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A century of computation methods for designing retaining walls

II* Empirical and semi-empirical approaches


Luc DELATTRE Sonja MARTEN Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chausses

Introduction
Although gravity retaining wall systems have been adapted to retaining fills, excavation retaining walls are the most frequently used type of retaining wall and have experienced continued development throughout the 20th century. The development and diversification of the technique relating to retaining walls, sheet piles, diaphragm walls, Lutecian type interpile sheeting, parisian interpile sheeting and cut-off walls, as well as the technique of using supports such as struts with pretensioned anchors have made it possible to build more and more subsurface walls: transport infrastructure, various networks, building bases, parking areas, etc. [Delattre, 2000]. This development and application of technologies resulted in a major development of computation methods. In fact, this form of structure requires the diversification of the computation schemas of earth pressure because their kinematic characteristics are different from those of gravity walls, the most popular kind of retaining walls to date.
* This is the follow-up article of an article dedicated to traditional methods and the coefficient method of reaction [DELATTRE, 2002]. It will be completed by an article about the application of the finite elements method on retaining walls since the 1970s.
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Gravity walls are rigid and their movements combine lateral displacement and warping when the supported soil experiences pressure. As a result the soil is decompressed laterally and is brought to a state of limited equilibrium of the thrust [Delattre, 2002]. The earth pressure computation methods assocated with this kinematic characteristic of the wall were proposed by Coulomb [1776] and Boussinesq [1882] and have undergone many experimental validations [e.g. Darwin, 1883; Feld, 1923]. Contrary to this kinematic characteristic of warping in rigid gravity walls that are used to retain fills, flexible retaining walls have more complex kinematic characteristics. Two main factors are responsible for this diversification in the walls [Delattre, 2002]: Their relative flexibility leads to a variable deflection of the structure, as well as a redistribution of the thrust between the areas where supports exist and the the areas between supports; The ways in which the retaining walls are implemented provoke a kinematic reaction of the entire wall that moves from a top rotation (warping) into a base rotation. Original tools needed to be developed for ascertaining these new forms of interaction between the wall and the supported soil. The problem/task nevertheless proved to be difficult. In practice, it was necessary to wait for the appearance of the finite element method so that the different forms of soilstructure interaction concerned could be included into the details. In the mean time, empirical and semi-empirical solutions were proposed by engineers. These solutions, which were initially developed for calculating the stress in structural element, were otherwise to be used to assess the deformation of the structure and the supported soil block. The development of these empirical and semiempirical methods as well as that which concerns stress assessment and distortion of structures is the focus of this article.

Flexible walls and arching


Experimental observations
Christianis observations The analysis of the collapse of the most commonly used equilibrium on the local level on homogeneous soil supported by a restraining wall, allowed Boussinesq [1882], in his continuation of the works of Rankine [1857], to offer an expression of stress distribution on a retaining wall. For granulated material, this distribution is triangular with the stress moving in a linear manner and in accordance with the depth. This work completed that of Coulomb, which only helped to determine the intensity of the resultant thrust. The triangular distribution was only a theory. The literature recognizes Christiani [in Brinch Hansen, 1953], a Danish engineer, as being the first person at the beginning of the 20th century to disprove this theory of pressure distribution behind flexible walls anchored at the top. His research, which was empirical for the most part, proceeded from an analysis of the dimensioning of old structures made with timber sheet piling and dimensioned in an empirical manner. This analysis helped him to show that in the areas between supports, the pressure that was applied to these walls were clearly lower than that inferred in the works of Coulomb or Boussinesq. Christiani inferred from this observation that the earth pressure was redistributed from the areas between supports to the areas where the supports were. This redistribution was lastly [e.g. Terzaghi, 1943a, pp.66] credited to arching effects in the soil: the difference in wall stiffness between the areas corresponding to supports and the intermediate areas cause a transfer of stress through shear mobilization in the soil towards the stiffest areas.

