you, as engineersofrecord, must assess this information and assume responsibility for your designs. Neither Hugh Brooks nor HBA Publications, Inc. can assume any liability for damages resulting from your use of the information in this book.
Basics of Retaining Wall Design
Page i
but proverbially so in mechanics. the supreme excellence is simplicity" James Watt (17361819) Inventor of the steam engine Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page ii ."Ofall things.
20. 19. 2. 10. B. G. 6. 15. 14. Effective Fixes Topics and Caveats Design Examples A. 21. 23. I. Why this Book? About Retaining Design Procedure Soil Mechanics Walls. C. 7. 4. Terminology Overview Simplified Walls Building Codes and Retaining Forces on Retaining Earthquake Cantilevered Walls (Seismic) Design Stem Wall Design Soil Bearing and Stability Footing Design Pier and Pile Foundations Counterfort Cantilevered Gravity Walls Gabion Walls Segmental Swimming Retaining Pool Walls Walls Walls Walls Retaining Walls 12. 22. 18. 5.CONTENTS AT A GLANCE 1. 9. D. Appendix Tiltup Walls Pilaster Masonry Restrained (Nonyielding) Sheet Pile Walls Soldier Pile Walls Why Retaining Construction Walls Fail. H. E. 8. 16. F. 24. 17. J. 13. 11. 3. Index Uniform System for Classification of Soil (USCS) Summary of Design Equations Masonry Design Data Development and Lap Lengths Sample Construction Notes Conversion Factors Reinforcing Bar Conversions SII US Reference Bibliography Notations & Symbols Moments on TwoWay Plates Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page iii .
Why This Book? The User. Soil Mechanics Simplified A Soil Primer The Soil Wedge Theory Explanation of Terms The Pickle Jar Test The Investigation Soil Bearing Values 15 15 16 17 21 21 22 5. Why It Was Written? Scope of This Book Feedback 1 3 3 3 3 3 2. Building Codes and Retaining Walls What Building Code(s) Apply To My Project? Uniform Building Code (UBC). Design Procedure Overview StepbyStep Design of a Cantilevered Retaining Wall Design of a Restrained Retaining Wall Establish the Design Criteria Design Criteria Checklist 11 11 11 12 13 4. '97 and California Building Code (CBC) '01 The National Fire Protection Association (N FPA) Referenced Codes 23 23 23 23 24 6. About Retaining Walls Evolution of Retaining Structures A Definition The Precision IIlusion Types of Retaining Structures Retaining Wall Terminology What The Terms Mean 5 5 5 5 6 9 10 3.TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface 1. Forces and Loads On Retaining Walls Determination of Loads and Forces Lateral Earth Pressures The Coulomb Formula The Rankine Formula '" Surcharge Loads Wind Loads Water Table Conditions Detention Ponds/Flood Walls Cascading walls Vertical Loads Impact Loading 25 25 25 26 26 28 32 32 33 33 34 35 Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page iv .
and Caissons When to Use Piles or Piers? Design Criteria Pile Desiqn Example 12 Counterfort retaining Walls 67 67 67 67 67 68 68 68 69 Description Proportioning Design Overview Desiqninq the wall Designing the counterfort (or buttress) Designing the heel Designing the toe Stability '" Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page v . Earthquake (Seismic) Design Earthquake (Seismic) Loading Vertical Distribution of Seismic Force on Stem Seismic for Stem Selfweight 36 36 40 41 8.7. Desiqninq The Cantilever Wall Stem Basics of Stem Design Dowels from Footing into the Stem Horizontal Temperature Reinforcing Shrinkage Reinforcing Key at StemFooting Interface Masonry Stem Design Concrete Stem Design 43 43 44 45 45 45 46 48 9. Piers. Soil Bearing and Stability .Cantilevered Walls Tabulate Overturning and Resisting Moments Proportioning Pointers Overturning Moments Resisting Moments Vertical Component of Active Pressure From a Sloped Backfil. Footing Design 58 58 58 59 59 59 60 60 Basics of Footing Design Embedment of Stem Reinforcing Into Footing Toe Reinforcing Heel Reinforcing Minimum Footing Thickness Minimum Cover for Footing Reinforcing Horizontal Temperature and Shrinkage Reinforcing '" 11 Pier and Pile Foundations 61 61 61 61 62 Piles. Determining Soil Bearing Pressure Overturning Stability Sliding Resistance Footing Keys Deflection (Tilt) of Walls Global Stability 51 51 51 51 52 53 53 54 55 55 56 57 10.
Segmental Retaining Walls (SRWs) 77 77 78 79 79 79 80 80 80 80 81 82 82 82 83 83 84 85 85 86 86 87 88 88 88 89 89 91 91 An Overview Gravity Wall Design Check Lateral Soil Pressures The Coulomb Equation Check InterBlock Shear Check Sliding Check Overturning Check Soil Bearing Pressure Soil Bearing Capacity Seismic Design Geogrid Wall Design Construction Ssequence About Geogrids Gather Design Criteria Select Masonry Units Internal" and "External" forces Determine Lateral Soil Pressures Select Geogrid Determine Geogrid Embedment Determine Depth of Reinforced Soil (total base width) Check Overturning CheckSliding at Lowest Geogrid Layer Check Sliding at Base Check soil earing Pressure Soil Bearing Capacity Seismic Design Building Codes & Standards Getting Help '" . Cantilevered TiltUp Walls 70 70 70 70 71 71 71 Description Construction sequence Design procedure Freestanding walls Erecting the panels Resources 14. Gabion and MultiWythe Large Walls 74 74 74 75 76 76 Description Design Foundation Pressures Seismic Design Gabion Walls Using Mechanically Stabilized Earth 16.13. Gravity Walls 72 72 72 Overview Design procedure 15. Swimming Pool Wall Design 92 Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page vi . 17.
F. E.18. H. Soldier Beam Walls Why Retaining Walls Fail & Cost Effective Fixes Construction Topics and Caveats 100 100 Description 104 108 Some actual cases 1 09 109 109 109 109 110 110 110 Horizontal Control Joints Drainage Backfill Compaction Inspections The Investigation Forensic Investigations 24. Retaining Wall Design Examples 111 205 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 215 Appendix A. Sheet Pile Walls 98 98 98 99 Description Design Procedure References 21. Pilaster Masonry Walls 94 94 94 95 95 Description Filler Wall Design Pilaster Design Footing Design 19. Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) B. 22. D. 23. I. C. J: Summary of Design Formulas Masonry Design Data Development and Lap Lengths Sample Construction Notes Conversion Factors Reinforcing Bar US/SI Conversions Reference Bibliography Notations & Symbols Moments And Reactions For Rectangular Plates Index 219 Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page vii . Restrained (NonYlielding) Walls 96 96 96 96 97 Description Dual Wall Function "At Rest" Active Soil Pressure Seismic Force on NonYielding (Restrained) Walls 20. G.
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from which hopefully we all benefit. point out errors and often enlighten me. of course. These manuals are intended as a companion to Retain Pro software to refresh and update the practicing engineer on the basic principles and procedures used to design a variety of retaining walls. New topics were added. but my hope is that you will find this book helpful in your practice. and as always your comments and suggestions will be most welcome. and faxed informative articles and excerpts from technical papers.E. S. there is always the Internet.E. first published in 1996. read portions of the draft. all design examples updated and new ones added.seismic design requirements for example . and there is a design example for each. Retaining structures are far too complex a subject to treat in a single small volume. hence this compendium. however.and I get suggestions for topics to be added or expanded I also learn from conversations with users of Retain Pro who offer suggestions.PREFACE TO THE EIGHTH EDITION Successive editions of this manual become necessary because building codes change . This book is not an indepth treatment of the design of retaining structures. There are dozens of references and foundation engineering texts and countless technical papers available for review. We've had some interesting discussions. This Eighth Edition is a continuation of a series that began with a relatively modest manual. some corrections made. A reference bibliography is included in Appendix H for those wishing more detailed information. And.. My challenge was to decide what to put in and what to leave out of a manual. Surely there will be omissions and probably some errors. I express my appreciation to the many of you who have offered valuable suggestions. This Eighth Edition is updated and expanded throughout. I hope this new edition will be helpful in your practice. P. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 1 . finding what you need is time consuming. New topics include soldier pile shoring and multiwythe large block (and gabion) gravity walls. Hugh Brooks. corrected errors. My goal was to put in the most helpful things a designer needs to know to design most types of retaining walls.
pilaster walls and pile/pier foundations. However a single volume on retaining wall design for the professional practitioner could not be found. soil mechanics. it will ease your comfort level to design retaining walls and give you a good overview ofthe process. I attempted to condense. Feedback Your comments. restrained (basement).1. it is widely scattered in numerous textbooks and technical papers on soil mechanics. and compile information from many sources. the design of retaining walls is not an everyday design task. tiltup retaining walls. It is a review of basic principles and building code requirements. simplify. counterfort walls. Hopefully. masonry design. corrections. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 3 . gabion walls. rather than about use of the program. and all sorts of related topics. I also discovered that there apparently does not exist a single reference book specifically addressing retaining wall design. foundation engineering. Scope of This Book This book treats most types of retaining walls: conventional cantilevered. both gravity and with geogrids. and the design of simple masonry and concrete structures. particularly code requirements. Over half of the technical support questions I receive are about basic concepts and code requirements. concrete design. including my own experience. The User WHY THIS BOOK? This book is primarily for the practicing engineer who has become a bit rusty on the complex subject of retaining wall design. soldier piles. It will also be helpful to plan checkers (barring arguable code interpretations). and segmental retaining walls. Other topics include sheet pile walls. assuming he or she has already acquired a basic knowledge of statics. Although there is very considerable amount of information available. Why It Was Written During my many years of providing technical support for Retain Pro. It is also for the student. You can email me at hbrooks@retainpro.com. Those that desire to dig deeper for particular topics there is a comprehensive bibliography in Appendix H of this manual. into this book. Hence. gravity. and suggestions will be welcome. it became increasingly apparent that many engineers infrequently design retaining walls and need some brushingup.
For example: the straight line we assume for the angle of rupture is actually somewhat concave. and. and hopefully safer and more economical designs. These early engineers also discovered that by battering a wall so that it leaned slightly backward the lateral pressure was relieved and the height could be extended . The early engineers in ancient cultures of Egypt. With great skill they cut. learning primarily through intuition and trialanderror what worked and what didn't We marvel at their achievements. their equations are familiar to every civil engineer.including countless retaining walls. Thus was constructed an early retaining wall. Major advances in understanding how retaining walls work and how soil generates forces appeared in the 18th and 19th centuries with the work of French engineer Charles Coulomb 1776. Reinforced concrete would not be developed for thousands of years. As the adage goes: engineering is an exact science based upon assumptions.a forerunner oftoday's "mechanically stabilized earth". Indeed. That's why we use factors of safety. and set stone with such precision that the joints were paper thin. and learned how to do it better with each succeeding structure. where there is an abrupt change in elevation.an intuitive understanding of the soil wedge theory.2. for example. the "equivalent fluid pressure" of soil is not truly triangular. laid a row of stones atop another row to keep soil from sliding into their camp. Soil is a mixture of earth materials and although its characteristics can be closely defined its actual in situ behavior will not precisely fit theory. A significant body of work was the introduction of soil mechanics as a science through the pioneering work of Karl Terrzaghi in the 1920s. Even the most casual observer looks in wonder at the magnificent structures they created and have stood for thousands of years . Our calculations are the best we can do with assumptions we make and the results are never fully accurate. an anonymous man. So keep precision in mind when calculating beyond the first decimal point. Evolution of Retaining Structures ABOUT RETAINING WALLS: TERMINOLOGY In the year onemillion BC. A Definition: A retaining wall is any constructed wall that holds back soil. and who is better remembered for his work on electricity. but they used what they had. and later by William Rankine in 1857. or thereabouts. or woman. and a better understanding of soil behavior. soil mechanics and the design of retaining structures has advanced dramatically in recent decades giving us new design concepts. a liquid or other materials. Even though the science of soil mechanics is well developed and reasonably well understood. The Great Wall of China. were masters at invention and experimentation. Greece. Today. it is still not an exact science and remains both an art as well as a science. transverse bamboo poles were used to tie the walls together . shaped. Rome. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 5 . The Precision Illusion Let's not fool ourselves. and we've been keeping soil in place ever since with increasingly better methods and understanding. We make simplifying assumptions to make our designs manageable. Any student of ancient construction methods is awed by their ingenuity and accomplishments. and the Mayans.
Most of these will be discussed in later chapters. Cantilevered retaining walls These are the most common type of retaining walls. Counterfort retaining walls Counterfort cantilevered retaining walls incorporates wing walls projecting from the heel into the stem. and reinforced. but can also take other forms as will be described. or both. and can be tapered for economy. The high cost of forming the counterforts and infill stem walls make such walls usually not practical for walls less than about 16 feet high. but listed below are the types of retaining walls used today. Types of cantilevered retaining walls include: Masonry or concrete walls Masonry sterns are usually either 8" or 12" concrete block masonry units. usually 6" masonry. The stem between counterforts is thinner and spans horizontally between the counterfort (wing) walls. A variation for masonry cantilever walls uses spaced vertical pilasters (usually of square masonry units) and with infilled walls of lesser thickness. where higher strength is required. Cantilevered walls are classified as "yielding" because they are free to rotate without any lateral restraint. Hybrid walls. Cantilevered retaining walls are generally of masonry or concrete. with both concrete and masonry. usually with the taper on the inside (earth side) to present a vertical exposed face. can also be constructed using formed concrete at the base. then changing to masonry higher up the wall. partially or solid grouted. The pilasters cantilever up from the footing and are usually spaced from four to eight feet on center. The counterforts act as cantilevered elements and are structurally efficient because the counterforts are tapered down to a wider (deeper) base where moments are higher. Higher walls require 12" blocks and are often stepped back to 8" thick as the retained height diminishes.under about six feet high. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 6 . The stems of a concrete wall must be formed.Types of Retaining Structures There are many types of retaining structures for soil and other materials. These walls are usually used where lower walls are needed . See Figure 21.
Engineering for these walls is limited. Horizontal planks span between the upward cantilevering posts. Higher walls need engineering to evaluate global stability. Gravity retaining walls This type of wall depends upon dead load mass of the wall for stability rather than cantilevering from a foundation. and to verify that little or no flexural tension exists within the wall because these are generally unreinforced. Crib walls are a variation of the gabion method whereby bins are filled with stone or rubble. Stacked and mortarbonded stone. Pressure treated wood is used. and wood walls are generally limited to low walls because height is limited by size and strength of the posts. Wood retaining walls usually consist oflaterally spaced wood posts embedded into the soil. sliding. rubble. Railroad ties are also commonly used for both posts and lagging. Gabion or crib walls A Gabion wall is a type of gravity wall whereby stones or rubble are placed within wire fabric baskets. but even with treatment deterioration is a disadvantage. Wood retaining walls These are commonly used for low height retaining walls. and rulesofthumb prevail (such as a retained height not more than two or three times the base width). or rock walls These are usually relegated to landscaping features and retaining less than about four feet high. overturning. or set in concrete. but the wings project from the outside face of the wall. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 7 . Another variation is to stack a grillage of timbers and fill the interior with earth or rubble. Precast concrete crib walls have also been used. or none at all.Figure 21 Buttress retaining walls Counterfort Retaining Wall These are similar to counterfort walls. Such walls are generally used in those cases where property line limitations on the interior face provide limited space for the heel of a traditional cantilvered retaining wall.
also called reinforced earth. To attain greater heights . The earth pressure creates a positive moment in the wall. Such walls are usually designed as "pin connected" both at the top and bottom. reinforcing. whereby geosynthetic fabric layers are placed in successive layers of the backfill to achieve an integral soil mass that decreases overturning and horizontal sliding. The footing is then placed under the wall to complete the construction. with the reinforcing projecting out from the bottom. Footings. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 8 . Stability ofSRW gravity walls depends solely upon the resisting moment exceeding the soil pressure overturning moment. or mortar are not used. Segmental retaining walls (SRWs) There are many manufacturers offering various systems of stacked segmental concrete units. Abutments are designed as cantilever walls. steel bins. Tiltup walls are economical for higher walls. which requires reinforcing on the front of the wall. with girder bearing support free to slide. Bridge abutments usually have angled wing walls of descending height to accommodate the side slope of the embankment. This is the reverse of a cantilevered wall. Bridge abutments These support the end of a bridge and retain the earth embankment leading to the bridge. Technically. Sheet pile walls cantilever upward to retain earth are usually restrained at the top by either a slab or tiebacks. the side opposite the retained soil. that is. Steel sheet units or concrete panels are driven into the soil to provide lateral support below the base of the excavation or the dredge line. Most are patented systems that are typically battered (sloped backward) to reduce lateral soil pressure. or other devices that retain soil by stacking components.up to 40 feet and more . A variety of facing block configurations and surface textures are available from many manufacturers. but steel sheet piling is also used for temporary shoring on construction sites. thus requiring a minimal foundation.Tiltup concrete retaining walls Tiltup concrete walls have been successfully used for retaining walls. this must be accounted for in the design. they are classified as "nonyielding" walls because the walls cannot move laterally at the top. Restrained (Nonyielding) Retaining Walls Also called "basement walls" (for residential and light commercial conditions) or "tieback" walls. Sheet pile and bulkhead walls These are generally waterfront structures such as at docks and wharves. These sitecast panels are set on concrete pads at panel ends. Design requirements for bridge structures are usually governed by AASHTO and state Departments of Transportation (DOTs). either cantilevered or restrained at the top.SRW's utilize mechanically stabilized earth (MSE). thereby with less or no dependence upon fixity at the foundation. but need panel casting space. as opposed to cantilevered (yielding) walls. These walls are distinguished by having lateral support at the top. If the girder provides lateral support.
Retaining Basics of Retaining Wall Design Wall Terminology Page 9 .. In some cases it may be cost effective to fix the base of the wall to the footing to reduce both the bending in the wall and restraining force required at the top support. L . is in place... and can be posttensioned rods grouted into drilled holes..~ •.Footings for these walls are usually designed for vertical loads onlynot for overturninghowever.. Note that conventional wood floors framed into the top of a basement wall do not provide a sufficient stiffness to allow for the restrained case. The latter are also known as soil nails. a"C~F'1Lt. it is often desirable to design a basement wall as a retaining wall too.. because backfill can then be safely placed without having to brace the wall. __ f:tEJNFORC"fNG 1"'£MPE~.. or waiting until the lateral restraint at the top. The anchors can be placed at several tiers for higher walls.../ .. such as a floor...AT\. Figure 22. Restraint is achieved by drilling anchors into the zone of earth behind the wall beyond the theoretical failure plane in the backfill.: .JR:£/{HORIZONTAL) SHR1HKACt: REfNf' . or nontensioned rods grouted into drilled holes.J. Cantilevered Retaining Wall Terminology Cantilevered retaining walls have unique descriptive terminology as illustrated below: PR1NCIP . _ . Anchored (tieback) walls This method is used for higher walls..
Weep holes: Holes provided at the base of the stem for drainage. Batter: The slope of the face of the stem from a vertical plane. Backfill slope: Often the backfill slopes upward from the back face of the wall. The slope is usually expressed as a ratio of horizontal to vertical (e.What The Terms Mean: Backfill: The soil placed behind the wall. Footing key: A deepened section of the footing for greater sliding resistance. Horizontal temperature/shrinkage reinforcing: Longitudinal horizontal reinforcing usually placed in both faces of the stems and used primarily to control cracking from shrinkage or temperature changes. Principal reinforcing: Reinforcing used to resist bending in the stem. Toe: That portion of footing which extends in front of the front face of the stem (away from the retained earth). Grade: The surface of the soil or paving. either in front or behind the wall. Surcharge: Any load placed in or on top of the retained soil. Keyway: A horizontal slot located at the base of the stem for greater shear resistance. thereby increasing the lateral pressure against the wall. Footing (or foundation): That part of the structure below the stem that supports and transmits vertical and horizontal forces into the soil below. generally measured upward from the top of the footing. Dowels: Reinforcing steel placed in the footing and bent up into the stem a distance at least equal to the required development length. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 10 . Unless properly designed and maintained. Weep holes usually have gravel or crushed rock behind the openings to act as a sieve and prevent clogging. usually on the inside (earth) face. 2: 1). Retained height: The height of the earth to be retained.g. Poor drainage of weep holes is the result of weep holes becoming clogged with weeds. Heel: That portion of the footing extending behind the wall (under the soil). weep holes seldom "weep". Stem: The vertical wall cantilevering above the foundation. can refer to either side of the wall.
3. DESIGN PROCEDURE OVERVIEW The four primary concerns relating to the design of nearly any retaining wall are: 1. Have all report requirements been met? StepByStep Design of a Restrained Retaining Wall Similar to the above with some additional steps (italicized): 1. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 11 . Select reinforcing. 7. That the stresses within the components (stem and footing) are within code allowable limits to adequately resist imposed vertical and lateral loads. 10. Check and review. the eccentricity of a triangular resultant soil pressure will shift outside the middlethird of the footing width. soil pressures. 3. That it has an acceptable Factor of Safety with respect to overturning. This is usually an iterative procedure. Is it within or outside the middlethird of the footing width? Calculate the soil pressure at toe and heel. StepbyStep Design of a Cantilevered Retaining Wall The design usually follows this order: 1. or any others. 6. calculated about the front (toe) edge of the footing. Start at the bottom of the stem where moments and shears are maximum. 8. wind. And. Design footing for moments and shears. 4. Since contact between the footing at the heel and the soil below cannot resist tension. for economy. Compute all applied loads. surcharges. Establish all design criteria based upon applicable building codes. A key or adjusting the footing depth may be required. seismic. Preferably keep the resultant within the middle third. Compute resisting moments based upon an assumed footing width. and again calculated about the front edge of the footing. Based upon (4) and (5) calculate the eccentricity of the total vertical load. Check dowel embedment depth into the footing assuming a 90° bend (hooked bar). That it has an acceptable Factor of Safety with respect to sliding. 4. it is equally important that it is constructed according to the design. impact. axial. 5. 3. 9. 2. Compute overturning moments. That the allowable soil bearing pressures are not exceeded. Design the stem. (See checklist that follows). (See checklist that follows). Check sliding. check several feet up the stem (such as at the top of the development length of the dowels projecting from the footing) to determine if the bar size can be reduced or alternate bars dropped. 2. Establish all design criteria based upon applicable building codes. Then.
Check sliding. seismic. Determine reaction at top support and at base. 5. Design the stem. determine shear and moment at base and design this location. surcharges. Compute all applied loads (atrest earth pressures. a key or adjusting the footing may be required. try to center the footing under the wall to prevent eccentricity. axial. Design the footing. check its adequacy for this lateralforce (sliding). and reinforcing jar this location.000 psi) fy (60. check dowel embedment depth into the footing assuming a 90° bend (hooked bar). The values shown in parenthesis are only given to illustrate those frequently used. Select "height" to lateral restraint. Check and review. If the stem is assumed fixed at base check the soil pressure and design for moments and shears and select reinforcing.5: 1 unless OK with geotech) Wind. * * * * * * * * Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 12 . 3. 10.000 psi) fm(1.2. if applicable Axial loads on stem Surcharge loads Seismic criteria if applicable Soil density (110 to 120 pcf) f'. If the stem isfixed at the base.000 psi to 4. If the stem is assumed pinned at the base. If ajloor slab is present at the top of the footing.000 psf to 3.500 psi) f (145 psi to 178 psi (strength design) These values are usually given in the report. Retained height( s) Depth of soil in front of wall Depth of footing required below grade Allowable soil pressure (1. Using statics. impact.40) Backfill slope (don't exceed about 1. If there is eccentricity check reinforcing at stemfooting interface to resist the moment because of eccentricity and ifadequate the soil pressure will be uniform. thickness. (2.000 psf) Passive pressure (150 to 350 pcf) Active earth pressure (30 pcfto 55 pcf) Coefficient of friction (.25 to . If the stem is assumed pinned at thefooting interface. lfa restraining jloor slab is not present. Usually the same material (concrete or masonry) and thickness will be usedfor the full height. or any others. the maximum moment will be a positive moment near midheightdesign stem material. 6. wind. If the stem isfixed at the footing. Have all report requirements been met? Establish the Design Criteria The following information will be needed before starting your design.000 psi) fs (24. 4.
Perhaps the same retained height has several different backfill slopes. such as parking. trucks. just use a little judgmentunless there is a steep backfill slope or large surcharges. say. above the top of the footing? Is there a slab in front to restrain sliding? Is there lateral restraint at the top of the wall (if so. it's not truly a cantilevered wall and requires a different design)? Do I have a investigation or other substantiation for soil properties: active pressure. 6' and 4'. unless there are different surcharges or other conditions. soil density. 8'. there is obviously a problem). If the height of the wall is over about 16 feet. but doesn't save that much material cost.Design Criteria Checklist After you have established all your criteria. you would not want to specify the 12foot design throughout. if the retained height along the length of a wall varies from. perhaps a tieback wall would be more economical (caution: be sure your client has the right to install tiebacks. What is the slope of the backfill? Level? Is there a water table I need to consider? Is a seismic design required? Are there any adjacent footing loads affecting my design? If the wall extends above higher grade. etc. In this case. is there an impact bumper load? Should the stem be concrete or masonry. determine how many conditions for which you will need a design. you're ready to start. say. passive pressure. If the wall is on a property line. the following checklist indicates additional items to check before starting your design: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • What building codes are applicable? Do I have the correct retained height for all of my wall conditions? Is there a property line condition I need to know about? Is there a fence on top of the wall. On the other hand. from level to 2: 1. Here you need to use a little judgment in determining the number of cases. allowable bearing pressure. or using precast panels. the eccentricity? What about surcharges behind the wall. zero feet to 12 feet. or a combination of the two? How high is the grade on the toe side. You rarely "design" a wall less than 4 feet high. and is a parking area. When you have gathered all this information. or tiltup? Lastly. 10'. or does the wall extend above the retained height? (exposure to wind) How deep must the bottom of my footing be? How will I assure that the backfill will be drained? Will there be any axial loads on top ofthe wall? If so. Perhaps a buttressed or counterfort wall would be better for high walls. in which case it should be designed. To design for onefoot height increments is not only tedious. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 13 • • . Usually you don't design for less than twofoot height increments. you would probably design for 12'. and other items I need to consider? Also consider whether a cantilevered retaining wall is the right solution. sliding coefficient.
:3Pa Figure 31. wind if applicable. including allowable soil bearing. Figure 31 is a freebody force diagram illustrating forces on the wall see. To resist sliding. and material stresses. To resist forces tending to overturn the wall (primarily the lateral earth pressure against the back ofthe wall). (Note: For cohesive soil.) The stem must be designed to resist both the bending caused by earth pressures. such that the resisting moments are greater than the overturning moments. of course.5. The recommenced safety factor against sliding is l. plus the passive pressure in front of the wall. The safety factor for overturning should be at least l. seismic if applicable. must be sufficient to resist the lateral force pushing on the wall. R R =CD+0+@+0+@+ Pv Ph=Pp+Pf Ph=cos. the wall must have sufficient weight. must be within acceptable values. the coefficient of friction is replaced by a reduced value of the unit cohesive bond between the footing and soil in psf. including the soil above the footing.5.Basic Design Principals for Cantilevered Walls A cantilevered retaining wall must. Each of these subjects will be discussed later. resist both overturning and sliding. FreeBody of Cantilevered Retaining Wall Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 14 . the weight of the wall plus the weight of the soil above the footing plus vertical loads on the wall and any permanent surcharges multiplied by the coefficient of friction. be at the bottom. including the effect of surcharges placed behind the wall. The maximum bending and shear stresses in a cantilevered wall will. and any axial (vertical) loads imposed on the wall. for stability.
noncohesive. but the USCS classification system is most often referred to in the foundation investigation reports you will read. as represented by finegrained silts and clays. Noncohesive. Sieve sizes use a numbering system where the number indicates the number of spaces per inch. For example. With this information the engineer can classify the soil per the USCS chart. for this reason clay backfill should be avoided. Some common designations of soil are: Boulders Cobbles Gravel Sand Silt Clay > > > > < < 12" 3" < 12" #4 sieve < 3" #200 sieve < #4 sieve #200 sieve (0. Cohesive soil derives its strength from the cohesive bond between particles. the engineer will recommend measures to minimize its effect.005 to 0.002 mm There are other classifications systems. Sand and gravel are examples of noncohesive soil. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 15 . The distribution of grain size in a soil sample is determined by a grain size analysis. It's a complex subject for which most of us have neither the time nor inclination to master. mainly by removal and replacement with suitable material. It is important that water not be allowed to penetrate expansive soil. and so forth. Expansive soil consists of clay that changes in volume with changes in water content. or somewhere in between. We rely on the expertise of those of our peers who went on to become engineers. or ~" each. Noncohesive soil is the type usually assumed for analysis of lateral pressures against a retaining wall. such as the AASHTO system. and a #200 sieve has 200 openings per inch.if it is kept dry it won't swell. and if the site contains expansive soil. A Soil Primer SOIL MECHANICS SIMPLIFIED Most of us remember very little from our Soil Mechanics 101 course taken in college. In a sieve test a sample is passed through successively smaller sieves. a #4 sieve has four spaces per inch. The most generally used classification by particle size is the Uniform System for Classification of Soil (USCS). Soil is further classified as being cohesive. so we employ consultants. and is reproduced in Appendix A. and is classified according to the mix of the grain size of the particles making up the mass. soil derives its strength from interparticle friction between grains. or granular.4. Such swelling can cause considerable pressure on retaining structures. Here are a few basic concepts about soil: Most soil is the result of the decomposition of rock.074 mm) 0. and the amount by weight retained on each sieve is noted as a percent of the total.
that is. The corresponding angle. foundations should be placed below the frost line. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 16 .5 friction factor along the slope plane. A soil sample is confined in two opposing boxes. local expertise and experience will apply. He reasoned. the engineer will determine the bearing capacity of the particular soil by determining its frictional resistance. The point of slip is noted. is applied laterally. separated by a virtual slip plane. its cohesion. which is F/P.The depth of penetration is a term used in colder climates in the northern US. a shear force. whereby upper portions of the ground may freeze seasonally or permanently. This data is used to determine the coefficient of friction. He started with a simple premise: If a wall retaining soil was suddenly removed. which then halved the lateral force. The coefficient of friction within a soil mass cannot be measured as easily as. While a principal force P is applied perpendicular to the plane. therefore the tan" (F IP). that if the plane was without friction. with depths ranging from a few inches to 8 feet or more. the horizontal force against the wall would be equal to the weight of the "wedge" of soil. In areas where the ground is permanently frozen to a great depth. as for example a lack of confinement is illustrated when you step on sand at the beach you notice that the sand displaces sideways under your feet. = The Soil Wedge Theory for Retaining Walls How much pressure does the retained earth impose on a retaining wall? One of the early investigations of this problem was reported in a 1729 publication by French engineer Bernard Belidor. say between two solid surfaces. and <1> angle of internal friction. When soil samples (cores retrieved from drilling) are taken to the laboratory for testing. such as Alaska. However. slipping along a plane he assumed was 45°. The engineer and applicable building codes will address this local concern. c = resistance due to cohesion usually expressed in psf. and successive tests are recorded for increasing normal stresses. To prevent the added pressure of swelling because of freezing and thawing. soil modulus. The shear between particles can be either frictional resistance (sliding friction between particles) or in the case of clayey soil. the bearing capacity of the soil is actually a function of shearing stresses between the particles. The strength of the soil is usually thought of as its bearing capacity. The shearing strength of the soil is the controlling factor for determining its bearing capacity. coefficient of friction. and solved by simple statics. <1>. the lateral pressure was about onehalf the weight of the soil wedge. Sandy soil requires confinements to develop shear strength. compression capacity. called the angle of internal friction. He then assumed a 0. Any soil mechanics text will cover this topic thoroughly. F. p = normal stress. is This is an oversimplified explanation. and other properties applicable to the design of the structure. the soil behind it would slide down. He will also test to determine density (weight) of the soil. The basic formula for shear resistance developed along a plane of rupture is: s=c+ptan<1> s = total shear resistance (stress).
and one parallel to the plane. It is actually concave. by use of differential calculus to identify the range of rupture planes to determine the minimum horizontal thrust. the three forces shown in the freebody diagram in Figure 41 must be in equilibrium. and which acts vertically downward. He solved the problem of differing lateral pressures for varying assumed slip planes. Explanation of Design Terms: Some commonly used terms. To keep this soil wedge in place. and the resultant acts against the wall parallel to the backfill slope. The angle this plane makes with the horizontal is theoretically: a = 45° + 4>/2. which is assumed to have a direction inclined at the wall friction angle. and that there is zero friction at the soilstem interface. but a straight line is assumed for mathematical simplicity. are defined in the following: The rupture (or failure) plane This is the line along which the soil wedge is assumed to slip. His formula takes into account the effect of a backfill slope.and other scientific achievements). batter of the wall. FreeBody of Soil Wedge Later. In the 1850s he presented the equally well known Rankine Formula that neglects wall friction and is more conservative than the Coulomb method (see page 26). which is its area times the soil density. and friction between the soil wedge and the face of the retaining wall. or reaction. the reaction against the wall surface. This formula also accounted for varying backfill slopes. and the reaction against the soil behind the wedge. which is the coefficient of internal friction times the normal force.French engineer Charles Coulomb further developing this theory in the 1770's. His solution is the wellknown Coulomb formula used today (see page 26). has two components. The three forces are the weight of the wedge. one normal to its plane. (also famous for his work with electricity . Scottish engineer William Rankine simplified the Coulomb formula. particularly as they apply to retaining walls.Coulomb's Law . For cohesion less soil this is roughly equivalent to a slope of one horizontal to two vertical (I :2). B SoiiWedg<: fts5umed Planeof Rupture Figure 41. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 17 . but assumes the back face of the stem is vertical. The latter force.
K. Table 51. The line of action of the resultant for the Rankine formula is assumed to act at an inclination of'[I. K. a surcharge load over the backfill is considered an additional depth of soil. Angles of internal friction range from 3235° for well graded sand. if applicable. Active soil pressure This is the unit pressure. measured from the vertical. are given. It is mobilized at the moment the wall begins to tilt (or slide) and the wedge begins to slide down along its angle of rupture. It is assumed to be a triangular distribution with zero at the ground surface and a maximum pressure at the bottom of the stem (for stem design) or bottom of footing (for overturning design). you need to know the angle of internal friction. thereby resulting in a trapezoidal lateral pressure.27 would.plus an angle equal to the batter angle of the back face of the stem. for example. because the volume ofthe wedge of soil increases (see Figure 42). and the slope of the backfill. The angle of internal friction (usually designated <D)is used in both the Rankine and Coulomb formulas to determine lateral earth pressure. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 18 . As discussed later. or can be computed from the Rankine or Coulomb formulas if the soil angle of internal friction and. 2732° for silty sand. The engineer generally gives this value. The pressure diagram will be trapezoidal if a surcharge is applied. 0. the angle of the backfill slope. Multiplying a soil density of 110 pcfby a K. This will give you the coefficient of active pressure. and further diminishes for clay because of the lack of coarse particles. of the friction angle at the soilwall interface.30. result in the oftused lateral pressure of 30 pef. for a level backfill is generally close to 0. To use the Rankine Formula. obtained from one of several laboratory tests. the resultant acts at an angle. This pressure is the coefficient of active pressure (Ka) multiplied by the soil density. value of 0. imposed upon the wall by the wedge of soil behind the wall. that is. Also see ASCE 705. from the horizontal. usually assumed to be 1I2<D to 2/3<D. which when multiplied by the soil density gives the active pressure in pounds per square foot per foot of depth (pcf). which is not generally recommended to be used for cantilevered walls. for Design Lateral Soil Loads. which specifies a minimum of 35 pcf for sandy soil and up to 80 pcf for clayey soil. the wall friction angle. to increase linearly with depth. forming a triangular pressure gradient behind the wall. It is assumed to obey Pascal's law.Angle of internal friction: This is the most important value for determining lateral pressure and bearing capacity of granular (noncohesive) soil. expressed in pounds per square foot per foot of depth (pcf). Its value increases with increasing backfill slope. (Note that for the Coulomb method. The active pressure is usually given to you by the engineer as an equivalent fluid pressure (EFP). It is a measure of the shearing resistance of the soil because of intergranular friction. less for sandy silt. such as the Direct Shear Test.
Kp. These values are guides only and determination should be made by a engineer.. ~. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 19 . IADDED VOLUME lIOR SLOPED BACKFILL ""''. = 1 / Ka)..d. or other applied external forces directed into the retained earth by surcharge loads on the backfill. particularly for slopes steeper than 2: 1. Increased Wedge Volume with Sloped Backfill With a sloped backfill the active pressure on the heel side will increase because of the added height ofthe soil wedge.Figure 42 shows backfill volume and surcharge volume and not active pressure. Passive soil pressure: This is the resistance of soil to being pushed against by a rigid surface. an angle of internal friction 0[34 and "rounding". Passive pressure provides resistance to sliding by opposing the active earth pressure.. is in the Rankine formula to reflect this increase. The engineer generally gives this value.. " . This effect is illustrated in Figure 42.. The backfill slope angle. I ' _ _:./ .. Commonly used design values (Rankine) for sloping backfills. The Rankine formula for Kp is the reciprocal ofKa (K.350 pcf.:~~:~'1I I ====~~/.I / WEDGE FOR LEVEL BACKFILL =:/ :=:1 I Figure 42. Passive pressures are usually in the range from 250 .. are: 0 Level: 5: 1 Slope: 4:1 Slope: 3: 1 Slope: 2:1 Slope: I1h: 1 Slope: 31 pcf 33 pcf 34 pcf 36 pcf 45 pcf 77 pcf The slope angle cannot exceed the angle of internal friction. It is obtained by multiplying the soil density by the coefficient of passive pressure. assuming a soil wet density of 110 pcf. .
obeying Pascal's Law).40. Backfill slope: The slope of the backfill behind the wall cannot exceed the angle of internal friction for cohesionless soil. The atrest condition also occurs when the backfill is highly compacted. 1 r k. Saturated soil has a higher density. or else adhesion approximately equals cohesion times a reduction factor. Soil below the water table is described as being submerged and the weight is the estimated weight minus the unit weight of water. Note that for cohesive soil.Passive pressure applied to retaining walls does not cause overturning. it is the resistance to the net driving lateral forces. This. Angle of repose: This is the angle. Also known as the coefficient of sub grade reaction. A general rule is to limit this slope to 1. the resisting force is the adhesion between the footing and soil. depending upon gradation.5: 1 (which corresponds to an angle of internal friction of 34°). such as socalled "basement walls". granular. prevents the wall from sliding. with the latter commonly used. water content and degree of compaction.25 and 0. expressed by: (Heel active force) . and the value thus obtained must be adjusted for the width of the footing in accordance with the following often used formula: k ~ k. Its units are lbs. designated K. such as clay.(soil/earth friction resistance) = (passive resistance required) Passive pressure is discussed further in Soil Bearing and Stability. * Y or K. per cubic inch (lbs/in ') and its value varies depending upon the size of the footing. that a pile of dry. rather than the frictional resistance. soil will form when loosely poured on a flat surface. but it cannot excel <D. for sand. B ~ tooting width.(toe active force) . Equivalent fluid pressure (EFP): The equivalent "hydrostatic" soil lateral pressure (i.e. together with passive pressure resistance at the toe (toe & key). It is a function of the roughness of the bottom of the footing. Do not use the full value of cohesion for adhesion on other than very soft to soft clay. "At rest" soil pressure: This lateral pressure. and is generally around 100 psf.. This cohesive force is given in pounds per square foot of contact area. because of the added weight of water filling the voids between particles. * Y . Soil density: Weight of soil is usually assumed to be 110 to 120 pcf. designated "k". This will be discussed further in the section Restrained (nonyielding) Walls. it is about 34°. Coefficient of friction: This is the frictional resistance at the contact surface between the bottom of footing and the soil. It is often used to estimate the tilt of a cantilevered retaining wall. Soil modulus. it is an indicator of the compressibility of a soil. applies to nonyielding walls which are laterally supported and restrained from movement at the top and bottom. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 20 . (B2. Its value is usually between 0. EFP values are the product of K. ~ value obtained by plate test. Load tests to determine its value are done on a onefoot square loaded plate. It is used to compute resistance to sliding by multiplying the total vertical force by the coefficient of friction. measured from the horizontal.