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The study of earth pressure on flexible walls The experimental validation of the empirical schema adopted by Christiani and his successors of the Danish school was continued by Stroyer [1935]. He started a series of tests on reduced models using a device made specially for studying earth pressure distributions on flexible walls. In this device, the rigid wall pivoting at the base is replaced by a wall that is jointed at the top and at the base and that is also sufficiently flexible to undergo a deflection in its middle portion. This device allowed Stroyer to observe that the stress in the middle part of the wall that was submitted to deflection, reduced as the deflection increased. This meant that the wall was flexible. He otherwise observed that this stress reduction in the middle part of the wall was accompanied by a redistribution of stress towards the fixed points at the top and base of the wall and that this did not lead to reduction of the resultant stress on the wall. Tschebotarioff and Brown [1948], then Rowe [1952, 1961] and Masrouri [1986] continued this first experimental study by equally conducting studies on reduced flexible models. The works of Tschebotarioff helped to underline the fact that the redistribution of stress by arching appeared only on walls sheeted from top to bottom, anchored rigidly at the top (to a platform, according to the circumstances), then dredging (Fig. 1) and that such redistributions of stress should not be considered as walls filled or anchored with tension rods that are relatively flexible. The experiments of Rowe [1961] and Masrouri [Masrouri, 1986; Masrouri and Kastner, 1991] involved walls sheeted from top to bottom, then excavated with struts installed in the advancement. Similar to the experiments of Stroyer, Rowes experiments (Fig. 2), carried out on a flexible wall and rigid struts, clearly showed a redistribution of stress on the wall, consisting of a reduction of stress between the supports and a concentration of stress on the supports. For her part, Masrouri concentrated on studying the influence of strut rigidity and the intensity of initial prestressing on stress distributions on a semi-flexible wall. She showed that, for a flexible support that was not prestressed, the stress distribution behind the wall corresponded to the distribution calculated using the theories of thrust while the displacement in the base of the wall remained limited, but that this was no longer true the moment the prestressing and rigidity of the strut rose or when displacement in the base of the wall increased. She actually showed that both the increase in stiffness of the support and the increase of initial prestressing caused the pressures applied to the wall in the support area to increase while the areas between the supports could be relieved. In the same way she showed that if excavation is pursued in order to generate strong movements in the base, stress concentrations will increase to the right of the support. Similar work carried out this time on structures anchored with tension rods, enabled Masrouri to obtain analogue results.

Soft clay

After filling

Filling

Thrust redistribution after soil vibration

Normal relaxation of the support

Pas de relaxation de l'appui

Dragage

Fig. 1 - Stress distribution stemming from different construction procedures [according to Tschebotarioff and Brown, 1948].

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Fig. 2 - Stress distribution taken on a reduced flexible wall model with struts rigidly installed in the advancement of the excavation [Rowe, 1961].

Aft

er

exc

ava

tion

An empirical model of the phenomenon


Attempts were made, particularly inspired from computation methods for silos using the method of attaching the soil onto the wall [Terzaghi, 1936b; Handy, 1985; Harrop-Williams, 1989], to take into account anchorage effects during the computation of stress distribution. These attempts were not always developed, and today, there only exists one semi-empirical method that integrates the effects of anchorage into structure calculations. Research carried out in Denmark stemming from the researches of Christiani gave rise to the so called Danish rules of dimensioning for retaining walls. These rules that are applied to sheet pile walls anchored at the top, incorporate the redistribution of stress towards points in the wall that are less susceptible to displacement at the anchorage point (Fig. 3).