Soil classification Allowable soil bearing value Adjustments in soil bearing for width and depth of footings. Also. Let the jar stand for 30 minutes. You will likely notice a slight slump of the soil because of consolidation. . proximity to faults. and shake vigorously for 30 seconds to mix the soil and water. screw the lid on tight. Then slowly withdraw it and notice the friction resistance. The Pickle Jar Test I've done this and it's an interesting and informative way to learn about soil. Coefficient of friction (concrete to soil). .The value k can vary from a low of less than 100 lbs/in ' for loose sand to over 1000 lbs/irr' for clay. Watch how the soil settles and stratifies.. . You can now classify your soil sample fairly well by comparing it with the Uniform System for Classification of Soil (see Appendix A). Slope stability analysis Seismicity (peak ground acceleration. and maybe some floating organic debris. . Its value is should be provided by the engineer. Pour water into the jar until the water reaches the soil surface. . Any other precautions the designer should be aware of. . You'll notice fairly clear lines of stratification: gravel to sand on the bottom.) Presence of fill and site preparation requirements. but a similar j ar will do. no change in volume... Here is a list of information that may be included in a report: . ... Passive soil pressure Active soil pressure for various backfill slopes. The slope of the soil is the angle of repose. Watch the soil cling to the sides (adhesion). Fold a paper towel over the top and tum the jar upside down to drain the water. .. Now pour in more water. Page 21 Basics of Retaining Wall Design .. Atrest active pressure for restrained (nonyielding) walls..... preferably mostly sand with some silt and a little clay. You need a tall slender pickle jar with clear glass and a capacity of at least two cups (16 oz. use it to give an approximate classification of your site soil.). Presence of ground water Liquefaction potential. Scoop up a sample of soil to fill the jar about half full. . You were probably able to add a volume of water equal to about ~ of the volume of sample soil. Now you have saturated soil. but any soil will do. .. etc. and you can visualize the voids. . Play some more. overlain with silt and probably a thin layer of clay on top. Wiggle it sidetoside and watch the pressure bulge. . Let it dry for a few days (don't use the microwave!) then shake it up and pour it out. Now remove the lid and push a table knife to the bottom.. it's a learning experience! The Investigation Most agencies require a soil report prepared by a geotechnical engineer to establish permissible soil design parameters and identify other geotechnical concerns for your project.
Alternatively. subject to acceptance by the local building official.000 psfto 4.Engineering is a specialty authority beyond the civil license and subject to state licensing laws similar to other professional disciplines. Although we leave the computation of allowable bearing value to the engineer.000 psf. s" Edition. you could use the presumptive values presented in the !BC '09 Table 1806. Additional increases are permitted for increased width and/or depth of a footing beyond the minimum values specified by the engineer. When applicable. When is a Soil and Foundation Investigation Required? The local building official may have the authority to waive an investigation report if the soil is reasonably well known or a report was prepared for a nearby site. the requirements for when a report is required are specified in !BC '09.2. Soil Bearing Values Generally. Section 1803. these values can be increased by onethird when wind or seismic forces are present. you can refer to Bowles. for those interested in the process. and other texts. Chapter 4. However. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 22 . allowable soil bearing pressures range from 1. This table lists allowable bearing values for soil classified by the Uniform System for Classification of Soil in Appendix A. Foundation Analysis and Design.
with the exception of stateowned or leased public schools and essential service facilities. Illinois. Their current edition is NFPA 5000: Building Construction and Safety Code. It is an adaptation of the IBC with minor modifications and is essentially the same as the IBC There are not any specific seismic design requirements for retaining walls.) are collectively referred to as the "lCodes".g. The following codes are most often adopted or cited. electrical. California Building Code (CBC) '07 This California code was first published in 2001 to replace the '97 Uniform Building Code. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 23 .5. the last in a series first published in 1927 by the International Conference of Building Officials. The IBC Website is www. was the dominant code in the Western states until replaced by the International Building Code. ASCE 7. The NFPA web address is www. plumbing. principally ASCE 705 Minimum Design Loadsfor Buildings and Other Structures.org. '97 This now defunct code. NFPA 5000: Building Construction and Safety Code (National Fire Prevention Association) NFP A 5000 has been promoted in some states. The IBC is compiled and published by the International Code Council (ICC). Also refer to Earthquake (Seismic) Design. and Standard Building Code) into one national building code. Seismic design requirements for retaining walls per IBC are discussed in Chapter 7 of this book. IBC 2009 references or modifies other standard codes. International Building Code (IBC) This is now the dominant code adopted by most jurisdictions. Uniform Building Code (UBC). BUILDING CODES AND RETAINING WALLS What Building Code(s) Apply To My Project? Always check with the building official having jurisdiction to learn what code(s) they are using and if any local amendments apply to your project.iccsafe. and ACI 530 for structural design issues. This code references ACI 318. 2009 Edition.nfpa.6 ofCBC'07).org. for which retaining walls over 12 feet require seismic design (see 1611A. etc. Chapter 7. County Club Hills. Southern Building Code. for example). It addresses construction protection and occupancy features necessary to minimize danger to life and property. The series ofInternational Building Codes (e. The IBC was a culmination of efforts to merge the "model codes" (Uniform Building Code. some with local modifications (California Building Code. The current edition is 2009.
Published by ASTM International. West Conshocken. Army Corps of Engineers Design Manuals. and The Masonry Society. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). and sample calculations: The web address is: www. u. PA. Edition. developed by the Building Seismic Safety Council for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). American Concrete Institute (ACI). Refer to www. CBC '07. That design manual contains information on many aspects of retaining structures.army. MI.usace. Detroit. 4th. Foundations and Earth Structures.astm. Building Code Requirementsfor Masonry Structures (AC! 530.s. 2007.02. This often referenced code covers loads and seismic design. Reston. National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP). this masonry code is published jointly by ACI. www. standards. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 24 . This is the standard of reference on materials and processes cited in all codes and specifications. SEI. Annual Book of ASTM Standards.000 specifications. ASCE 705 Published by ASCE. It's 70+ volumes covers over 11. Comprehensive design procedures.mil.C.org.org.108) Also known as MSJC. Washington. www. 2003. VA.aashto.Referenced Codes mc 2009. but referenced by !BC and NFP A as guidelines for seismic design. This is not a code. D.mil for more information. per se. NAVFAC Design Manual 7. The 2003 Edition NEHRP Recommended Provisions for Seismic Regulations/or new Buildings and Other Structures. Depending upon the jurisdiction.navfacnavy. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). the following may also apply: AASHTO LRFD Bridge and Highway Design Specifications. Building Code Requirements for Reinforced Concrete (A C! 31808). The standard for concrete design. and other regional codes often refer to the following standards for structural issues: Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures. contains often referenced information on seismic design of retaining walls. This is discussed in Chapter 7 of this book. particularly information in the Commentary.
Most lateral pressure theories arc based upon the sliding soil wedge theory. This. . in simple terms. The soil wedge theory The development of the soil wedge theory for cantilevered retaining walls was discussed in Section 4..6. Determination of Loads and Forces FORCES AND LOADS ON RETAINING WALLS The design of retaining walls may include any or all of the following (each will be discussed later): • Lateral earth pressure • Surcharge loads • Axial loads • Adjacent footing loads • Wind on projecting stem • Impact forces • *Seismic earth pressure • *Seismic wall selfweight forces *Discussed in Chapter 7 Lateral Earth Pressures The purpose of a retaining wall is to retain soil.: ~ ~PLANE ASSUMED OF RUPTURE Figure 61. a triangular wedge of soil would slide down along a rupture plane. '~'. ~: . ... and it is this wedge of soil that the wall must retain. " :: .::'0(:.1 . W .+1. H p .. FreeBody of Lateral Forces Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 25 .. There are the two basic equations for computing lateral earth pressures: The Coulomb formula and the Rankine formula.' ··. assumes that if the wall was suddenly removed..'. hence the lateral pressure of the soil against the wall is a primary design concern.
J3= Angle of backfill slope ~ = Angle of internal friction If the backfill is level the Rankine equation can be written as: K. friction angle at wall face.2 sin (ex . The Coulomb Formula If backfill is level.I. A cosf3 cosf3 + ~COS2 ~COS2 13 . and which takes into account backfill slope. then the Coulomb formula reduces to the familiar Rankine formula: K. The Rankine equation is a simplified version of the Coulomb formula and does not take into account wall batter or friction at the wallsoil interface. is: Ka= ~~~~Sin sirr' (ex + . the soilside wall face is vertical. (horiz. = = (1 .) = coso K.cos ' <jl 13 .( ex Sin ex  u 10)[1 + K.s~n<jl 1 + sm<jl Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 26 . The lateral pressure factor Ka will be the same for the case of a level backfill and zero wall friction. it is a conservative approach to the design of retaining walls. is the coefficient of active pressure. The Rankine Formula for active pressure: K. = tan 2 (45 _1J or 2 = 1. where K. angle of rupture plane. J3= Angle of backfill slope of internal friction of the soil a = Wall slope angle from horizontal (90 for vertical face) 8 Angle of friction between soil and wall (usually assumed to be 2/3~ to 1/2/~) ~ = Angle 0 = Figure 62. and if zero friction is assumed between the soil and wall. and angle of internal friction.0) sin (ex + (3) ·2 . Scottish engineer William Rankine further developed the Coulomb approach (along with many other scientific accomplishments) and introduced what is probably the most commonly used formula for lateral soil pressure.The Coulomb Formula The Coulomb Formula.sin <l» / (1 + sin ell) cosp K. As such. An example of its use will be described later for both the Coulomb and Rankine formulas. The Rankine Formula In the 1850s.) sin (<jl+0)Sin(<jlf3).) = cosJ3 K.cos ' <jl = (horiz.
6° (2:1 slope) cos 26. = Assume: <p = 34°. gravelsand mixes Poorly graded clean gravels. poorly graded gravelandclay mixes Wellgraded.6 . clean sands. gravelly sand mixes Poorly graded clean sands. sandgravel mixes Silty sands. poorly graded sandclay mixes Inorganic silts and clayey silts Mixture of inorganic silt and clay Inorganic clays of low to medium plasticity Basics of Retaining Wall Design USCS Classification GW GP GM GC Active pressure Atrest pressure 30 30 40 45 60 60 60 60 SW SP SM SMSC SC ML MLCL CL 30 30 45 45 60 45 60 60 60 60 60 100 100 100 100 100 Page 27 . cos 26.6 26. The Rankine Formula Note that in the Rankine analysis the active pressure force is assumed to be applied at onethird the retained soil height and inclined at the angle of.6 + ~COS2 = OAl K. poorly graded gravelsand mixes Clayey gravels.37 x say 110 pcf = 40 pcf for Backfill Material Wellgraded. condensed below: Lateral Pressures (pound per square foot per foot of depth) = 0. poorly graded sandsilt mixes Sandsilt clay mix with plastic fines Clayey sands.6 = 0. = Al x cos 26. horiz. clean gravels.cos ' 34 26. the backfill slope.Example: Then K. and parallel to.6 ~COS2 ~ = 26.37 and corresponding horizontal equivalent fluid weight of the soil a horizontal backfill Figure 63. gravelsand mixes Silty gravels.6 . IBC '09 and ASCE 705 have identical tables of minimum lateral pressures.cos/ 34 cos 26.
IfH20 truck loading could occur close to the wall (closest wheel within about onehalf the height distant from wall) then a Boussinesq analysis can be done. WSURCHARGE P2 t H/3 i H/2 .Figure 64 .Lateral Soil Pressures (Condensed from IBC '06 and ASCE 705) Surcharge Loads A surcharge is any additional vertical load applied to the soil above the top of the wall. It can be live load from a parking lot or highway. This is equivalent to a uniform surcharge of 240 psf (assuming a soil density of 120 pcf). Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 28 . ! o = SOIL DENSITY P1 == KaWH P2 = Ka<S'H2 (1/2) Figure 65. See Figure 65 (Active Pressure from a Uniform Surcharge Load against Wall) to illustrate this effect. Active Pressure from a Uniform Surcharge Load against Wall Highway surcharges The usual added surcharge when highway traffic is close to a retaining wall is to add two feet of earth. A 250 psf surcharge is commonly used for highway loading. The lateral pressure will have minimal effect if the load is located more than the retained height away from the wall. paving or an adjacent footing.
or "point loads". ft. The resultant force acts about 0. R = Diagonal distance from P to point of application =~r2 +z2 11 = Poisson's ratio NOTE: If a "line load". A ruleofthumb is that an adjacent footing will have little effect on lateral pressure against the stem if it is further than the height (base of stem to base of applied adjacent load) away from the wall face .60h above the bottom. though computationally very laborious is often used to calculate the influence of adjacent loads on a wall is shown in Figure 66. The Boussinesq equation. This results in shorttime construction loads of about 1000 psf. it results in a curved pressure diagram as illustrated in Figure 67. far in excess of most surcharge design loads. The backfill should be placed in layers of about one foot. especially if the wall is restrained. Also. coming within inches of the wall. This value for sand and sandyclay Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 29 . Ibs. note that the Boussinesq formula is sensitive to the assumed Poisson's ratio (11) for the soil. Adjacent footing surcharges If there is an adj acent footing that overlays the area of the soil wedge this surcharge will exert lateral pressure against the wall. r = Horizontal distance from point of application on wall to plumb under P z = Depth. Adjacent footing loads are classified as either "line" or "strip" loads" which are uniform loads parallel to the wall. condition.at a slope ratio of 1:1.000 lbs. Compaction testing may be required. multiply the computed lateral pressure from the above equation by 21I = 6.Backfill compaction surcharge Backfill is often placed by a front end loader dumping sand or gravel behind the wall. and sometimes assign a worker to monitor plumb of the wall during these operations. Grading contractors are aware of this and often report tilting of the wall during these operations. The Boussinesq equation follows: Where tenus are defined below and in Figure 65 for a point load: o r = Lateral Pressure. A typical loader will weigh about 30. such as square or rectangular footings. and must be considered. and have a footprint under each track of about 30 square feet if the loader is trackmounted.28 (derived from the Boussinesq equation). compacted by repeated by backandforth runs of the compactor or loader. psf P = Point load. Backfill compaction can produce a K. Based upon the theory of elasticity. It is the contractor's responsibility to place backfill so as to not damage or overstress a wall.
/ I .5. iz .> /   R ::: r:::: Jr + Jxl + yl 1 Zl z Figure 66. I I I I .£_"J I 1 / y//"" ". H Figure 67.. Boussinesq Equation Pressure Diagram This is a very time consuming computation because it requires a calculation for each increment of wall height./  I I 1 . because it Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 30 ./ ./ . //1 r" y z .ranges from about 0./ I ' .2 to 0.:: .. The Bowles text is an excellent reference on the use of the Boussinesq equations.// I I ! I . The computations are further compounded if it is other than a point load. Boussinesq Equation Figure 66: (Boussinesq Equation Pressure Diagram) shows a plot of the resulting pressure curve.
Simplified Lateral Pressure from Line Load This treatment of adjacent footing loads is brief. neither of these computations provides the distribution of lateral wall pressure against the wall. such as a wide footing parallel to the wall). Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 31 . 0.00 clay and silty clay. the above Figure 67 uses C. where y = x (tan 40°).39 for fine silty sand and some clay. Terzaghi and Peck propose a simple method for computing the lateral load and point of application from a line load (e. and unconservative shear and moment at the base. For further reading consult the texts in the bibliography. = 0. 1. 0.30. page 364): 0. This would yield overly conservative moments and shears near the top of the wall. The line load P. continuous footing) behind the wall. Some engineers merely assume the bearing pressure under the adjacent footing projects downward at a 1. exerts a resulting force R acting against the wall at a distance y below load P. where C. numerous computations must be made for the cumulative pressure affects against a vertical unit length of wall. or in the case of a line load or strip load (the latter is a line load but several increments wider.26 for clean sand and gravel. A simplified solution may be to assume a uniform load against the wall equal to the adjacent footing load divided by the height from footing to bottom of adjacent footing. acting at a distance x from the wall.g. Appendix F. p A$$umed Ohtributi()n 1. However. is a lateral pressure coefficient depending upon the type of soil (paraphrased from Terzaghi. a more indepth treatment is not within the scope of this book. See Figure 68.5:1 slope (Terzaghi proposed an equilateral triangle).30 for coarse grained soil with some silt. For simplicity. R = C. and computes the adjusted surcharge at the level where the projection intersects the wall. NAVFAC and AASHTO also have frequently referenced charts for determining lateral pressures from line and point loads. This may be an underestimation because it does not give the pressure bulge near the top as shown by the Boussinesq equation. P.then requires a separate computation for each square foot under the footing.5:1mn Figure 68.
v: I.100 psf Water = 62. Other codes and conditions may apply when wind is a consideration.4 pcf Forces: 0. K.00256 K. This pressure diagram is shown in Figure 69. K. For example.27 x 110 x 6' = 178.5. Y is wind velocity in mph.4) x 7. Water Table Force Calculations. reference is made to ASCE 705 for wind design (with some exceptions generally not applicable to "fences" . where F is design wind pressure in psf. the IBC code permits a onethird stress increase for shortterm loading if ASD combinations of 1605. can generally be taken as 1.4).see IBC Section 1609). This additional pressure for the saturated soil is equal to the pressure of water. Except for freestanding walls the onethird increase is generally not applicable. 80 mph wind.85.4 x 7. plus the submerged weight ofthe soil (its saturated weight . which terms can be determined from Section 6.27 (11062. The customary formula for wind pressure is F = . Using IBC 2006.10.27 Y = 110 pcf Surcharge . = 0.27 x 100 psf= 27 psf.Wind Load on Projecting Stems When an exposed wall extends above grade. the active pressure of the saturated soil will increase below that level.5= 96. Assume: K.6 when using strength design method. plus the surcharge of the soil above the water table. and ignoring the Importance Factor "I". it is subject to wind pressure which creates an additional overturning force.2 0.62. Water Table Conditions If a portion of the retained height is below a water table.0026 v2 . considering Exposure "C".2 are used. 0.5 = 468 Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 32 . C. G is gust factor which can be taken as 0.3. and qz is the velocity pressure at midheight and can be computed by Equation 615: qz = 0. where F is in psf and v is wind velocity in mph. If wind overturning and stem moments are significant stress components. Equation 625 of ASCE 705 gives the following simplified formula: F = qz G Cf.2. For Strength Design the IBC load factor for wind is 1. this results in "F" = about 12 psf. The submerged weight of a soil can be approximated as 5/8 x its dry unit weight.4 62.
then the pressure above and below the heel equalize and only the buoyantadjusted dead weight of the heel can be used to resist overturning.5' M 2.847 /4.388'# 17847'# = 4.Summary for overturning: P 27 x 13. as sketched in Figure 610. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 33 . Hydrostatic pressures If the water table is above the foundation the soil density below must be adjusted for buoyancy (saturated weight minus water weight). suggested by a engineer. piggyback style.75' 2.10' Water Table Force Calculations When retaining liquids the procedure is similar to an earth retaining wall except that the equivalent fluid pressure is 62. For this condition.5/2 Ht.079'# 5. to point of application 365# 535# 1337# 362# 1755# 4354'"# 17. Alternate #2. This requires very careful design for the lower walls. Cascading walls Occasionally walls will be stacked one behind another. Another possible solution. Two possible solutions are suggested: Alternate #1 shown on Figure 610.354 Figure 69. then apply its horizontal thrust P.2 x 6/2 178.4 x 7. and be conservative! advice is recommended and the nature of the underlying soil may require a global stability analysis (most consultants have software to perform this). located "x" from the wall.464'# 5. because not only is there a surcharge from the wall above.5 178.5' 3. use the Boussinesq equation to obtain a cut force on the wall.75' 9.13% grater than dry weight. If the liquid can seep under the footing.5/2 468 x 7. The footing weight should be reduced (concrete weight less water weight) to account for its buoyancy. Detention ponds / flood walls = x 6. would be to sketch a failsafe slope that would model the event if both walls were considered one mass exerting pressure on the lower wall. Weight of saturated soil is about 10% .012'# 904'# 4.5' 2.5 96. consider the horizontal thrust of the upper walls. is to apply the vertical load P v of the lower wall as a lineload surcharge force P. but a horizontal thrust as well.4 pet (or that of the liquid). be careful. Cascading wall conditions come up frequently and a good reference for design is not known to the author (it would make a good PhD thesis!). or cascading.2 x 7. as an assumed uniform load against the stem ofthe lower wall.
ALTERNATE #1: Assume Equilvalent backfill surcharge ALTERNATE #~ Assume P unifomly distributed over Y and ~+. otherwise the wall does not perform as a cantilevered retaining wall. and assuming 14 ft high. the wall should be designed as a "basement wall. For example. Vertical point loads on walls.. such as from a beam reaction.. If one side of a building. This spreading of the load results in relatively low compressive stresses at the base of the stem. rests on top of a wallit could be reactions from a floor or roofthe abutting diaphragm should not restrain rotation of the wall. Sometimes a wall is designed for both conditions.. Axial live loads on the stem will increase soil bearing pressure and resisting moments. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 34 . would result in an axial stress (in addition to wall weight) of just 125 psi. Cascading Walls Vertical Loads Verticalloads provide stability by resisting overturning. or bridge member.. If restraint does occur. If X > Vertical loads include: Axial loads on the stem These loads are applied directly to the stem. for example._l apply Pv as adiacent \_ footing Assumed rupture line.c. are assumed to spread downward at a slope of two vertical one horizontal. say 1. ledger.5:1 Y probably little effect on lower wall Figure 610. such as when it is designed as a retaining wall so that backfill can be safely placed before the restraint is provided. Bearing stresses directly under a beam or girder reaction must be checked. then designed as a basement wall for the condition after the restraint is in place. a 24 kip load atop a 12" concrete wall on a twofoot wide bearing. Any vertical load imposed upon the stem of a cantilever design retaining wall must not provide lateral support." whereby the restraint at the top results in a positive bending moment in the stem.\"... such as from girder reactions. therefore need to assessed separately from axial dead load for most critical condition.
These inclined forces resolve into a horizontal and vertical component. and increase the overturning resistance. and rarely would exceed about 2. But remember that live load acting at a negative eccentricity (toward the backfill) could produce unconservative results. the stem should be checked at incremental descending points as the impact force spreads over a greater stem length. If the backfill is sloped as illustrated in Figure 61.000 lbs.5 x 12)] = 14. Assume the impact load spreads out at one horizontal to two vertical. This is assumed to be a straightupanddown column of earth (although in actuality this is probably an unlikely assumption). for a 12" masonry wall this added compressive stress for 2. Most textbooks advise that it be used only for overturning resistance. This is equivalent to spreading its effect over a length of wall equal to the distance from point of application down to the plane being checked.000 lbs/ft. P v. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 35 . This vertical component could be used for added resistance to sliding. The latter is assumed to act at the plane of the back of the wall footing heel for a cantilever wall. This results in relatively low axial stress in the stem. simulating a spread footing design.Also. and typically much less.33.5 psi. or a single concentrated lateral load of 200 lbs. applied at a height of 18" above grade. you may want to design for impact from a car bumper. this inclination is assumed to be the same angle (parallel to) the backfill slope. it is conservative to ignore the stabilitizing influence of this force. Caution should be used if for some reason a very high axial load was applied because it could change the bending characteristic of the footing. When considering the effect of impact. consider the eccentricity with respect to the stem centerline because it will affect both stem design and stability.is inclined from the horizontal.000 lbs/ft would be [2000 I (1l. then the line of action of the resultant earth pressure. Stem and footing weight These loads add to soil bearing pressure and contribute to overturning and sliding stability. Guard rails require 50 plf applied to the top. Vertical component of active pressure The vertical component of active pressure force is another vertical load. ASCE 705 specifies 6. Impact Loading If the wall extends above grade and a parking area is adjacent. Weight of soil This includes the soil over both the heel and toe. Weight of structure This includes the weight of the stem and footing. When using the Rankine formula. or more for impact. For example. P is inclined at the wall friction angle at the soilstem interface. reduced soil pressure. In the Coulomb method. would seem appropriate for these conditions. A shortterm stress increase of 1. For example a very high heel soil pressure because of a high axial load could reverse the bending from negative to positive. Axial loads are usually from a connecting floor or roof.
1. The determination of both static and seismic (dynamic) pressure on retaining walls is still an emerging science. identifies items to be included in the report to be submitted ". when required by the authority having jurisdiction "] This clearly requires a seismic analysis of "earth retaining structures".5 or higher for overturning) and lack of seismic damage incidents to retaining walls (waterfront structures subject to liquefaction excepted).5.7. It is also argued that because retaining walls are often at a distance from structures that would be affected by such failures and thus are not a lifesafety issue. The selection of an "effective" site acceration for use is somewhat arbitrary. Some argue the necessity of seismic design of retaining walls.4.2.1 [This section states that " . Bowles. compounded by the assumptions that must be made to allow an indeterminable problem to become solvable using concepts of statistics and differential calculus. Commentary.5 is used for design..g. refers to ASCE 705 which in Section 9. but implies some discretionary latitude by the "authority having jurisdiction". This section applies to all earth retaining walls.1 reads as follows: . This is the k. Section 1613.2. Kramer) acknowledge that seismic design of retaining walls is a highly complex issue. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 36 . but exempts this requirement if a peak ground acceleration of SDS/ 2..1 and the lateral pressures on basement and retaining walls due to earthquake motions". 1802.7 or IBC'09. However.5. 1803.7. The now defunct Uniform Building Code (UBC '97) and its successor California Building Code (CBC '07) do not appear to specifically require seismic design of "earth retaining structures" with the exception of stateowned or leased public schools and essential faculties.7. 7. 1.4. based upon the recommendations of the report. though becoming codified. Part 2. Seismic Design Overview EARTHQUAKE (SEISMIC) DESIGN Texts that address seismic design of retaining walls (e. reports usually give only the peak ground acceleration applicable to the location and leave the application of this information to the designer.5.7.. requires "A determination of lateral pressures on basement and retaining walls due to earthquake motions". The seismic requirements ofIBC 2006. Section 9. The applied seismic forces shall be determined in accordance with Section 9. acceration used in the MO equation (See following) and presented in NEHRP. IBC '06..g. 7. Designer should check applicable local and State codes that may have specific seismic design requirements for retaining walls. which require a seismic design if the retaining wall is more than 12 feet high.12.1. considering compensating safety factors (e. . They often vary with jurisdiction.14. However. the owner shall submit to the authority having jurisdiction a written report that includes an evaluation of the items in Section 9. these arguments appear moot considering the mandatory language ofIBC and ASCE 7. and IBC 2009.
(90 for a vertical face). one of the most important and influential is an ASCE paper titled Design of Earth Retaining Structures for Dynamic Loads. which they termed KAE. = 0. This equation is presented in Figure 71. Seismic Design and Behavior of Gravity Retaining Walls. ~ = backfill slope. static + seismic ' . MononobeOkabe When the acceleration is zero.( 0' 5:) [1 cos 0 sm aslll a + + u + sin (¢ + 5) sin (¢ . based upon the MononobeOkabe theory. this becomes: KAE= ~~~cos O sm sin 2 (90 + 0 . The horizontal component is KAE cos O. 1990.The MononobeOkabe equations Of the many investigations of dynamic forces on retaining walls. In this paper they cite the pioneering studies by Mononobe (1929) and Okabe (1926). This was an adaptation of the Coulomb formula to calculate the total (seismic and static) pressure and introduced the variable 8.O'fJ) sin (a + 5 + 0' ) sin (a . the results from which were presented at a 1970 Cornell University conference.fJ) r/J I sin (90 + ~2 + 0) sin (90 + fJ) j2 The total force (active and earthquake). <p = angle of internal friction. for the combined static and seismic factor. Another contribution was a subsequent ASCE paper by Robert Whitman titled. They considered this lateral force to be an inverted triangular wedge of soil behind the wall. widely referenced today. 0 For a vertical wall face and 0 assumed to be ~ .2 .fJ) ]2 Where 8 = tan1 kll' a = wall slope to horiz. to be applied to this wedge acting against the wall. k. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 37 . SeedWhitman proposed a simplified formula. P AE = retained height. }i (y) KAE H2 where y = soil density and H = Figure 71.5 ¢ sin (¢O. KAE = active earth pressure coefficient.¢) . and 0 = wall friction angle. 2 ( 90 + 0 + 12 ¢I l 1+ sin 1. which is defined as the angle whose tangent is the ground acceleration (8 = tan1 kb). by Seed and Whitman. KAE Equation KA becomes the familiar Coulomb formula.
w = KAE yH 2H 2 = 0. H is the height to the back face of the footing.6H. the stem moments and overturning are greatly increased because 0. KAEhas two components (seismic and static). then KAEapproximate would be 0.27. which is often assumed to be ~ . KpEis: KpE= cos B' sin 2 sin ' (aB+¢') [ 1+ sin(¢+5)sin(¢B'+j3) sin (a + 5 + B') sin (a . However.5H. is 0. Therefore. Some engineers use this method to give an added uniform seismic force over the full retained height with resultant acting at 0.The passive earth pressure coefficient.5 KAEYH. therefore. might read "for seismic design add a uniform lateral force = 20 H2 with the resultant applied at 0. The height to the combined resultant can be obtained by the formula: y= The direction of force application.KA) is assumed to be an inverted. This simplification.6H. Therefore. For stem design. Seed and Whitman (1982) suggest an approximation ofKAE = KA + 0.j3) 2 asin (a + B'+ 5) Note: The passive pressure coefficient decreases under seismic conditions. the horizontal components can be assumed to be PAE horiz. trapezoidal pressure diagram with the resultant force (maximum at the ground surface) acting at a height of 0. 8. act at an assumed height of 0. The seismic component (KAE.6 H. Such a requirement. however. If. is assumed to be inclined at an angle (from horizontal) equal to the friction angle at the back face of the wall. cos = (X) PAE· A simple approach to the design for seismic is suggested by the overlapping force triangles. which tend to combine into a uniform load over the height of the wall. per the Coulomb formula. This would suggest an 83% increase over static KA. is particularly helpful for checking stem moments and shears at various heights when y = H / 2. where w is the equivalent uniform lateral static plus seismic force. H is the height from top of footing to retained height. for example. for overturning and sliding.495.6H".75 k.30 and KA = 0. neartriangular.60H. k. calculation error resulting from assuming a triangular distribution is not significant. along a virtual vertical plane extending from the bottom of the footing to its intersection with the backfill grade. Note that the inverted "triangle" is actually trapezoidal because ofO.75 kh. if the height of the resultant is at 0. The KA component is the familiar triangular distribution acting at H / 3. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 38 .
and concluded that the factors of safety for static design.7 to convert for design for overturning. which have identical charts.) For example.2 second. and a peak ground acceleration (PGA) of 84.856. Just enter your zip code. gives 185. spectral response acceleration at 5% of critical damping. or 1. PA . which are generally around 1. See IBC 2009. California (high seismic area!). Unless an arbitrarily reduced value of kh is used.6H f Figure 72. with a 2% probability of exceedence in 50 years. Geological Survey address.0.2 second selection. because such forces would merely reduce the safety factor to an acceptable value greater than 1. hence the 0. are adequate to protect the wall for short term seismic forces.5. Additionally. the factor of safety maybe 1.3.S.75%g. It seems excessively conservative. onethird to onehalf the peak ground acceleration is often used (see Kramer and others). is the horizontal ground acceleration used in the MononobeOkabe (MO) equation to compute lateral seismic earth pressures against retaining walls.Seed and Whitman's paper suggests that few building codes (at that time) required seismic provisions for retaining walls.S. Note that retaining walls are "short period". If designing for these agencies check their requirements. Go to http://earthquake. sliding and soil bearing. using the USGS Hazard Maps: Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 39 .6 percent "g". Assuming your code is IBC 2009. The starting point is to determine the peak acceleration applicable to your design.1 when seismic is included. There is an easier way. Application of Seed Whitman Method An arguable issue is whether to include the inertial force of the wall combined with seismic earth pressure both NAVFAC and U. Determining kb k. (A latitudelongitude web. Seismic forces are factored forces. or ASCE 705.gov/research/hazmaps/dcsign/indcx.2.0. and for ASD these forces can be reduced by 0. Newport Beach. select from the contours the Maximum Considered Earthquake (MCE) ground motion for 0. This is a U.1807. This is a design value and not necessarily the most severe acceleration that could occur at the site.usgs. Here is an example procedure for obtaining a design k.php (Java required). Army Corp of Engineers appears to require this concurrent force. zip code 92660. generally 1.
5 H. Commentary. are therefore: MAEbasc PA (H/3) + (ll.667 x 1. = 1.5.24 = 0.PAE)(0. = SSD 2. approximation: 7.0 x 1. states Seed and Whitman's proposed simpler kh is the peak ground acceleration modified per Provisions Sec.856 = 1.856 Sos = 2/3 SMS= 0.24 Per NEHRP.From charts. ~ 0.375 Kh Y H2 H =(.856 = 1. using this simplification.6 H) = = yH3 (0.5 Base moments.3 k. S.375kh) (yH) Page 40 Basics of Retaining Wall Design .75 KA Vertical Distribution of Seismic Force on Stem Here is a simplified method for assuming a uniformly applied force to the stem: By Definition: Total force on stem: PA + ll.225 kh) An observation from this is that the base moments from static and dynamic (seismic) are equal when k. = Sos I 2.5 = 0.5Ka y H2 + . 11. 7.3 in IBC '06).5. yH 2 2 If resultant acts at 0.17 K. Part 2. See Table 1613.1: where k.5.50 Simplified Seismic Force Application The NEHRP 2003 Part 2 Commentary.5Ka yH + .40 x 1. Fa = 1. the approximate uniform lateral pressure on a stem is: .1.5. SMS= 1.PAE= .0 (This is a function of soil characteristics and value of S. 7.375 k.856 (All terms defined in referenced codes) SMS= Fa s.1: See also IBC '09. + 0.8.5 Ka+ .
For design example, assuming K, = 0.35, k, = .34, y = 120 Fp
=
36H Ibs / ft lateral pressure
Note that this simplified formula is not valid if there is a sloped backfill which would significantly increase seismic forces. Seismic for Stem Selfweight This is an arguable issue: whether to include the seismic force due to selfweight of the wall acting simultaneously with the lateral seismic to earth pressure force. It does not appear to be defined in the codes. AASHTO, however, in 5.5.4 states: " ... seismic designforces should accountfor wall inertiaforces in addition to the equivalent staticforce, where a wall supports a bridge structure ... ". But section 5.6.4, referring to flexible cantilever walls, states that "Forces resultingfrom wall inertia effects may be ignored in estimating the seismic lateral earth pressure". Judgment indicates that seismic selfweight should be applied simultaneously with seismic due to earth pressure. Using ASCE 705, Section 15.6.2 (Rigid Nonbuilding Structures): Fp in equation 15.45, for cantilevered wall and assuming Ip Reduces to: Fp
= =
1.0,
0.30 SDSWp
Per above design example where SDS= 0.85,: Fp 0.30 x 0.85 x 1.0 Wp = 0.26 Wp
Alternatively per ASCE 705, 13.3.1: This method for F, applies ifthere is a lateral support at top.
O.4apSDS I p ( 1+2x Wp h
Rp h, ap 1.0, Rp = 2.5, is 0.30 Sds r, Wp
_x
J
h
=
r, minimum
hr
0 at bottom and 1.0 at top.
F, for design is average between top and bottom For example design, Sds= 0.85, Ip = 1.0 :. Fp [[(0.4 x 0.85 x 1.0 x 1.0 x 3) / 2.5] + (0.30 x 0.8 x 1.0)]] 0.50Wp
=
0.33Wp
Basics of Retaining Wall Design
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Seismic Force on NonYielding (Restrained) Walls Several texts (e.g. Kramer) propose the following formula (slightly revised): L1Peq = Y k, H2, acting at a resultant height of about O.6H Where L1P is the total added lateral force due to seismic, y is the unit weight of soil, and H is eq the retained height. The resultant acting at O.6H gives a slightly trapezoidal force diagram, however, for ease of calculation a uniform load can be assumed with less than 2% unconservative error. It should be noted that there are so few incidents of earthquake damage to such walls that many experts agree that seismic design of restrained (e.g. "basement") walls may not be necessary, particularly given an adequate factor of safety for the service level design.
Basics of Retaining Wall Design
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8.
Basics of Stem Design
DESIGNING THE CANTILEVER WALL STEM
First, here are two very rough rules of thumb for assuming stem thickness: If a concrete stem, try one inch in thickness for each foot of retained height, but not less than eight inches. If masonry stem, 8" is usually adequate for walls about six feet high, and 12" for walls to 12 feet. Less height for walls with sloped backfills. The controlling design condition for reinforcement occurs at the bottom ofthe stem (top of footing), where the maximum stem moment occurs. However, it is not economical to use the same steel design higher up the wall where the moment is less (unless the wall is very low). Usually, after the base of the stem is designed, another design is performed several feet higher, usually at the top of the dowels projecting from the footing. At this point alternate bars can be dropped, or sizes reduced, for economy. If the wall is very high, you may want three or four cutoff levels and perhaps a change in stem thickness or material. The diagram in Figure 81 illustrates this concept.
REDUCE: e .... SIZE R ANO/OO DROP Al T£RHA TE BARS
I
rr I
.
cF
REDUCE BAR SIZE AND/OR DROP Al,..lERNA iE BARS
I
!
~'"
E){lEND DOWELS FUU HEIGHT
:='"
j~= c=
....
e'"
r
cF cF
cF._
._  
r
f




.HOOKEOBAR
I.~\
rTt
~':J
_....Q_.,
"',4
.l
'"
EMBEOhtENT
~__j OEPTH
LOW
WALLS
MEDIUM
WALLS
HIGH
WALLS
Figure 81. Reinforcing Placement in Stem A handy rule to remember is that for a triangular equivalent fluid pressure behind the stem, the moment diminishes to onehalf of that at the base at O.20H above the base. For example, for a 10 foot retained height, the moment is one half its maximum at two feet above the base. Therefore, for nearly all cases, the moment is onehalf or less at the tops of the dowels. Often the stem projects above the retained height to provide a fence barrier, or a wood fence may be added to the top of the stem. In such cases, the wind load on that portion above the earth should be considered in the design, as it contributes to overturning. If the stem is essentially a yard wall, with very little earth retention, then remember that the wind can blow from either direction, which will require the wall and footing to be checked for both conditions.
Basics of Retaining Wall Design
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If there is a concentrated vertical or lateral load, such as impact, assume that a point load spreads downward, along the length of the wall, at about two vertical to one horizontal. In other words, the overturning force at the base of the stem is spread over a distance equal to the height from the base to point of impact. Dowels from Footing into the Stem The reinforcing at the bottom of the stem will consist of footing bars bent up into the stem as dowel bars. Unless the wall is relatively low, say four or five feet, it is not economical to extend the dowel bars to the top of the wall, because the moment in the stem diminishes rapidly with height (as stated earlier is halved at about 1/5th the height). Vertical bars must only extend up to where they are no longer required, at which point either alternate bars can be dropped, or spliced (lapped) with lesser size bars. Bars must extend up into the stem a distance equal to the development length of the bar, or the required lap distance for the continuing bars, whichever is greater, provided however, that they extend at least 12 bar diameters beyond where they are no longer needed for.moment requirements. The lap length required for the continuing bars nearly always governs. The required development length and lap lengths for both masonry and concrete are shown in the Table below. Hooked bar embedments into the footing are also shown. Note the footnote assumptions below the Table. Lap Splice t.enqths'" and Hooked Bar Embedments (inches)
I···.·
Masonry(2rfA.=1500· Grade 60 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 L
H(4)
psi 2000.psi 34.9 9.4 43.6 11.8 52.3 14.1 76.3 16.5 87.2 18.8
Concrete·(3)
Grade 40 20 25 30 35 40
3QOO psi
28.5 7.7 35.6 9.6 42.7 11.5 62.3 13.4 74.2 15.4
4000 psi 24.7 6.7 30.8 8.3 37.1 10.0 54.0 11.6 61.6 13.3
24 30 36 42 48
L
H(4)
L
H(4)
L
H(4)
L
H(4)
(1) (2) (3) (4)
Min. lap for spliced bars, inches, assumes fy = 60 ksi 40 bar diameters for fy = 40 ksi and 48 diameters for fy = 60 ksi (48 diameters shown) Min. lap is development length x 1.3, assuming Class B splice. Cannot be reduced for stress level Assumes standard hook and not reduced by ratio As (required) / As (provided) Note that IBC '06, 2107.5, modifies ACI53005, Section 2.1.10.7.1.1 which has the effect of deleting the following onerous development length equation (29) in ACI53005:
(5)
"L" = lap length; "H" = hook bar embedment.