Excavation retaining walls and the kinematic characteristic of walls


Stress on excavation retaining wall supports
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the development of underground transport networks has been one of the main driving forces behind the study of excavation retaining wall behaviour. In fact, constructing underground lines for the tube, the urban environmental stress associated to the geometry of the excavation, have often caused engineers to use the cut and cover technique with lateral support for the walls strutted on the advancement. The measurement system for these structures, motivated by the sensitive characteristic of the urban environment, provides rapid measurements relating to their behaviour. Such structures are relatively flexible allowing for deflection between supports. They also have a kinematic characteristic that causes the deflection to normally increase with depth. The flexibility is inherent to the technology used producing naturally flexible forms: sheet piles or H-sections in the case of interpile sheetings. The kinematic characteristic is the result of accumulated deflections 34
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The structure is dimensioned using the single direction thrust bearing method, with the thrust being calculated using an angle of wall-soil friction equal to /2. Firstly, the thrust on the structure is calculated using the Coulomb method by stipulating a wall-soil friction equal to zero. The diagram of the thrust that is obtained is then modified by constructing a parabola that reduces the pressure of the coefficient q at the centre of the two supports anchored from above and the application point of the bearing resultant and increasing from 1.5 q to the top anchorage level. To find q:
q

1,5q A A

1/2 L

10H + 2L -P q = k ---------------------10H + 3L m where pm is the average value of stress distribution calculated with the Coulomb method. H is the charge applied above the anchorage level, equal to the height of the soil above the anchorage level, established while taking into account the submerged weight of the soil. L is the distance between the two support points that support the wall and k is a coefficient approximately equal to 0.8. The pressure distribution that is calculated helps to ascertain the bending moment of the wall and the anchorage force. The depth given to the wall can be obtained by multiplying the depth necessary for limiting equilibrium by 2 .

1/2 L

2/3 D d 2 1/3 D

Fig. 3 - Danish computation method for walls anchored at the top [in Brinch-Hansen, 1953].

experienced by the retaining wall at each level, crossed with the number of excavation phases and then the depth, before its blocked by a support. The measurements taken on these structures have revealed pressures on retaining walls that do not obey the triangular law of distribution predicted in the theories of Rankine or Boussinesq. Contrary to what was expected, the earth pressures were stronger in the middle part of the wall than in the bottom part.

Kinematic characteristic of structures and stress distribution


The kinematic analysis of strutted excavations, complemented by a series of experiments effected on a semi-high wall submitted to movements of different nature, helped Terzaghi [1934, 1936a] to link earth pressure distribution on retaining walls with the general kinematic characteristic of the structure (Fig. 4). Hence, gravity walls loaded by soil-filling have a tendency to turn with respect to their base, causing a strong lateral decompression of the soil at the surface of the supported soil. This lateral decompression decreases with depth to the zero level at the base of the wall. For Terzaghi, this kinematic characteristic enables a relatively homogeneous deformation in the prism of the supported soil of each structure, which is brought to a state of thrust equilibrium. For the structures that move by translation, which is a kinematic characteristic similar to that observed for supported excavations or for structures that pivot at a point at the top, lateral decompression of the soil behind the wall is not homogeneous and has greater values at the base of the wall than at the top. For Terzaghi, this schema of structural deformation leads to non-triangular stress
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Base rotation

Translation

Top rotation

Fig. 4 - Dependence of the diagram of the thrusts appplied by the soil to the kinematics of the wall [according to Terzaghi, in Ohde, 1938].

Ever since, many authors have reconsidered, using experimental study results, the influence of the kinematic characteristic of a structure on thrust distribution. The obtained results mainly concern thrust distribution applied to a wall for the three wall kinematics characteristics: translation, top rotation and base rotation. Concerning the transaltion movement, Sherif et al. [1982], as well as Fang et al. [1997], have demonstrated that thrust distribution during movement of the wall stays noticeably triangular. This result is qualified by Fang and Ishibashi [1986], for whom the thrust distribution deviates slightly from the triangular distribution, the thrusts being slightly stronger than expected with this distribution in the upper section of the wall and slightly lower in the bottom part of the wall. The case of walls pivoting at the top have been studied by James and Lord [1972]. The study revisited the measuring devices used in the case of wing wall abutments [James and Bransby, 1970]. Although the device did not enable them to measure the thrust applied by the soil on the wall, owing to the fact that the thrust cells used were dimensioned to measure stress on the wing wall abutments, it enabled them to gain access to the soil block deformations. They also observed that the deformations were located following a band for which the curve resembled the arc of a circle. This band of deformation started at the base of the wall and progressed, throughout the displacement of the wall, towards the surface of the soil block. James and Lord otherwise observed that the volume of the soil, while slipping along this band of deformation is all the weaker bacause the sand is dense: the deformation band develops all the more behind the wall as the sand is loose. The thrust distribution applied by the soil to the wall for this structural kinematic characteristic was studied, always on reduced models, by Fang and Ishibashi [1986]. They observed that while the wall is rotating, moving from the "at rest" state, the stresses applied at the top of the wall have a tendency to decrease in the lower part. They also highlighted the stress distributions for which, in the upper quadrant of the wall, the stress is significantly higher at the earth pressures at rest state, while in the middle section, this stress approaches the theoretical thrust and that in the bottom quadrant, this pressure decreases until it reaches values close to zero at the foot of the wall. They otherwise showed that the initial density state of the sand noticeably influenced the thrust distribution. In this way, the thrust distribution for loose sand, while being similar to the distribution described above, is not far removed from a triangular distribution. For greater initial densities, the thrust distribution is clearly more removed from a triangular distribution with the stress being concentrated at the top increasing the density state of the material. Fang and Ishibashi explain this result by using the notion of anchorage efects created at the edges of the fixed point at the top of the wall. For structures pivoting at the base, they finally observed that during rotation of the wall, the thrusts decreased less rapidly in the bottom section of the wall than at the top. In this way, they showed that the wall movement led to the develoment of an equilibrium state limit in the top part of the soil block (approx. the upper half), while in the bottom part, the soil remained at an intermediate state between the thrust state and the rest state.

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distribution on the wall. In fact, when the movement of the upper part of the wall is insufficient at this level to authorize the lateral decompression of the soil mass involved in the mobilisation of the thrust, an anchorage effect appears resulting in the increase in thrusts in the top part of the wall and a reduction at the bottom part.

Support dimensioning for supported excavations - Theoretical computation methods


Initially, and in keeping with the traditional approach of active earth pressure studies, the issue of thrust on walls submitted to different kinematic conditions of rotation at the base were addressed by the computation. The initial contribution of Terzaghi [1936b] inspired a dimensioning method for silos while postulating a priori a ratio value for the vertical and horizontal stresses on the supported height and on the friction of the wall. These theories enabled vertical stress variations in the structure to be determined, taking into account discharging from friction on the wall and the inference of thrust distributions on the wall that approach the values observed during the experiment. The issue was taken up again by Ohde [1938, in Brinch-Hansen, 1953] who proposed that for a screen pivoting at its summit, as in Coulombs method, the equilibrium state for a prism of soil behind a sliding wall along the length of a circular surface (Fig. 5) should be considered. In justifying his choice of a circular form from the surface of collapse, he said that this form respected the kinematic condition imposed by the wall. The problem can then be resolved by calculating the stresses along the slide-bed plane by integrating the equation of Ktter [1903] and by writing the static equilibrium of the soil prism. The problem raised by Ohde was taken up again by Terzaghi [1943a] who had similar arguments, stating that the breaking plane was no longer parametered by an arc of circle, but by a logarithmic spiral arc. The solution to the problem is obtained by writing the result of the moments of stress applied to the prism when sliding at the centre of rotation by means of a hypothesis concerning the position of the gravitational centre of the thrusts on the wall. This theory stems from the experimental results then available. For sand, the gravitational centre of thrust is taken mid-way along the height of the retaining wall while for clay, this position depends on the relationship c/h, where c corresponds to soil cohesion, its unit weight and h, the clear height of the retaining wall.

Empirical computation methods for supported excavation supports


The approach using the computation of stress distribution on walls that rotate in relation to the height of the wall [Terzaghi, 1936b; Ohde, 1938; Terzaghi, 1943a] has never really been put into practice and quickly encountered competition from a new approach where stress distributions to be introduced in the computation for excavation retaining walls were to be taken directly from measurements on the structure. This approach was mainly developed in Germany and the Unites States of America during the second half of the 20th century using observations made on work carried out on underground railways in many metropolitan cities in addition to conducting experiments on reduced models whenever necessary. The research carried out by these two schools had a partly common experimental base but was developed further by the Germans.