Basics of Retaining Wall Design
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002 db f..5 10 _15 10 ~. #6 18 18 18 ~~" 18 18 18 18 18 48 48 48 48 40 #7 . CMU eMU CMU CMU CMU .~Concrete Concrete C on crete * Concretc* Concrete* ::. For Grade 60 reinforcing this equation requires 48 bar diameters. Horizontal Temperature/Shrinkage Reinforcement for Concrete and Masonry Walls Typical Horizontal Rebar Spacing for . or just the middle Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 45 . .  __ ..002 A" for concrete #4 #5 Thick #3 17 18 6 9 14 18 7 8 12 18 8 7 11 17 9 6 5. IBC 2009 modified this requirement (only for ASD) to: Id = 0.. Mat'l Concrete Concrete Concrete . There may be conditions (climate.=::::: = 2 0.5 bars... Horizontal Temperature / Shrinkage Reinforcing Horizontal reinforcing is necessary to control cracks from temperature changes and shrinkage.0007 AI!Masonry and .0 for #3. aesthetics. _. 48 The ACI requirement for reinforcing in both faces of concrete walls over 10 inches thick is waived for retaining walls in contact with earth. 1. 10 16 24 32 12 24 32 12 24 16 8 16 . 18 12 17 9 14 18 14 8 18 16 7 12 . Key at StemFooting Interface Another use of the term "key" is a longitudinal slot formed into the top of the footing and into which the bottom of the stem fits.13 db fy Y K d y = = P. but not less than 12".4 for #6.5 for #8 Masonry cover but not less than 5 db This requirement results in much longer lap lengths and has met with considerable objection.7. The table below shows minimum requirements for both concrete and masonry (CMU).Development length in masonry is given in MSJC 2008 as: f "".4. This slot can be the full width of the stem. and 1. better crack control) where you may want additional reinforcing. K 1..48 24 48 6 16 32 48 8 1.
c.9 OK But also check shear friction available: vn = As fy fl ~ assume = 0. fm is typically 1500 psi and fy for Grade 60 reinforcing is 60.75 x 2 .000 x 0. Strengthreduction factor.11 = 0. Refer to MSJC Chapter 3 for SD requirements. concrete shear is adequate.33 = 2519 plf . all or part of the shear can be resisted by compression against the side of the keyway.4.63 Vc ~ = 0." By providing a keyway.75 = . <1>.000 psi. or the reinforcing yields to allow slippage. but it can be seen that shear friction offers considerable resistance if necessary. except earthquake forces are already factored. also known as LFRD (Load Resistance Factor Design). is the design procedure similar to Strength Design for concrete.240# > 1.1> 32.60 coef. therefore to convert seismic forces to ASD divide by 1. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 46 . Design of Masonry Stems Masonry is designed using two methods: Allowable Stress Design (ASD) and Strength Design (SD).33 Footing 12" 3. We often compute the shear stresses at the base of the stem as if it was monolithic. if its depth is sufficient to resist the shear force.0. = 0. OK if only consider shear friction In this case.800# . The purpose is intended to offer more shear resistance at the interface plane. Alternatively. of friction = 0. However. Let's investigate this for an assumed condition: 3800 = = 32. another way of resisting shear at this interface is to consider "shear friction" across the joint. rather than a "cold joint.33 Fm.9 psi 12 x 9. =3350# / 1. you could use shear values for embedded bolts .in this case 7/8" "bolts" at 16" O. This requires a certain amount of tension in the reinforcing must be used for this clamping force.90 for flexure and 0.'. Shear friction theory considers the reinforcing steel that crosses the joint as clamping the joint together such that sliding of the joint cannot occur unless the coefficient of friction is overcome. Both are codepermitted options Using ASD. loads are factored by 1.80 for shear and splices. which is in addition to tension requirements for bending design.60 = 16.J2000 Stem = 67. Use load factors per ASCE 705.half. Allowable flexural stress is: £.60 x 60. Strength Design.assuming 2000 psi concrete or grout.
When stepping the wall. Somewhat outdated code wise.c.25 10" wall 4. These are industry standards. Vertical Cored Grouted at 24" O. and rarely. 14" or 16". An excellent reference for masonry design is James Amrhein's Reinforced Masonry Engineering Handbook.0 16" wall  13. published by the Masonry Institute of America.c. 4th Edition. 4th Edition by the Masonry Society (www. it is usual to solid grout the wall. Los Angeles.c.25 12" wall 5. Remember that for masonry stems the vertical bars must be spaced on eightinch modules to accommodate the block cells.8 7. but good information.masonrysociety. and assume about 2" from the face of wall to the centerline of the bar. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Medium Weight 115 pef Normal Weight 135 pef 6" 52 41 37 36 35 34 8" 75 60 55 10" 93 69 61 12" 118 88 79 6" 58 47 43 8" 78 63 5 10" i 12" 98 80 72 124 94 85 6" 63 52 46 8" 84 66 61 10" 104 86 78 12" 133 103 94 89 86 83 Page 47 . Another good reference is Masonry Designer's Guide. and are either solid grouted. The wall weights for these combinations are shown in the Table below: Lightweight 103 pef Wall Thickness Solid Grouted 16" o. medium weight (most common) or heavy weight. but on thicker walls the bars can either be centered or next to the inside face (the face adjacent to the earth!).8 8" wall 3.8 5. See Table 1 below for "d" dimensions for various masonry stem thicknesses. Masonry stem thickness is nominal block thickness': 6".Typical "d" Distances for Masonry Stems Bar Position Bars in center Bars at edge  "d" Distances for Masonry Stems 6" wall 2. Table 1. or grouted only for cells containing reinforcing are grouted.c.0 Concrete masonry units (CMU) are designated either lightweight.8 9. 8".In Appendix B you will find a summary of masonry design formulas and allowable stresses. Shear and moment calculations are based upon the "effective depth d" of the moment. 32" O. consideration must be given to providing sufficient lap development length for the reinforcing extending into the section below. When the stem thickness is reduced higher up the wall. the step should be made on the inside (earth side) so that the outside of the wall is a flush vertical surface.org). 48" O. 12. 10". 40" O. With sixinch walls the reinforcing must be placed in its center. Although only cells containing reinforcing need be grouted.c.
2 for dead load. Spacing should not exceed 48 inches. For r. "weep joints" should be provided at the lowest course at the outside grade.002 and that the least in either direction be 0.0013 times the gross crosssectional area. Earthquake forces are already factored. Grade 60 (J. and 1. wind. #5 bars at 48" on center or #4 bars at 32" would suffice for an 8" wall. Stress increases for Allowable Stress Design (ASD) Using the Alternate Basic Load Combination per IBC '09. Specify gravel behind so the joints won't clog. Although arguable. Always check with most recent and applicable code! For a summary of concrete design formulas see Appendix B. Concrete ultimate compressive strength is usually specified asfc' = 2. Section 1605. = 60. MSJC 2008 requires that the sum of the vertical and horizontal reinforcing ratios be at least 0. Usc 1.000 psi or greater. Concrete Stem Design Concrete stems should be at least eight inches thick to allow space to place the reinforcing within the forms. Strength Design is commonly used for concrete stem and footing design.4 for fluid pressure (or any welldefined density). Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 48 . this length cannot be reduced by the ratio of actual stress in the bar to its allowable stress. for F. This combination also allows a reduction for seismic by 0. The maximum spacing of reinforcing in a concrete wall.000 psi equals 36 bar diameters. both vertical and horizontal is 18" per ACI. Maximum reinforcing in masonry stems When using Allowable Stress Design also there is not a maximum. Per MSJC this is 0. and at least 0. In the latter case. where all applied loads are factored per ACI requirements: 1. vertical reinforcing for an 8" wall would be a minimum of#5 at 32" or #4 at 16".000 psi).To relieve water pressure.0.0007.3. Dowel bars into masonry stems Footing bars bent up into a masonary wall must extend at least the development length of the bar.0015 dbFts. Accordingly. Nearly all reinforcing is now specified as ASTM A 61590.500 psi. however. and live load. but not more than three times the wall thickness. it is generally not practical to exceed #8 bars at 8" on center.7 to convert to ASD. This can be done by omitting the head joint (side joint between blocks) at every other block. = 24.6 for earth pressure.000 or 2. therefore the seismic load factor is 1.2 a onethird stress is permitted when wind or seismic is combined. Minimum reinforcing in masonry stems The ACI Code.0007 horizontally. As the principle reinforcing is always vertical. which. See Table on page 44. it should be at least 0.' = 3. or 32" on center.
d Determining = 5. and 1Yz" for #5 and smaller. Minimum reinforcing in concrete stems The minimum amount of reinforcing required to ensure a ductile failure is: min = 200 (= . or if the wall is placed directly against earth without forming. y For example for an 8" wall with d = 5. this would be #5 bars at 3" O. When concrete is placed against earth.75p (= 0.000 psi. must be at least 2" when exposed to earth or weather for #6 bars and larger.000 psi) f . using strength design method. = 60.8fcbMu <D(fy)2 (b and d in inches. this formula becomes: Reinforcing cover The cover distance from reinforcing to face of concrete. If the wall is over ten inches thick temperature reinforcing is required in each face unless in contact with soil (basement walls). in inchkips) For fc = 3.002 times the wall width times its total height). Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 49 .e. would be required.002 x the gross cross sectional area of the wall (i. But remember that more horizontal reinforcing decreases visibility of cracks.000 psi and}. But. for a given M.0033 forJv = 60.60. if the provided reinforcing is more than onethird greater than required by design.000 psi) Where p is the ratio As/bd For an 8" wall. Maximum reinforcing in concrete stems The maximum amount of reinforcing to ensure a ductile failure is 0. this is rarely the case. and fy is ksi. the above minimum can be waived.000 psi. the minimum cover is 3". and M. is given below (taken from the CRSI Handbook): 6. such as at the bottom of the footing.5".Horizontal temperature reinforcing is required to be at least .75 x p (rho) balanced: Max = 0.c. #5 bars at 17" O..c.5. and fy. required areas of reinforcing A handy formula for determining area of reinforcing. however. the total horizontal reinforcing should be at least equal to .019 foric = 3. f.
or B. Table 1704. To qualify as a Class A splice. where they are lapped with continuing bars of lesser size and/or increased spacing (because of a reduced moment higher up the wall). not the development length.3ed.15. and As required is more than onehalf As provided. Note that development length can be reduced by the stress level in the reinforcing. The usual case for retaining wall stems is Class B splices. respectively. and 1. plus 12 bar diameters.1. it is a Class B splice. See Table on page 44. Development length per se will rarely apply (except for footing heel and toe bar development extensions) but is used to determine lapped bar splice lengths. requiring 1. With the demise ofUBC this issue is now moot.4. See Appendix D for development and lap lengths.l and 1704.3. However. Laps and splices Where bars are spliced (lapped) the splices are classified as either Class A. The required lap lengths for each are.3 fd. less than onehalf the bars are spliced and As provided must be twice As required. Special inspection requirements for concrete and masonry Inspection requirements for concrete are in Inspection requirements for masonry are in mc 2009. Note that UBC '97 required a somewhat more stringent Special Inspection if full stresses were used. mc 2009. the dowels from the footing need only extend upward for the development strength of the bars. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 50 .5. If more than half the bars are spliced.5. and this requirement was waived if halfstresses were used.Development length of reinforcing The development length formula is given in Appendix B (Summary of Design Formulas).v. In these cases it is the lap length.4. Note that reduction in lap length for stress level is not permitted per ACI '08. 12. Table 1704. Lap lengths (discussed above) cannot be reduced by level of stress. in nearly all cases the dowels are stopped a certain distance above the footing. that must be met. Extension of dowels above footing For low walls.
Proportioning Pointers Here are a few points and guidelines to help you proportion the footing: • • • • • The width of the footing for most conditions will be approximately 2/3 of the retained height. Overturning moments are illustrated in Figure 91. This was discussed in Section 7. Tabulate SOIL BEARING AND STABILITY . If there is a property line on the toe side. Lateral pressure due to surcharges is a uniform load applied to the back of the wall. If there is a property line on the heel side. Seismic may also contribute to overturning. An example of such a table is shown on Design Example #1 in Chapter 24.e. and soil pressure.. Because it is a triangular load. If the backfill is sloped. This will put more soil weight on the heel to improve sliding and overturning existence. you can view an overturning/ resisting summary and check your computations. you will have a sliding problem requiring a key. its point of applications will be 113the retained height above the bottom of the footing. Wind pressures are computed in accordance with the applicable building code. is to set up a table showing each force and load element. try to keep its depth less than about onefourth the retained height. and generally range from 12 to 30 psf as was discussed earlier. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 51 . The primary force causing overturning is the lateral earth pressure against the wall.CANTILEVERED WALLS and Resisting Moments Overturning The easiest way to check stability. therefore its point of application is 1f2 the height and the moment arm is from that point down to the bottom of the footing. Otherwise. and not over about two feet. try to get at least some heel width for the additional soil weight. It is usually most advantageous to have more of the footing width on the heel side of the stem. Wind pressure on the stem projecting above the soil or on a fence sitting atop the wall can also cause overturning. the height used to compute overturning is at the plane ofthe back of the footing (i. the footing may need to be wider because soil pressures are usually greater at the toe. If you need a key for sliding resistance. sliding. With this. together with the its moment arm measured from the lower front (toe) edge of the footing. Moments Overturning Overturning moments are horizontally applied forces multiplied by the moment arm from the bottom of the footing to their point of application. where this plane intersects the ground surface).9.
a surcharge if applicable and any axial applied to the top of the wall. footing weight. The total resisting moment is the summation of these loads multiplied by the moment arm of each measured from the front edge of the footing.5 to 2. Overturning moments can be visualized as shown on Design Example #1. These forces include the stem weight.TI ~ Figure 91. and on Figure 92. a factor of 1. When seismic is included. Resisting Moments Overturning Momentsfor H' a Cantilevered Retaining Wall By convention. resisting moments are the sum of all vertical loads about the front edge (toe) of the footing. Resisting Moments Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 52 . 4 3 2 Pv <<Moment arms from toe Figure 92.1 is permitted by IBe 2009. The generally accepted factor of safety against overturning is 1. the weight of the soil behind the wall and over the footing.0. although some agencies require more.
which assumes the line of action is the friction angle against the stem face. results in a vertical component equal to P(sin 8). See Figure 93 (Vertical Component of Active Pressure). Determining Soil Bearing Pressure To determine overturning and resisting moments. This vertical component is also assumed to resist sliding.Vertical Component of Active Pressure From a Sloped Backfill In the case of a sloped backfill. When the wall starts to rotate there will be a frictional resistance along that plane tending to anchor the heel of the wall. Figure 93. this results in a vertical component of about 30% of the horizontal pressure. eccentricities and soil pressures. This is done as follows: First determine how far from the edge of the toe the resultant acts. which is assumed to act on a vertical plane at the back of the footing. Typically. by adding additional weight to the footing. If the backfill is level. taking into account property line or other conditions that may restrict the heel or toe distances. the Coulomb formula. M . divided by the total vertical load. this decision is left to the engineer. there is also a vertical component of the lateral pressure resultant. controversy over whether to use this vertical component for soil pressure calculations because its use significantly reduces soil bearing pressures. This is simply the total overturning moment. you need to tabulate these values as illustrated on Design Example #1.not sliding or to reduce soil bearing. After you have assumed a footing width. Most texts recommend using the vertical component only to resist overturning . However. however. restmg overtummg W Basics of Retaining Wall Design = Total vertical load Page 53 . minus the resisting moment. This vertical component acts to resist overturning. In other words: x=~~~ W M . See also Figure 61. you can determine the soil pressure by determining the eccentricity of the total vertical load with respect to the centerline of the footing width. Vertical Component of Active Pressure There is.
pressure distribution under the footing. in the Segmental Retaining Wall chapter. within the middle third) for the footing to be in theoretical contact with the soil for its full width. = . often referred to as the Meyerhof Method. and discussed.± 2d d W 6We verticalload d = Width of footing e = Eccentricity If the resultant is outside the middle third. This factor is the ratio of the total resisting moment to the total overturning moment. e= ftg width 2 x The eccentricity must be less than onesixth of the footing width (that is. then: Soil Pressure.2e. The uniform soil pressure is the total vertical load divided by an assumed width of d . rather than trapezoidal.. and usually varies from 1000 psf for poorer soil (or without a substantiating soil investigation) to 4000 psf for dense soil.75d 1. Meyerhof Method An alternate method for determining soil bearing is to assume a rectangular. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 54 . If this is the case. In this method. or: resisting F. With seismic. It is similar to Strength Design for concrete. M overturnmg .5.0. =  W O.1 is used. Some engineers and agencies require 2. Overturning Stability The generally accepted safety factor against overturning of the wall is 1.=~ M .5e The allowable soil bearing value is usually dictated by the engineer. the triangular pressure diagram shifts to the left and becomes triangular and the resultant moves outside the middlethird. where d is the footing width. assumes a uniform stress block on the toe side. This results in somewhat less toe bending (and easier to compute toe moments and shears!). because soil cannot sustain "tension" between the soil and footing. and e is the eccentricity of the total vertical load with respect to the footing centerline.Then the eccentricity is the difference between this distance and half the footing width.S. This method is used. If this condition is allowed. the soil pressures at toe and heel can be computed as shown in the following formula: Soil pressure W = Total . 1.
The coefficient of friction is usually determined by the engineer. Another theory. and the cohesion (adhesion) between the bottom of the footing and soil provides lateral resistance. is usually loosely placed. More commonly.70.5. a key can be used or the thickness of the footing increased. with some agencies requiring more. Passive pressure: Passive pressure is the resistance of the soil at the toe to lateral movement from the active force at the heel section. If this is applicable.45. (Justification: If the depth of soil on the toe side was the same depth as on the heel side. It generally ranges from about 200 pcf to about 350 pcf. the depth of soil above the toe is usually neglected in the determination of sliding resistance.Sliding Resistance The sum of all the horizontal forces pushing against the wall must be resisted to prevent a sliding failure.25 to up to 0. because the soil above the footing. A key is a deepening of a nearcentral part of the footing. the triangular passive pressure distribution extends to the bottom of the key. zero at the ground surface in front of the wall and maximum at the bottom of the footing or bottom of a key if applicable However. however. With a key. the report will give its value. It is considered a triangular distribution. resulting in a trapezoidal passive pressure distribution. the net driving force would be zero).5 safety factor against sliding. Footing Keys: If the frictional resistance to sliding plus the passive pressure resistance is not sufficient to give a 1. increases the passive resistance when a key is added by assuming an increased depth for computing passive resistance. Tests have shown that actual friction coefficients are closer to 0. resulting in considerably greater resistance. Keys usually vary from 12 to 18 inches wide and from 12 to 36 inches or more in depth. 100% friction. The Rankine or Coulomb formula can be used to compute the passive pressure if the angle of internal friction is know. less active pressure on the toe side. Cohesion resistance: With cohesive (silt and clay) soil. The net driving force causing a wall to slide is the active pressure on the heel side. its passive pressure is usually neglected. so that an additional depth of footing is available to further resist sliding by increasing the passive resistance. and varies from about 0. The latter pressure derives from the depth of soil in front of the wall. However. Both frictional resistance and passive pressure can be combined to provide resistance. 50% passive). thereby significantly increasing the passive resistance. The customary minimum safety factor against sliding is 1. reports often limit the percentage of each which can be used in combination (e.. The wedge of soil in front of the wall must be pushed upward and out of the way for failure to occur. and in front of the toe. the engineer provides this value. See also the above discussion of the Amrein method. Sliding is resisted by two components: Friction resistance: This is the resistance of the total vertical weight multiplied by the coefficient of friction between the base of the footing and the supporting soil. usually around 100 psf of contact surface. usually accomplished by trenching. suggested by Amrein.g. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 55 . friction resistance is not applicable. It is the reverse of active pressure. It assumes an additional depth below the footing equal to the average soil bearing pressure divided by the soil density.
of friction x total vert. If the ratio of depth to its width is less than about two.6 x 2080 x 12 = 39. load. the horizontal movement at the top of the wall. To compute the flexural stresses in the key. The horizontal movement at the top is the sum of the deflection of the stem and the rotation of the base of the footing because of soil pressure compression at the toe. and may be valid. 2 ilabl . Figure R. Tilt (lateral deflection) at top can be given by the formula ~top = ~soil H/W where ~soil is the compression of the soil based upon stress and soil modulus. Checking Stress in Key Deflection (Tilt) of Walls A cantilevered wall must rotate slightly at the top to mobilize the soil wedge assumed in the design (some texts say .000.000 pci to 2. fr= 12x(142)2 6 = =288 . The soil modulus can vary from 200. Assume K. tota I aVaI a e paSSIve = 2 243 X 1.0 = Allow. passive 240 pcf = 2. see the below.coef. the flexural of the cross section is sufficient.passive force toe side .000 pci. By knowing the toe soil pressure and the k value (modulus of sub grade reactionequivalent to modulus of elasticity). The front face of the wall can be battered Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 56 . and by geometry. H is the overall height. the settlement of the toe can be computed.005 times wall height).480) x 2' x I' 2 + 480x 2 x ( ~ x 2 = 2080'# J + "# Stem s= M. The deflection of the stem can also be computed by conventional means (using effective moment of inertia of the stem section). This value must be provided by engineer. reinforcing is usually not required.52 =2730 2 # Figure 94. Key 1.0 x 120 = 360 Mkey (1200 . say a depth greater than half the footing width. depending upon soil conditions.Here's a concern regarding using a very deep key. 240x5 In ab ove examp Ie.936 288 =139~5¢"fc = 39. and W is the width of the footing.4 2'(j' t: jEt' "6" Ftg.55 = J2000 122 psi N ote that passive force req'd [ ] = total active heel side . Bending of a key strength example stresses in the key because of passive pressure must be investigated.936 = 5 x . Is there then a "paddlewheel" effect whereby the passive pressure against the key adds to the overturning moment? It's been discussed. = = 2.