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Fig. 5 - Stress computation for the kinematic characteristic of rotaton for a wall at the top [Ohde, 1938

1 h e' G Eaw Ea Q : Soil reaction along the fracture plane Ea : Thrust on the wall G : Soil block weight Qw Q
a) Analysis diagram.

Ql

b) Distribution of resulting pressure.

The German school Laboratory tests carried out by Press [1942] or Lehmann [1942] have demonstrated, like the tests of Terzaghi [1934], that earth pressures largely depend on the wall kinematics. Lehmann focused mainly on the issue of stress distribution at the moment when the soil decompresses in the lower part of the soil block, which is the case for top rotation. For these tests carried out on sand, he used a closed box with sheets of glass on the sides in order to observe the behaviour of the soil block and the wall. The wall, which was 100cm high and 98cm wide, was divided into four rigid parts attached with hinges. In doing so, he could simulate top rotation as well as a succession of earth movements by turning one joint after the other. By measuring the stress in the springs used as struts, he was always able to trace an average line of stress distribution according to wall displacement, the centre of rotation, wall friction and parasite effects (if they were identified, like soil-glass friction) (Fig. 6a). From these tests, Lehmann formulated a semi-empirical method to calculate thrust strength using Coulombs method (his measurement results never exceeded this value) and to redistribute it using a line that encompasses all the results (Fig. 6c). In a second series of articles, Ohde [1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952] revisited his ideas of the end of the 1930s [Ohde, 1938], and qualitative tests that demonstrate the different fracture planes according to the kinematic characteristic of the wall. He presented strength distribution figures in agreement with Lehmanns results indicated above.

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Ei : Stress in the struts ei : Distributed pressure e : Relative pressure e = E / ( . b . ha) ha : Height of zone of influence for a strut b : Width of zone of Influence (b = 1 m)

: Soil unit weight h : Free height of wall F : Earth pressures according to Coulomb eL : Maximum trapezoidal pressure according to Lehmann

a) Strut stress E0 to E4 for a displacement of 14 mm. b) Test results with a rotation of level sections of the wall (max. = 12 mm). c) Proposals of thrust redistribution. Fig. 6 - Lehmanns tests on reduced models [1942].

The recent computation methods used in Germany were based on these first studies and additional studies done between 1960 and 1970. Briske [1958] proposed an initial synthesis of strength redistribution according to the type of retaining wall and the number of struts used for non-coherent soil (rectangular or trapezoidal redistribution). Subsequently, Mller-Haude and Scheibner [1965], Heeb et al. [1966], Briske and Pirlet [1968], Breth and Wanoschek [1969] and Petersen and Schmidt [1971] describe the work and measurements taken during the construction of underground railways in Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg. For strutted interpile sheetings built on the coherent soil of Stuttgart, Heeb et al. [1966] propose a triangular distribution with most of the struts mid-way up the wall. This idea was later revisited by Breth and Wanoschek [1969] for the more rigid walls of bored piles in the clay of Frankfurt. Briske [1971] stressed the importance of where the first strut was situated, the effect of time, as well as the depth attained before the following struts are put in place. In Stuttgart (2 layers of struts) as in Frankfurt am Main (5 layers), the excavation below the second to last strut was relatively deep compared to the spacing between the layers. Consequently, after installation, there was a large amount of stress on the bottom struts and this even increased further with time because of creep. Since 1970, tension rods have been used more frequently and this led to a new series of laboratory tests. Schmitt and Breth [1975] first performed tests with one layer of tension rods. One year later, a second publication announced the results of tests using three layers of tension rods [Breth and Wolff, 1976]. Some time afterwards, Briske [1980] analysed the observation results in situ of tests carried out on anchored walls. Tests carried out on reduced models demonstrated that the amount and distribution of tension rods did not have a large influence on the earth pressures on the wall although the pressures decreased when the tension rods got longer. Upon comparing strutted and anchored walls, Breth and Wolff [1976] discovered that the strength concentration around the supports was less strong for anchored walls. In their opinion, the strength distribution behind strutted walls depended mainly on the way in which the excavation was dug while the advancing effect of excavation was less visible in the case of tension rods. They explained this observation to be the result of elasticity and the more symmetric vertical spacing of the anchorage system.