Slope stability analysis is similar to global stability but the latter includes super imposed "loads" on the slope plane. A rule of thumb might be a batter of 1/200th the height ofthe wall (e. An arbitrary center of rotation is assumed ("0" above) and the rotational force caused by the weight of the components within the soil mass are evaluated by taking their weights x distance from 0. Global Stability Global Stability is a term similar "slope stability". The engineer will determine whether this is an issue based upon analysis of the underlining soils where the proposed retaining walls will be constructed.in the illustration by summing the moments causing the mass to rotate and comparing this force with the unit resisting shear along the curved lower boundary a factor safety can be determined. whereby an entire soil mass under and encapsulating one or two tiered retaining walls slips in a rotational pattern because of poor shear resistance of a lower layer of soil. designated + or . This is a trial and error method to determine the most critical slip surface (circular) plane which is a function the shear value of the soil. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 57 . Slope stability analysis is a vast subject and numerous methods of analysis are in text books. J"sum11<l Centerof ~. I ~"i li"t"d Rot. 5/8" for a 10 foot wall).tion Figure 95 One method of analyzing global stability is illustrated in Figure 95.g.for appearance. If there is a potential for global stability failure they will recommend remedial measures such as deepening the footings or otherwise repositioning or reconfiguring the walls. With this type of failure the walls remain in tact but the soil mass slips and rotates as a bowl shaped mass.
See the Design Examples for procedure. and for the heel it is at the face of the wall.6. the dowels are considered hooked bars and the embedment required is determined by the following formulas (see ACI 31808. Some engineers believe all soil pressure should be factored by 1.6. 12. idh f)' or 8d~ min. Strength design requires the soil pressure to be factored to compute shears and moments. and pressure attributable to the weight of earth or other dead loads be factored by 1..10. Both the toe and the heel of the footing are subjected to bending and shear forces. These moments are the sum of the upward acting moments from the soil pressure and the downward moment of the weight of soil and footing. or in the case of masonry stems the toe moment critical section is at onequarter of the stem thickness in from the face.7 {A v f cAs 0. Note that by statics the toe or heel moment cannot exceed the stem moment so the latter may control. The critical section for bending for both toe and heel is at the face of the concrete stem.3 (d) which states that excess reinforcement can be credited except where " . Section 12. The critical section for maximum shear. That is. at the toe is at the "d" distance out from the face of the wall..5 . dJ provided or8db where db = bar diameter lhb= required hooked bar embedment Whether or not the embedment depth can be reduced by the stress level in the reinforcing depends upon the interpretation of ACI 31808.5): Ihb = fy =rr: ( 0.2. Hooked Bar Bend Requirements Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 58 . Basics of Footing Design FOOTING DESIGN Use the Strength Design (SD) Method to design retaining wall footings. Footing design based upon strength design requires factoring the upward soil pressure attributable to earth pressure by 1.anchorage or development is not specifically required .." Required dimensions and radii of hooked bars are shown on Figure 101 (Hooked Bar Bend Requirements) . 02d b or 6" sreqmre . Figure 101.. Embedment of Stem Reinforcing Into Footing It is important to extend the stem reinforcing into the footing.
because the "d" distance in the footing is greater than in the stem. but be sure to provide sufficient bending reinforcement at the face of the stem plus development length. the stem reinforcing dowels bend back toward the heel. Development Heel Reinforcing These bars at the top of the footing resist bending in the heel. If the toe distance is large. These bars are typically positioned 2 inches clear below the top of the footing. as stated above. shear is computed from a distance "d" from the face of the stem. Length Required? of Toe Reinforcing Figure 102. Stem Also check Heel Bar development beyond Stem Face 10. The allowable shear stress is 0. at the face of the stem for concrete. This required development length will be significantly less than that required for stem bars into the footing. The maximum moment occurs. These bars must extend a sufficient development length past the face of the stem. Max. Shear is computed from the face for both concrete and masonry. See Figure 112 below. such as a property line condition. Toe Reinforcing Reinforcing for the toe generally consists of the dowel bars bending outward toward the toe. Check the development length beyond the face of the stem for the toe bars. over four or five feet. In either case. and onefourth the stem thickness in for masonry stems.If there is a key directly under the stem wall. if it is required. alternate bars may be dropped as the moment decreases toward the toe. This will serve the dual purpose of providing key reinforcing. Minimum Footing Thickness Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 59 .55 (f'c)lI2. for concrete stems. the vertical stem reinforcing may extend down into the key at least the development length. and for masonry stems it is onefourth of the stem thickness in from the face. the critical section for moment is at the face of the stem. Moment ri113 Hooked Bar Embedment (Adequate?) Footing Dev. because the "hooked bar" development length may not be adequate. concrete or masonry stems. As stated above. Where there is not a toe.
Although reinforcing may not be theoretically required. plus cover of the reinforcing at the bottom.1. less than the footing thickness. Given a IS" thick footing and 3" cover. however.jf. Adequacy of flexural strength If the toe or heel distance required.0012 Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 60 .4. Horizontal Temperature and Shrinkage Reinforcing Stem horizontal temperature and shrinkage reinforcing was discussed in the section on Designing the Stem. stresses in unreinforced concrete the footing thickness used to calculate be reduced by two inches (A. reinforcing may not be flexural strength of the concrete may be adequate to resist the moments.0012 is suggested.8) to allow for possible cracks. this would require a #5 bar for each 18" of footing length.3) 18] = 0. where rp = 0. a minimum area ratio of 0. p = 0. the When computing flexural the section modulus must is small. Minimum Cover for Footing Reinforcing The required concrete cover over reinforcing bars at the bottom of the footing is three inches. it is wise to provide a "minimum" amount of reinforcing. 9.3.0014 > 0.60 See ACI '08.J 22. In this case. Usually.5 and 22.5.The minimum footing thickness is the sum of the required hooked bar embedment length. There is not a similar code requirement for footings.31 / [(15 . At the top of the footing it is two inches. A minimum of two horizontal bars (longitudinal) should be provided. The allowable flexural stress for plain concrete (Strength Design) is: fr = 5rp. its omission is at the discretion of the engineer considering the conditions.
the need for greater lateral (sliding) resistance. CAISSONS is a term often used interchangeably with Piers. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 61 . the designer should provide the total vertical load imposed by the retaining wall (weight of stem. including lateral design criteria. and are either driven precast concrete. Design Criteria Design criteria for piers and piles is usually provided by the engineer because IBC '09 Section 1803. surcharges. penetrate to better soil. PILES accomplish this by either driven (steel. and resist both the vertical and lateral loads imposed by the wall above.11 Piles. Conditions which would suggest using piles include poor or compressible underlying soil. or castinplace in drilled bores. driving and installation requirements. Small implies conventional diameters < 24". Chapter 18). or other sitespecific concerns. space limitations when a conventional footing may be too large. Concrete piles are usually the choice for retaining walls and abutments. Single rows of piers are relatively easy to install.5 requires a foundation investigation for deep foundations "unless sufficient data upon which to base the design and installation is available". footing. Some codes define a pier (as opposed to a pile or caisson) as having a depthtodiameter ratio less than 12. sitespecific precautions. or timber) to either bear on hard strata or develop sufficient skinfriction through the depth of penetration. aligned under a retaining wall. If a masonry retaining wall has spaced pilasters. concrete. and Caissons PIER AND PILE FOUNDATIONS Each of these foundations performs essentially the same function: to penetrate soil to a depth sufficient to achieve greater load bearing capacity than would be provided by a spread footing. and. as opposed to large diameter piers that might be needed for overturning or high retaining walls. minimum pile spacing. Singlerow drilled castinplace piers. Caissons are usually large diameter piers. This investigation generally includes: recommended type of piles or piers suitable for the site. and any additional axial loads ) and the total base shear (sliding force imposed by the retaining wall). Their supporting capacity is achieved by a combination oflateral surface friction and end bearing. Neither type is often used for retaining walls. but can have narrow shafts with a flared (bell) bottom for greater bearing area. When to Use Piles or Piers? The recommendation to use piles or piers to support a retaining wall will usually come from the engineer. testing requirements. The staggering provides for greater overturning resistance using small diameter piers.5. are probably more commonly used. and related recommendations. allowable capacity curves for the various alternates. soil. the pilasters can be cantilevered up from an embedded pier (Pilaster Masonry Wall. or both. Using the recommendations of the foundation investigation report the designer can then select the proper size and penetration of the pier or pile. This is achieved either by end bearing or frictional resistance along the lateral area of the shaft. With higher walls a double row of staggered piers is common practice. PIERS is a term used to describe a relatively short castinplace concrete shaft foundation. Piers. To aid the engineer.
Vbase 4. Where multiple piles are used the code requires interconnected lateral restraint at their tops. Pile Design Example: For this example assume the same vertical load and horizontal force as Design Example #1: Use two rows of piles.024 # Vert. which also serves as the pile cap. Sliding stability is an essential consideration for any retaining wall.54 ft. However.253 # = pver! = 8. Reduce footing width to 7 ft.397 '# .) = 1. or the lateral force can be resisted by bending in vertically aligned piles. passive pressure that can be included. the report should provide criteria for designing or checking the piles for bending. centered under footing.L.012 # Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 62 . of piles to specific pile (= 2).and provide the appropriate specifications.g. load per pile . It is important that the owner retain the engineer to observe the aspects of the installation for conformance with the recommendations of the report. Generally. In the latter case.272 + 52. referencing the foundation investigation report. P = P =  LV ±  LMd Ld2 72.54 = 52. and what lateral deflection under seismic conditions will be tolerable.034 # e (eccentricity from C.024 /2= 17. and increase thickness to 24". P = 72.. and.232 # Convert to 8 ft tributary length: Vbase= 34. space 4 ft. = n n = number of piles (= 2). . Combining lateral pile bending with battered pile resistance is not recommended . Consider possible site clearance problems and consult the installing subcontractor for suitability of your design when using battered piles.024 x 1. such as the depth to contra flexure (maximum moment). ftg. on center longitudinally. apart.397x2 _ = 2 4 62 . a batter exceeding 4: 1 should be avoided. therefore footing weight about the same. V to each pile = 34. Pile Design The design requirements for piles are covered in !BC '09 Sections 1808 through 1812.335# max. d = distance from c. M = 34. for retaining walls this is achieved by the footing. 8 ft. To resist a lateral force piles may be either battered such that they resist the axial component of the lateral force. say.use one or the other.
and reinforcing for bending per criteria in geotechnical report. Piers are usually spaced from six to twelve feet on center and diameters vary from a minimum required 24" to 36" or more. use one battered pile on outer row. If loads or moments are excessive. and permissible lateral (passive) bearing values. Creep is another factor the investigation may require. Chapter 21.584 # Assume batter = 1:3 :. or where space is not available for conventional foundations.864 + 62. Pier Foundations These are most commonly drilled bores. aligned in a single row under the footing (which serves as a pile cap). such as 1. skin friction if allowed. Figure 121 The report will give recommendations and design values for end bearing values. and castinplace concrete after the reinforcing is placed. Determine required length (penetration) of pile for 62.Determine moment.335 = 98. Axial load into pile from shear = 34. reduce pile spacing or use an additional longitudinal row.335 # per curves in geotechnical report.024 x (32 + 12)112 = 35.199 # Determine total penetration required for this total axial load. The engineer may allow an increased lateral area for passive resistance. The consultant may recommend piers where upper soil is weak. pile size. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 63 . Spacing and diameter depend upon design requirements for sustaining both vertical and lateral loads. If impractical to resist by bending. V = 33. See discussion under Soldier Pile Walls.864 # Total axial load in pile = 35.5 times the pier diameter. which is input as an added lateral force over a given depth of the pier.
and shear V g are applied. fixity is often assumed to be onethird the depth of the pier below the ground surface. it could be assumed that P could be substituted for Vg and hi could be equivalent to MglVg in the above formula. V sual practice is to increase "d" by 15 to 20%.2S(Mg I S3 b)]'/2 Applied moment at ground surface Same as SI above.3. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 64 . note that "b" can be increased by a factor up to 2 to get the "effective diameter" consult the engineer. The depth required is a function of the pier diameter. The solution of this equation requires iteration to determine "d". such as from a retaining wall with a triangular lateral load. and the applied moment and lateral shear. based upon a depth of onethird the depth of embedment. Distance in feet from ground surface to applied load Applied lateral force S. Section 1810. Where a moment. Depth of embedment required. This value is usually given in the report. With this determination the maximum design moment is obtained.Specific design requirements are covered in IBC '09. assume a value for "d". S3 = = [4. and practice have commonly reduced this to onesixth the depth. allowable passive pressures. the next design task is to design the pier for lateral bending. that is F IS = 1. finiteelement/spring analysis. When the diameter and depth have been determined. but not over 12 feet for use in the computation of S. that is.1) is: d A b d h P = O. the formula per (BC'09. or to apply a factor of safety to the lateral pressure or to the passive pressure provided by the engineer.3. and solve the equation for "d" iterate until dassumed dcalculated. However. Chapter 24. The embedment depth will vary depending upon whether the pier is laterally restrained at the top or unrestrained.3. Also. An important design consideration is the depth required such that passive pressures are not exceeded.2.SA [1 + [1 + (4. If there is lateral restraint at the ground surface.2. For a design example see Design Example 12.2.34P/Slb Diameter of round footing or diagonal dimension of square footing. except the allowable lateral passive pressure per lBC '09 Table 1806. observation tests. This solution also requires iteration for "d". in psf.2. = usually three cycles.36h/A)]1/2] 2. An alternative to a rigorous analysis for point of contra flexure (maximum moment and zero shear). It is important to note that this equation is an equilibrium statement. Mg. 1807. For the condition where there is not any lateral restraint at the ground surface (such as a slab). 1807. Allowable lateral passive pressure per IBC '09. the formula per lBC 1807.2: d M. compute S.
assuming applied moment is increased by point of fixity being 116depth of pier below footing cap (assuming no lateral restraint at surface.S5 x 3000 x 29. but also the depth of the traditional Whitney stress block changes with the depth of the circular segment.#8 bars. then the "d" distance for design is assumed to be 0.90 x 8 x Y:. clearance = 3". The reinforcing is assumed to be onehalf on each face.8 times the diameter.5") = 2.52 12)] = 3198 inkips Compare this allowable moment with applied moment. x 0. x 0. Whitney equivalent rectangular width = 707 / (0.67 times the circular diameter. fy = 60.000.52" <DMn = 0.Whitney Approximation Method Whitney equivalent "d" Use ACI equations: a = 2/3 (30") = 20" = ' As/y . thus vastly simplifying the calculations and reportedly with close agreement with a rigorous analysis. 8 .90 AJy ( d . Allow shear.80 times the diameter of the circular column..55 x 2 x (3000)1/2 x 707 sq in = 42.67<1 a. If compressionside reinforcing is neglected. because not only are the bars at varying "d" distances.6 kips Page 65 . if applicable). (conservative and easier computation).Calculating the moment capacity of a round column with bars in a spiral reinforcing configuration is highly complex. Design Example using Whitney approximation method to determine Mn Assume 30" diameter.000 [ 20 . Help for this difficulty came from an ASCE Transactions paper published in 1942 by Charles Whitney. <D = 0.80 x 30) = 29. ( Gross area of circular column = 1[ = 3000 psi. This is illustrated in Figure 122.85/cb = (S x Y:. <DVn = 0.er Whitney Equivalent Figure 122 . The width is assumed to be equal to the gross circular column area divided by 0. in.(2. assume an equivalent rectangular section with total depth equal to 0. In the Whitney approximation method. In it he devised an equivalent rectangular section.000) I (0.8D Circular Pi.55 x 2 x (fc')112 Basics of Retaining Wall Design X Ag = 0.~) = 0.79 x 60. with the separating distance equal to 2/3 the diameter of the circular configuration.90 302 / 4 = 707 sq.5" Cover d D 0.79 x 60.
Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 66 . But check if considered significant.1 that allows a "threshold torsion" value below which no torsion reinforcing is not required. For example. additional torsion reinforcing is required per ACI 11.Axial stress can generally be ignored because it usually is less than 10% of the allowable axial stress. versus an allowable of 0. Between piers the footing will be subjected to torsion. Refer to. Shear is generally not a problem considering the typical footing width (for lateral force) and wall above for vertical shear.5. If this is exceeded. This equation is: <D (f c)1/2 ( A 2 cpI Pcp) where Acpis the footing area and Pcp is its perimeter.000 psf end bearing pressure results in only 56 psi. ACI 31808.6. an 8. Section 11.25 x 3000 = 750 psi.
Design the heel as a longitudinal beam between counterforts. and soil pressures. and other Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 67 . 1975) suggests (modified): M = 0. Therefore. such as property line locations.03 K. and for stability calculations design as if the wall is a continuous cantilevered wall. 5. then drop or delete alternate bars. and supported (fixed) at each end where it crosses the counterforts. Check the final design for stability. Determine the footing width required and soil bearing at both the toe and heel because you will need these dimensions to establish the counterfort dimensions. 2. Design the wall as described below as a twoway slab. sliding. and is often onehalf to twothirds the wall height. overturning. The decision to use either a buttress or counterfort depends up site restraints. and aesthetics. These were prepared for the Water Resources Division of the Bureau of Reclamation. fixed at the base. 4. One text (Foundation Engineering Handbook. The two are different. within the retained earth. fixed at the bottom to the footing. Design Overview The design of a counterfort wall can be somewhat complex because the number of components which must be designed differently than for a conventional cantilevered wall. usually onehalf to threequarters of the retained height. An assumption for vertical moment must be made based on the magnitude of the negative cantilever moment from the footing. After establishing the retained height. Design the counterfort. It will be a tapered tension member. It is suggested that this negative moment reinforcing (placed on the earth side. select a spacing for the counterforts. Design the toe as a cantilever from the wall. Designing the wall The wall is a twoway slab. See Appendix J for tables showing moments and reactions for twoway slabs with varying end conditions. The steps in the design of a reinforced concrete counterfort wall are as follows (each step will be discussed later): 1. You can add an estimated weight of the counterforts prorated as a uniform longitudinal axial load. 3. or larger for surcharges or sloped backfill. The width of the footing will usually be about twothirds the wall height. A counterfort wall has a stiffening element on the inside of the wall. y H3 which is roughly equivalent to the fixedend moment with a triangular loading with fixed bottom and laterally supported at top. an approximation could be made to design the cantilevered base as 1/6 the moment of a pure fullheight cantilever. span ratios.12 Description COUNTERFORT RETAINING WALLS A "counterfort" wall should not be confused with a "buttressed" wall. WinterkornlFang. of course) be extended up to about onequarter of the height of the wall. Proportioning The spacing between counterforts for economical design should not exceed the height of the wall. Included are tables (they may be difficult to read) for various end conditions. A buttress wall has its stiffening element on the outside exposed side of the wall. 6.
Using these would give more accurate values. If the moment is not large it may be prudent to place all reinforcing at middepth of the heel. however. the pressure reduces nearer the top. The heel dimension will be determined by stability calculations of the counterfort (overturning. hence less reinforcing will be needed.000 psi.000 psi. The base moment and shear can be determined. and L» 60. similar to a conventional noncounterfort wall.or slightly below the top of the wall for aesthetics . Perhaps check the design at the top of the dowels then use that reinforcing thereon. Designing such horizontal reinforcing for a lateral pressure at onehalf the wall height would seem prudent. Theoretically.to near or at the edge of the footing heel. Designing the counterfort (or buttress) The counterforts are generally tapered. When the moment (Mu) and "d" (effective depth) distance have been determined. in inchkips) For fc= 3. There will be some continuity across counterforts. therefore it is suggested the horizontal reinforcing be placed in the center of the wall. Use your judgment to detail the reinforcing because the need for negative vertical reinforcing diminishes near the counterforts. and M. but it is probably practical to use the same horizontal reinforcing full height. fc and fy is ksi. flaring from the top . as does horizontal reinforcing near the wall bottom. the simplified procedures described herein should be adequate for most cases. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 68 . Designing the toe The toe is designed as a cantilever from the wall.variables. Counterforts are usually 12 inches thick. and the dowels in the stem bend outward toward the edge of the toe. therefore at that height the moment should be recalculated and a lesser amount of reinforcing provided that would continue to the top. Dowels from the footing should extend into the counterfort about three feet.8fcbMu <p (fy )2 (b and d in inches. and the upward soil pressure. the following CRSI equation can be used to determine reinforcing required: 6. The counterfort can be considered to be a vertical tapered beam with tension on the earth side. This beam can be designed as a continuous beam (w L2 / 12) with top reinforcing between counterforts and bottom reinforcing under counterforts. the moment and shear lessen higher up the counterfort. this formula becomes: Designing the heel The heel can be designed as a longitudinal beam spanning between counterforts. and sliding). soil pressure. and because the counterfort tapers. Its applied lateral load from the retained soil will be a triangular distribution based upon the tributary area between the counterforts. with the appropriate uniform load being the net difference between the downward weight of the soil and concrete in the heel.
Stability Overturning and sliding calculations assume the wall and counterforts act as an integral unit... _ ~ p h= .l3Ure ._. is nonzontal Comj)1ression battress or b'mce Figure 122 . over heIRel :.:.e Of __ Ht F r H(..<HZ0l1toloompOIl6ot crt Fg Pm. Include the weight of the counterforts. Stem W"'i'9!1~ fc(. The overturning and resisting moments are then computed to determine safety factors and soil bearing pressures.'lf~5W!re {lJ$ing n>tlJVk~n. f'""' F.fl)cting S6t...o.nGe Fdt:trClt'lte<~i:!$to'tJ<::::1i& or EfPi cnl'l"".11H Cowatetlort weight/!lpoacinq oY&r tOB. W1 W W3 '!! P IN "N."". as if it is a conventional continuous cantilever wall..tq.r. (l 'j= 4 Add f:sumnBlfJ$B 5#. as shown below: Principal wall reinfOrc.Force Components Alternatively.. CowlOmb rur if apphc{ltJie _kh>re Jot. a counterfort wall may be constructed of masonry. See Figure 121 for forces acting._ _ ..:.~~~ =.l on fjlopecl bllct:...Qn) Figure 121 ."''''' pre1.ing.:r(J~ f.CMU Counterfort Wall Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 69 .
However. reinforcing is placed. Connections must also be made for joints between panels. and because a casting bed is required. The temporary setting blocks at each end of a panel. Tiltup yard walls. The primary advantage of the use of tiltup concrete is speed of construction and the elimination of expensive formwork necessary for castinplace walls. Dowels project from the bottom of the panels into the footing excavation to provide a moment connection when concrete is placed.it's usually reasonable to allow double the allowable bearing pressure for shortterm bearing. To save casting area. a bondbreaker is sprayed on the bed to prevent bonding of the wet concrete to the bed. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 70 . panels can be stacked on top of each other. This method is particularly advantageous for long walls. Reinforcing at Center Seltin!) SIOCK toch tnt! of Panel Figure 131. up to five or six high as desired.TiltUp Freestanding Design procedure Panel Design of the wall and foundation are the same as a castinplace wall. trash area enclosures. separated by a bond breaker.13. a trench for the foundation is first excavated and the panels set on temporary concrete setting blocks and the panel is temporarily braced. Description CANTILEVERED TILTUP WALLS Tiltup concrete construction is a growing segment of the concrete industry and now accounts for over 50% of all lowrise commercial buildings and about 90% of industrial and warehouse buildings. edge forms are set. provision must be made for stacking panels on the site. Unique to using tiltup panels. Check the soil bearing pressure under the setting pads for the panel weight . remain in place and integral with the footing as shown in Figure 131. dock walls. and the concrete for the wall is placed. Construction sequence After preparing a 3" .4" thick concrete casting slab (later wasted). Just remember when detailing the individual panels to show the dowels projecting the proper distance out of the bottom of the each panel. because a crane is necessary for erection. and retaining walls are now commonplace and the use of this technique can be advantageous for retaining walls in general.
org. Their web site is www. Depending on the application. Erecting the panels This type of wall is relatively low (as opposed to tiltup panels for a building) so that the panels can be "end picked". Resources A Chapter standard reference for tiltup design and construction is The TiltUp Design & Construction Manual. They will check for tensile stress in the panel when it first lifts free (when it is a simplespan beam with bottom resting on casting slab and top supported by lifting hardware). near each end. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 71 .tiltup. caries it to its final position and lowers it onto the setting pads. depth. with the panel hanging plumb. the design for lifting can also be done by the design engineer. Design for lifting stresses and inserts is usually done by a lifting hardware provider. The crane then lifts (tilts) the panel free from the casting surface and. published by the TiltUp Concrete Association (TCA).A lowslump concrete mix should be specified for the footing to ensure minimum vertical shrinkage which could leave a gap under the wall. meaning inserts are cast into the top edge of the walls. The vertical reinforcing is best placed in the center of the panel of freestanding walls because these walls are subjected to walls subjected to wind and seismic forces which can occur from either direction. to which the lifting cables are attached. If these concerns are understood. it might be prudent to leave a one inch gap under the panel (cast the concrete short of the wall) for drypacking a few days after the foundation has been placed. and reinforcing as for a conventional cantilevered wall. Freestanding walls Tiltup can also be advantageous for freestanding walls provided the length of walls justifies the use of a crane for erection. Foundation design Design the foundation width.
Some of the many types of gravity retaining walls were described in Chapter 2. 6. Design procedure The design of a gravity retaining wall of concrete or bonded (mortar/grout) stone involves six basic steps: 1. 5.40. Determine the lateral soil pressure and its line of action. Verify that little or no flexural tension exists in the wall. do not require a building permit per IBC '09. as opposed to a cantilevered retaining wall fixed to a foundation.2(4). 4. batter of the wall. Check at several locations by calculating the section modulus of the wall and lateral moment at each selected height. 2. Overview GRAVITY WALLS Gravity walls depend upon bulk weight for stability. If the backfill is sloped.the design is intuitive to the astute builder. If soil is clay. cohesion would control. resisting moment (per above). The design of the more common types of gravity walls composed of rubble. Based upon (1) compute the resisting moment about the front edge of the base. Note that retaining walls not over four feet from bottom of footing to retained height. and the soil friction angle at the wall interface. crib walls. 3. Gabion walls. The line of action for the resultant lateral force is assumed to be the wall friction angle plus the inclination angle of the wall batter. Calculate the dead weight of the wall. which is assumed to act vertically at the back edge of the wall footing. including all components and any superimposed surcharge or axial load. Alternatively use the Rankine formula with the force diagram in Figure 141(a). Check stability by computing overturning moment. and do not require engineering per se . 105. and determine factor of safety (1. Most gravity retaining walls are relatively low. Check sliding. Coefficient of friction is generally 0. stones.25 to 0. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 72 . and mass concrete is discussed in this chapter. you can use a vertical component of the active pressure. and largeblock gravity walls are discussed in Chapter 15. plus tributary earth weight over the base.14. The Coulomb Formula (see Chapter 4) should be used because it includes backfill slope.5 minimum). such as used in landscaping. and if without a surcharge.
Chapter 24.Figure 141. Force Diagram for Concrete Gravity Wall For concrete gravity walls some reinforcing is advisable for crack control. ACI requires O. For example calculations for a gravity retaining wall see Design Example 9.002AgIoSS minimum horizontal reinforcing for walls. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 73 .
BLOCK WALLS Gabion walls consist of steel wire baskets filled with rock and stacked as units to form gravity retaining walls. A safety factor of 1. Resisting moments are taken about the front lower comer of the first row and overturning moments are applied to the back face using the Coulomb method for calculating Ka For forces acting on a Gabion wall see Figure 151. Similar wire basket walls have been used since ancient times and the word "gabion" does not refer to an inventor but rather to Italian and Latin words meaning "cage". generally. 2. and assembled into the retaining walls. Figure 151. Similar in concept. Density of the Gabion units is usually taken as 120 pcfbecause soil and vegetation can penetrate the rock intercises and weight can be affected by gradation of the infill. they are manufactured. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 74 . Descriptions GABION AND MULTIWYTHE LARGE. tied together. For aesthetics. can be laid one or more blocks deep (wythes) and stacked to retain soil to 12 feet or more. if the front face is flush.15.5 for overturning is considered adequate. They are designed or analyzed in the same manner as gravity walls. Design Methodology Since the units are wired together and due to their mass they are considered one cohesive mass for design purposes. Perpendicular to the plane of the wall the wythes can be 1. Since mesh openings are generally 3 inches square the rock infill should be 3 inch to 8 inch clean hard stone. it is usually tilted into the soil 6°. Today. 3 or more units deep and can be stacked in successive courses to a height usually not more than about 15 feet. precast large concrete blocks. in three foot by three foot by three foot steel wire panel sides which at the job site are unfolded to form the cages. If the infill is well graded it increases density (weight). which are commercially available from a number of vendors and concrete plants. They are filled with rock. They can be laid with the front exposed side flush or with successive blocks stepped back. Forces Acting on Gabion Wall Lateral pressures are computed by the Coulomb method shown in Figure 152 below.
between soil and wall (usually assumed to be 2/3<1> to 1/2/<1» Figure 152. M.Eccentricity.1. Hence the horizontal component of Pais cos [(8 ± (soilwall interface angle. and since there can be not tension at footing soil interface.(assumed soil/wall interface angle per figure 151). W = Base width. Foundation Pressures Gabion walls generally do not have a concrete footing but rather are set on a firm level base.5*e) Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 75 . To compute soil bearing value from knowing the resisting moment and overturning moment the following equation can used for determining eccentricity from the center of the mass.5.8) sin (a +~) <I> ~ = Angle of backfill = Angle of internal a = 90° + (tilt angle) 8 = Angle of friction slope friction . This eccentricity should be within the middle third of the base width. Overturning moment resistance is simply the weight of each course multiplied by the distance from the front reference point edge to its center of gravity on a per foot of wall basis. where H is the vertical retained height adjusted for inclination if applicable. V = Vert.75*W . = Resisting moment.(soilwall interface angle as shown in Figure 161). then the soil bearing pressure is: Soil Bearing = V / W ± 6*V*e / W2 If resultant is outside the middle third. This value should be at least 1. load Resultant is within the middle third of the footing if e :S W/6. Ka= ~~~~~sin 2 asin(a8) sin2 (a + .Sliding resistance is the ratio of total weight of the wall divided by the total lateral thrust. Coulomb equation When the Coulumb equation is used to compute lateral pressure.I. From this the soil bearing value is (assuming resultant within the middle third): e . = Overturning moment. depending upon back face inclination)] .) [sin(<p+8)Sin(<p~)]2 1+ sin (a . often gravel. The total lateral force. M. the soil bearing becomes: Soil Bearing = V / (0. Pa= Ka * Y * H2. the a angle to insert is 90° + (positive tilt angle) . Successive stack courses are added and accumulated to obtain a total overturning resisting moment.
5 or 2. usually the range of 0. Note that although this section deals with "Gabion" walls the same methodology may be used for precast concrete blocks stacked in nearly any configuration. this concept and the design procedures are discussed in the next chapter on segmental walls.Sliding Sliding on the base must also be checked.25 to 0. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 76 . Gabion Walls Using Mechanically Stabilized Earth Although gabion and large block walls can be stacked to accommodate considerable retained heights.html. The best source of information is from vendor literature.if applicable . For example: http://www. conditions may wanant increasing their capability by using horizontal layers of geogrids. Termed mechanically stabilized earth (MSE). where I.0) = V * I. embedded between block layers and extending back into the soil to achieve an integral soil mass. References Few textbooks discuss gab ion walls.net/technical. Sliding safety factor (usually 1.l is the coefficient of friction at the basesoil interface. or similar mats.l I Pa(horiz).is similar to the discussion for segmental walls in the next chapter.gabions.45. Seismic Design Seismic design .
Retained heights of 40 feet or more can be achieved (using geogrids) far exceeding economical limits of conventional masonry or concrete retaining walls. providing tiered grade changes for residential developments. This stability problem limits the height to four or five feet.to as much as over 15 degrees from vertical. a segmental wall is not an option. to control the offsets as successive blocks are placed. 200 million square feet are constructed annually. such as pins between units. For example. Segmental walls are oftwo types: pure gravity walls. where stability depends solely upon the resisting moment of the stacked blocks to exceed the overturning moment of the lateral soil pressure. To be effective. and extending behind the wall and beyond the failure plane a distance sufficient for anchorage. weighing two tons or more and placed by small cranes. sizes. textures. or grouting. and other applications. a footing is not needed (just a gravel setting pad) and the units are drystacked without mortar. Segmental Blocks Segmental Blocks are concrete blocks with compressive strength of 3. The block width for the most commonly used blocks is 18 inches. color. This results in a mass of reinforced soil (also termed Mechanically Stabilized Earth. they are manufactured per proprietary designs at licensed local plants. These do. The length of the reinforced zone is usually a minimum of 60% to 70% of the wall height. If space is unavailable. The blocks vary in size. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 77 . Their design can be quite complex.000 psi or greater. Blocks with dimensions smaller than these are available for nonengineered landscape applications for retaining heights of 3' or less. but varies with design requirements. composed of drystacked masonry blocks are effective and economical and have gained wide acceptance. each layer must be properly connected to the block facing by engaging the geogrid within block joints. however. from a variety of vendors. For higher walls. this requires an available space behind the wall of approximately 70% of the wall height within which to place the geogrid layers. Advantages include relatively fast construction. For many engineers. All of these blocks weigh between 30 and 110 lbs each. and configurations. and. Reportedly. particularly for higher walls using geogrids. although some vendors offer larger blocks enabling greater retained heights. Description SEGMENTAL RETAINING WALLS (SRWs) Segmental retaining walls (SRWs). To control batter most segmental blocks have offset lips or other means.to three blocks. These are seen everywhere: leaning against hillsides alongside highways. The blocks are designed to allow construction of walls with vertical batter .angle of the wall face to the vertical . The designer has a choice of block sizes. if a segmental retaining wall requires geogrids for stability. and configurations. designing segmental retaining walls is a niche market. behind shopping centers. The vertical separation between geogrid layers is usually two. reinforcing. Consultation with a selected block vendor is recommended and many offer design software. have these limitations. with the most commonly used blocks being 8inch high with depths varying from 10" to 24". in the US. MSE) which can be used en masse to improve resistance to overturning and sliding.16. The angle of offset from vertical is termed batter. the more common type of segmental walls use layers of geogrids placed in the backfill for soil reinforcement as the wall is constructed. So called "big blocks" are also available from some vendors. The blocks come in many choices of texture.
The design procedure follows these steps: Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 78 .Segmental Block Examples GRA VITY WALL DESIGN For stability. segmental gravity walls depend only on their resisting moment exceeding the overturning moment by a factor of safety of at least. Figure 161 . Best source: a Google search for "segmental retaining walls".Angle of wall batter = tan" [(offset per block) / (block height)] Most blocks have interior voids which can be infilled with backfill material. Weight per square foot of wall surface is often assumed to be based upon 130 pcf for both block weight and infill.Forces on Gravity SRW Walls This limits the height of gravity walls to about 45feet. All vendors have web sites for more information and technical data. polter tv t H Figure 162 . depending upon the batter of the wall and depth of block used.5. 1.
The equation for this is: Hinge height Don't' = (block depth) / [(tan (batter angle)] stack higher than this or the wall will overturn! Determine soil properties: density and phi angles for both internal (backfill soil) and external (insitu. Check Lateral Soil Pressures Calculate coefficient of active pressure. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 79 . for which the phi angle is about 34°.) K. size. and if seismic design is required (see below for seismic design). or natural) soil. The shear resistance will be the weight of block above which compresses this joint ("N" value) inserted into the vendor's tested shear resistance equation. The friction angle is usually assumed to be 2/3 phi (backfill soil). of backfill slope ~ = Angle of internal friction a = Wall slope angle from horizontal (90 + batter angle from vertical) 8 Angle of friction between soil and wall (usually assumed to be 2/3~ to 1/2/~) 0 B = Angle = Check InterBlock Shear The shear at any depth "z" = Kjhoriz) [y Z2 0. little or no fines. Wall height is considered the full retaining height. which is the height to which blocks can be stacked. per Unified Soil Classification System ~ see Appendix A). gravelsand mixtures. Kah (horizontal component!). Ideally it would be USCS Group GW (wellgraded gravels. including the embedment. This is often dependent upon proximity to distributors. before tipping over.( a 0 5:)[1 + K. backfill slope if applicable. Backfill should be a wellgraded granular soil. The batter angle is determined by the blocktoblock offsets and is equal to tanI [(offset per block) / (block height)].Select the block vendor for texture. Determine surcharges if applicable. and configuration desired.8) sin (a + 13) = coso ·2 a Sin . (horiz. Check "hinge height".50 + (0 + L) z] where y = backfill soil density and 0 and/or L = Dead load or Live load. Embedment depth is usually one block course or one foot.h) Sin(<!>+8)Sin(<!>I3)]2 sin (a . Use the Coulomb equation because it accounts for the friction angle at soilwall interface and the batter angle. Determine the retained height required and embedment depth below grade. with offsets. The Coulomb Equation Ka= ~~~~~ Sin sin2 (a + . The maximum interface shear will be at the lowest joint.
The total vertical force is assumed to be distributed uniformly over an effective base width. d Be = effective bearing width.5].[[(resisting moment) . Check soil bearing pressure For SRW walls the MeyerhofMethod is used to determine bearing pressure.17 + (D + L) Z2 0. 0) batter angle. ft. where B is the total bearing width. and cDe is the friction angle of the base (insitu) soil. as opposed to a triangular distribution. or the friction between the setting pad and insitu soil below. + 0.5 N (t + H Z3 0. adjust accordingly.5. Check overturning Overturning moment at any depth "z" = Ka(horiz) [y The resisting moment = 0. N is the weight above. where N = weight of block stack. The effective base width is less than the full width by a distance equal to twice the eccentricity of the imposed load on the full footing width (easily verified with a diagram). e = [(base width) / 2] .0 per NCMA. This assumes a rectangular pressure distribution under the footing. The overturning ratio (resisting moment / overturning moment) should be at least 2. t = depth of blocks.(overturning moment)] / (total vertical load)].2e.5 y Be N.often assumed to be 40°. (see above for methodology) Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 80 . ft. (an additional term to include cohesion is omitted because cohesion is = usually assumed zero) y = = density of underlying (insitu) soil depth of embedment of bottom block. This is the resistance offered by the coefficient of friction between lowest block and the gravel setting pad. where R is the resistance available. = wall H = height of wall. The safety factor against sliding should be at least 1. Ultimate soil baring capacity can be calculated using the classical Terzahi equation: Qultimate Yd N. = Be = effective bearing width Soil bearing capacity B . If more than one wythe. This is generally given by the formula R = N tan cDe.Check Sliding The total sliding force is the shear at the base of the wall. * tan 0)).
( "') a + o+ u [1 + 0 sin (¢ + 5) sin (¢ .2 asm . = backfill slope. and 8 = wall friction angle.0 56. a = wall slope to horiz.5 + (KAE . Fifth Edition.6 H and the dead load and wall inertial forces at H /2. generally for walls up to 6' height. and the latter uses the kb factor applied to the wall mass.fJ) <P ]2 Where e = tan1 Kh. The former is computed using the modified Coulomb formula below. (90 for a vertical face).3 31 32 33 34 35 36 20. KAE = active earth pressure coefficient. = angle of internal friction.Ka) D H + k. ~ Added seismic force = (KAE . two components must be considered: seismic force from earth pressure and seismic force from wall inertia.KA) For additional overturning due to seismic the earth component is assumed to act at 0. For their equations refer to Bowles' Foundation Design & Analysis. D = dead load surcharge if applicable.(}'fJ) sin (a + 5 + (}') sin (a . w = weight of wall psf. However. and N.¢' ) cos {} sm ' .3 37.2 26. w H The latter term is the inertial weight of the wall. The horizontal component is KAE cos 8. if seismic is required.1 29. and in some cases up to 12' height.Gravity Walls Seismic design for segmental gravity walls would rarely be required because of the relatively low height and exemption from most codes. are nondimensional coefficients per table below for usual range of soil friction angles. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 81 .0 30. H = height of wall.8 Seismic design . Depending upon the location and local building codes. static + seismic sin 2 (a + {} . <Pi ~q Ny 26. seismic design may not be required.63 23.1 48. The seismic component is usually designated as ilKAE (= KAE . This reference also gives similar equations by Meyerhof and Hanson.Ka) Y H2 0.N. page 220.2 41.2 35.4 33.
In high seismic areas this results in a seismic force for which most gravity walls could not resist. MSE) which acts in enmasse to resist overturning and sliding. the safety factor for sliding and overturning can be reduced to 1. but usually a minimum of 60% of the height of the wall. Newport Beach. The specified geogrid is delivered to the job site in rolls.29! See Design Example #12 which shows the effect of using just kh = 0. which equates to a kh ofO. and are cut to lengths required by design. Forces acting on a segmental wall with geogrids is shown in Figure 163. BUT NOTE THAT THE 3RD EDITION OF NCMA's DESIGN MANUAL ALLOWS A RECTANGULAR SEISMIC FORCE DIAGRAM RATHER THAN TRAPEZOIDAL AS SHOW ON THE FIGURE. GEOGRID WALL DESIGN The soil retaining height of a segmental wall can be increased by placing successive layers of woven synthetic sheets (geogrids) in the backfill as it is being placed.58. and are of the proper length for embedment beyond the wedge rupture plane.15. Care must be taken that the geogrids are not damaged and properly engage the joint between facing blocks.The value of k. The geogrid is then cut to the design lengths. For example. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 82 . Backfill material should be well graded sandgravel mix (preferable types GW or SW) compacted to 90% as it is being placed in layers. with the higher strength along the rolled axis (perpendicular to the spool).05! If seismic forces are included.SRW with Geogrids Construction sequence Construction begins with an excavation behind the wall extending a distance determined by design. should be onehalf the peak ground acceleration (PGA). NCMA states k. Most have biaxial strength. This base is usually six inches thick and extends a minimum of six inches beyond the inner and outer faces of the blocks.1. is usually assumed to not exceed 0. however. the PGA is about 0. H Figure 163 . This enables segmental walls to reach retaining heights of forty feet or more. Geogrids are produced by a number of manufactures. About Geogrids Geogrids is the term for the sheet material placed in layers within the backfill. generally twelve feet wide. each offering a choice of several materials and tensile strengths. in my area. A gravel or crushed stone leveling pad is used as a base for the masonry units. CA. This results in a composite mass of "reinforced earth" behind the wall (also called Mechanically Stabilized Earth. and anchoring each layer into the facing block.
This information will be provided by the consultant. and site space available. Gather design criteria After determining the site requirements such as retained heights along the length of the wall. plan view alignment (curves?) and contouring that may require a sloped backfill.5. and N is the weight of the overlying blocks. generally 1. Determine retained heights. Therefore a Long Term Allowable Design Strength (LTADS) would be LTDS /1. Legacy Reports). A typical connection value might be displayed as: Peak Connection Strength = 425 + 0. Inc. loads (surcharges and/or seismic design). and other strengthaffecting factors. material degradation. and factors included should be possible damage during installation. creep of the textile. Pullout resistance is both by the coefficient of friction at the joint plus whatever engagement means is used. This will be the density of the soil and its angle of internal friction (phi value).4" serviceability connection strengths are available from the block vendors web site or literature. the geogrids are laid in the joint between blocks. To accomplish this. the geogrid must be anchored at each end: into the insitu soil beyond the backfill failure plane (described below) and anchorage into the facing block joint to resist the tension in the geogrid. manufacturer. Also needed is the density and phi value for the backfill material. or other means proprietary to each block vendor. material imperfections. The peak connection strength and 3.icces. This is a tested value for failure when the geogrid is pulled to an elongation of %". allowance for damage during construction. folding over a lip in the block. NOTE: If slope conditions exist above or below the wall. Another connection value is Serviceability Connection Strength. Where 425 is the value (pounds) of the proprietary geogrid engagement to the block. To establish connection values each block type must be tested for each anticipated geogrid. each with a different strength. preferably Group GW on the Unified Soil Classification System (see Appendix A). and will include other recommendations.5.5. and ratio of ultimate tension capacity and design tension. The longterm design strength (LTDS) is derived from the ultimate tensile strength value and includes safety factors for longterm degradation.org which makes available evaluation reports from the various vendors (ICC Evaluation Service. 0. The factor of safety for peak connection strength is generally 1. consult the project geotechnical engineer to determine whether a global stability analysis is required.5. and if additional geogrids are needed to satisfy global stability requirements. To be effective in creating the enmasse soil.Each manufacturer offers several choices of their geogrids. Backfill material should be well drained sand/gravel mix. Test procedures in accordance with ASTM or Geosynthetic Research Institute (GRI) procedures establish the ultimate tensile strength for each type of geogrid.27 is the tangent of the blockgeogridblock friction angle. such as the need for a global stability check if underlying soil are questionable. The generally accepted factor of safety for connections is 1. with a maximum of 1900 lbs. Because this is a failure condition no further safety factor is needed.27 N. you will need characteristics of the natural (insitu) soil both behind and below the reinforced zone.. soil properties (densities and friction angles for both in situ ("external") and backfill ("internal") material. The latter can be by pins through the geogrid interstices. It is also available from www. A further safety factor is applied for design. Select masonry units Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 83 .
"Internal" and "External" forces The term Internal Forces describes the lateral earth pressure within the soilreinforced zone. External Forces describe the lateral earth pressure acting outside and against the reinforced soil zone. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 84 . size. This pressure applies force against the wall and creates the tension on the geogrids to maintain the integrity of the soil mass. This is often dependent upon proximity to distributors. and configuration desired.Select the block vendor for texture.
Determine lateral soil pressures Both internal and external forces must be considered because the properties of the two soil likely will be different (density and friction angle), therefore the K, factor needs to be computed for each soil. The Coulomb equation is generally used for both. The Coulomb Equation is shown below, and note that because the resultant is assumed to act at an angle eS from the horizontal, the horizontal component must be computed. The vertical component is generally ignored.
sin2 (a + <jJ) Ka=~~========~ ·2 .( Sin a Sin a  u + Sin(<jJ+O)Sin(<jJ~)l2 sin (a  0) sin (a +~)
5:)[1
K, (horiz.)
=
coso K,
13 = Angle of backfill slope <p Angle of internal friction of either backfill or insitu soil. = a = Wall slope angle from horizontal (90 + batter angle from vertical) 8 = Angle of friction between soil and wall (usually assumed to be 2/3<pto 1I2/<p) for the external force applied to the reinforced zone eS is but assumed equal to <D.
0
Select geogrid The geogrid manufacturer and type is selected based upon the tension resistance required. This is based upon the depth of the geogrid and the vertical tributary area between geogrid layers. The lowest geogrid is usually placed in the first block j oint about the base, then every second or third joint, but generally not exceeding two feet apart. Spacing between layers may vary with design requirements, but to simplify instructions to the contractor equal spacing is often used. When a trial spacing is selected, the internal earth pressure to each geogrid is calculated. This is the force which must be anchored both to the block facing and embedded into the backfill soil a sufficient distance beyond the failure plane. As described above, the anchorage to the wall is composed of both friction and mechanical devices or other means to further secure the geogrids to the block. This information is available from ICC Evaluation reports or directly from the geogrid vendor. Check required geogrid length for embedment beyond the failure plane. This is calculated from frictional resistance along the geogrid, based upon the weight of overlying soil, the nature of the geogrid surface, and awareness that it has two surfaces on which to develop pullout resistance. Tension in each layer of geogrid, T a, increases with its depth in the backfill, and can be computed by the equation below:
T,
=
KaihZ s A
where Kahi horiz component of K, based upon Ka of internal (backfill) soil; A = soil density; z = depth of = soil above layer, and s = tributary height to the layer. s = [(height to layer above)  (height to layer below)] /2 (Note: an exception is the tributary height above the uppermost layer and below the lowest layer)
Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 85
This value, Ta, would be the horizontal tension on the geotextile or geogrid per longitudinal foot of wall, and from this value the geogrid type (LTADS) is selected. Determine geogrid embedment
To anchor the outer ends of the geogrid it must extend beyond the soil wedge failure plane a distance adequate to resist pullout. The resistance to pullout is provided by the friction between the soil and geogrid (both top and bottom surfaces used), the weight of the overlying soil, and the friction angle of the soil. Additionally, a reduction intereaction coefficient, Ci, is used which is dependent upon the particular geogrid and the surrounding soil. The C, value usually varies from about 0.70 to 0.90. The equation for the required embedment beyond the rupture line, neglecting DL, LL, and additional soil in a backfill slope, is: Le
= """"'
r, Kahi S
2 tan <PiC, Factor of safety (1.5 minimum) Coefficient of active pressure (horizontal component, internal soil). Tributary height between next higher and lower geogrids. Friction angle of internal soil Soil/geogrid interaction coefficient
F, Kaih S <1>i C,
Note that the above equation is independent of the overlay depth z because this factor cancels out in the equilibrium equation: T, = Kaihz A s = 2 L, y z tan <1>i To include dead load, live load (not recommended) and additional soil over the backfill slope, use the complete equation: Fs r, L, = D = dead load surcharge 2lan $,
c{[
D + Y z +tan
0
C:u 
H tan
0))]]
The overall length of one geogrid as required is La + Le, where La is the length within the soil wedge plus the wall thickness, and L, is the embedment anchorage length beyond the failure plane. NCMA recommends extending an additional one foot; AASHTO an additional three feet. Note that this base width is only the minimum for geogrid embedment and additional width may be required for overturning and sliding resistance as discussed below. Determine depth of reinforced soil (total base width)
The base width is defined as the depth of the reinforced soil (to the end of the geogrids) plus the wall thickness. Although this is initially estimated from 60% to 80% of the wall height, it must be checked. The criterion is the failure plane angle which extends upward from the base of the wall and defines the limit beyond which the geogrid must extend for proper embedment. This angle, measured from horizontal, can either be the Rankine failure angle (45° + <1>/2) r the more o commonly used Coulomb failure plane angle, recommended by NCMA. This angle is:
Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 86
a
=~
+ tan
1[
tan (~~) + ~tan (~~) [tan (~~) + cot (~ (0)][1+ tan (8 oo)cot (~+ (0)]] 1+ tan (8 (0) [tan (~~) + cot (~+ (0)]
a = Coulomb failure plane angle measured from horizontal. <D= angle if internal friction of the internal (backfill) soil) ~ = backfill slope, if applicable 8 = friction angle at wallsoil interface (usually 2/3<D) co = wall batter measured from horizontal. The Coulomb line is steeper than the Rankine for most cases; hence it requires a lesser embedment length.
For a given failure angle b, is:
a,
the distance from outside face of wall to failure line intercept, La, for any height
La =

hx tan a

hx tan co + t
t = wall thickness
The quickest way to check the minimum required base width for geogrid embedment is to check the uppermost layer of La + L, then add the front batter of the wall to height h, which is h, * tan co. To determine the available embedment depth for any height h;: L, (available)
=
B t ~ tan a
When a base width is determined based upon required geogrid embedments, it may not be great enough for the reinforced soil block to resist overturning, which will be checked below. Check overturning When considering overturning for an MSE wall the entire reinforced soil zone is considered one mass, therefore the overturning force is the lateral pressure against the end of the reinforced zone  the extremity of the base width. For overturning calculations this is assumed to be a vertical plane (even if the reinforced mass is considered trapezoidal). If there is a sloping backfill, the pressure is against the full height of the vertical plane  from base to intercept with the finished grade. The Coulomb equation is used, with the density and phi values being those of the insitu soil, and interface friction angle, 8, is assumed equal to <D. If a surcharge is present it is to be included  both dead load and live load (but not live load if seismic is included (see Seismic Design below). For overturning, the earth pressure is assumed to act at onethird the total height of the vertical plane, and surcharges at onehalf the total height. Therefore, the total overturning moment is: OTM
=
Ka(horiz)
* Y * <D* H3 *
1/6 + Ka(horiz)
* (DL + LL) * H2 *
Y2
Basics of Retaining Wall Design
Page 87
To calculate resisting moment the weights used are the reinforced soil zone, weight of soil in sloping backfill if applicable, weight of the wall facing blocks, and surcharges if applicable. Resisting moments are taken about the outer edge of the base of the wall. If the wall is battered, this will increase the momentarm distances. Therefore, the total resisting moment, RM, is: RM
=
+ 0.5H tan
w*H*(0.5t + 0.5 tan CD * H) + (B  t)y*H[0.5(B  t) + 0.5H tan CD] + 0.5y(B  t)2 tan ~
CD]
+ (B  t)(O + L) [0.5(B  t)
= total
w = weight of wall, psf; y = density of backfill soil; <D friction angle of backfill soil; B = width; t = wall thickness; ~ = backfill slope;
CD =
base
wall batter angle from vertical; H
=
=
height of wall, ft;
D and L
dead load and live load.
The stability ratio (factor of safety) is: RM / OTM, which should be 1.5 or greater per NCMA. Check sliding at lowest geogrid layer Compute lateral force same as above with z = (H  h.) h, = height to lowest layer Resistance is provided by both soil friction at lowest layer plus blockjointgeogrid interface value which is obtained from equation provided by block vendor, taking the form (1500 + 0.28N), in pounds, where N = weight of wall above, or: Resistance
=
Wearth <De (XXXX + O.XX N) tan +
Check sliding at base For overturning/resisting, Sliding force use the same driving force as above for overturning: [y * <De H/ * 0.5 + (OL) * HI ] *
= Ka(horiz)
Note that HI is the total height at the back of the reinforced zone from base to intercept with the sloped backfill surface. Therefore, HI = H + (B  t) tan B, Sliding resistance is provided by friction between weight of reinforced soil mass plus the weight of the wall. WtotaJ Wwall Wearth wH + y [(B  t)H + 0.5(B = + = Friction Resistance
=
ti tan ~
Wtotaltan <De C,
= Friction
Sliding Safety Factor Check soil bearing pressure
Resistance / Sliding Force
For SRW walls the MeyerhofMethod is used to determine bearing pressure. This assumes a rectangular pressure distribution under the footing, as opposed to a triangular distribution. The total vertical force is distributed uniformly over an effective base width. The effective base width is less than the full width by a distance equal to twice the eccentricity of the imposed load on the full footing width (easily verified with a diagram).
Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 88
page 220.l 48. where B is the total bearing width. are nondimensional coefficients per table below.4 33. Ny 31 32 33 34 35 36 20.1. (see above for methodology) N. Bearing pressure Soil bearing capacity Ultimate bearing capacity is calculated using the classical Terzaghi equation: Qultimate Yd Nq + 0.2 4l.2 26.e = [(resisting moment) .1 29. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 89 .0 56. This can also be obtained by entering the zip code at http://earthquake. ft. NCMA recommends kh = A / 2 for internal stability (Wall and reinforced zone) and K.(overturning moment)] / (total vertical load) = Wtotal/ Be = effective bearing width = B . The PGA can be determined from seismic hazard maps in IBC or from ASCE7 '05. ft. kh' which is a function of the Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA) for the side. the first step in the design is to determine the seismic acceleration factor.0 Seismic design . Fifth Edition.45) A for external stability (acting on reinforced zone). d Be = effective bearing width.gov/researchlhazmaps/designlindex.3 Minimum safety facor for soil bearing per NCMA is 2.0 30. Enter the five digit site zip code and select short term structure (0. For these equations refer to Bowles' Foundation Design & Analysis.php. = (A .2 35. (an additional term to include cohesion is omitted because cohesion is = usually assumed zero) y = = Be density of underlying (insitu) soil depth of embedment of bottom block.usgs.5 YBe N.MSE WaIls If seismic design is required for your locale or applicable code.63 23.3 37. and N.8 26.2 sec) and 2% probability of exceedance in 50 years.2e. A = Peak Ground Acceleration.
" For insertion into the MononobeOkabe angle e: e = tan" k. the final choice of kh in any calculation may be based upon local experience.IS based upon slope stability analogy.40. Seismic inertial force from earth pressure within the reinforced zone. the above can yield improbably high design accelerations. a = wall slope clockwise from horizontal. using a height increased by sloped backfill if applicable. Fl. designated ~KAE KAE = ti active earth pressure coefficient. For this force use the MononobeOkabe (modified Coulomb) equation below. This component is applied to a vertical plane at the back face of the reinforced zone. back fill or insitu depending upon case. This 2. (90 for a vertical face). however.In areas of high seismicity. and H = height of wall. where w force acts at onehalf the wall h = unit weight of wall in psf.SH .S + (KAE . The wall internal force is: k. kh = 0. Note that the value H for this force is the wall height + added height because of sloped backfill. internal friction. KAE is for both static and seismic. NCMA states that "In practice.t) H + O. and 0 = wall friction angle. F2. three components must be considered for overturning and sliding stability: l. Consequently. results in unreasonably high seismic forces. For this inertial force a depth of reinforced zone need not exceed onehalf the height of the wall.Ka) D H + kh W HI Y= density of soil.t) tan ~ These three seismic components must be added to static sliding and to increase overturning moment. in these areas it is common practice among engineers to use a maximum value of k. hence: HI =H + (B . static + seismic sin2 (a+8¢') cos8' sin 2 asin (a + 8'+ 5) [ sin 1+ (¢+5) sin (¢8'/3) sin (a + 5 + 8') sin (a + /3) 0 ]2 <I> = Where = tanI Kh. therefore you will need to deduct KA (static) to determine the increased force because of seismic. (Modified Coulomb) equation for KAE you must convert k. Therefore F2 = k. The value. for PGA = 0. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 90 . D = Dead load surcharge. Seismic force acting on the back of the reinforced zone.Ka) YHI2 O. to an If seismic is required.S (O.42 or external stability. For example. = O. Y [(O. The horizontal component is KAE cos 0= KAEH For this case a = e angle of 90° and 8 = <Dextermal Thus: F3 = (KAE . F3. Furthermore. The force may be reduced SO%. ~ = backfill slope. w H. and/or prescribed by local building official or other regulations. Seismic inertial force from wall.SH tan ~] 3.
s".8 . Before starting with a seismic design for a SRW always check with the building department or agency having jurisdiction to verify applicability and any specific requirements.Increase in sliding force = F 1 + F 2 + F3 Increased overturning = FJ (H/2) + F2 (H + 0. NCMA offers software for SRW design.ncma. or CBC '07 directly address segmental retaining walls. both published by the national Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA . both gravity and with geogrids.org.h. Edition.org. .1. most downloadable in pdf from their web sites. Their web site is www. are heights of next higher and next lower layers.3rd. 1st Edition (NCMA) Acceptance Criteria/or Segmental Retaining Walls published by ICC Evaluation Services can be obtained from www. Getting help In addition to the references above.5 + F3 0.) I H] where h.h.com. Building codes & standards Neither mc '09. The current standard design references. the safety factor for sliding and overturning can be reduced to 1. all major SRW block vendors have web sites and offer technical support for their products.retainpro.org). Added seismic tension to a layer is calculated by: K. Edition (NCMA) Segmental Retaining Walls .h. Major SRW vendors also offer design handbooks plus other resources. Chapter 12. Some offer free software. Also see: Bowles' Foundation Analysis & Design.0.www. are: Design Manual/or Segmental Retaining Walls. If seismic forces are included. Retain Pro Software (latest version Retain Pro 9) also includes the design of segmental retaining walls.) I 2] w + llKAEH[th.ncma. [(h+ .) I 2] [0. and h.Seismic Design Manual. For information: www. Basics of Retaining Wall Design Page 91 . Others can be found through a Google search for "segmental retaining walls".icces.5H tan ~) 0. Two major vendors are Keystone Retaining Wall Systems and Allan Block.6 ([(h+ .6 H.
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