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The EAB, the recommendations of the work group on excavation retaining walls, is the result of work carried out by several German researchers under the direction of J. Schmidbauer and A. Weissenbach. The publication of these technical rules started in 1970 and continued for a few years. They were published in the Die Bautechnik journal and gathered since 1980 in a work published by the editor Ernst & Sohn. They are well established in present day Germany and even considered to have legislative value. The recommendations address the following issues:

computation basis (determining stressing soil characteristics), thrust intensity and distribution and the rules for justifying bearing capacity, computation particularities for interpile sheeting, sheet pile walls, site-mixed concrete walls (bored pile
walls and diaphragm walls) and anchored excavations, security factor proposal, excavations of different shapes (round, rectangular, oval), excavations situated beside other constructions, excavations dug under ground water, excavations dug in soft rock, element dimensionings (shoring, sheet piles, struts, etc.), experimental measurements and the observational method. The thrust is calculated with the traditional rules given in the DIN 4085 standard. We normally apply the Coulomb theory to a flat slide bed-plane or for > 30 degrees, it is advised to use the Caquot-Krisel rules. The wall-soil frictional angle selection, the taking into account of a waterflow or even the computation of earth pressures in non-flat conditions (before the vertical elements of composite walls) are always addressed by this standard. If it is probable that the expected retaining wall movements do not reach the movements necessary for activating the thrust limit state (e.g. h/H 0.1% for a lateral displacement), the DIN standard refers to the EAB recommendations and obliges that we take an increased thrust into account (erhhter aktiver Erddruck). The EAB considers that the movements are limited if after installation the supports are submitted to a prestress equivalent to more than 30% of the determined value for the last stage of excavation (for sheet-pile walls and walls made from site-mixed concrete). The EAB security system is a global system that only decreases the resistance (wing wall abutment or wall material and supports) with a security factor but it doesnt increase the thrusts. The most popular places outside of Germany deal with earth pressure redistribution according to the type of retaining wall and the support conditions. The following figures show the thrust redistribution for walls made from site-mixed concrete, meaning diaphragm walls or bored pile walls.

These works were revisited in different works of synthesis of which the most exhaustive one was the three volume work of Weissenbach [1975], who presented his own tests and accumulated the German know-how of the time. His work was also the base for national recommendations, among which was the EAB which related to excavation retaining walls (Empfehlungen des Arbeitskreises Baugruben; Fig. 7) and the EAU concerning works on river banks (Empfehlungen des Arbeitskreises Ufereinfassungen), as well as local ones (e.g. Stadtbahn-Richtlinien in Frankfurt am Main). The American school Terzaghi [1941] was responsible for the alternative proposal stating that structures dimensioned directly at the base of a distribution enveloped the experimentally ascertained pressures thus removing the computation phase. A first trapezoid diagram applicable to excavations dug in sand was established on the basis of the stresses measured by Spilker [1937] in the struts of the supported excavations in underground railway supported excavations of Berlin. This diagram was used subsequently to enrich the results of measurements carried out on the marly soil of Munich by Klenner [1941]. A similar diagram, applicable to excavations dug in plastic clay was proposed by Peck [1943] based on experiments carried out during the building of the Chicago underground railway and the theories formulated by Terzaghi [1943b].

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hk H

eho H' ehu H

hk

eho H' H

hk

eho H'

ehu

ehu

Support at hk 0,1H

Support at 0,1H < hk 0,2H

Support at 0,2H < hk 0,3H

EB 70-1. Redistribution schemas for site-mixed concrete walls with 1 support

eh H H' H

eho H' H eho H'

eh Support at 1/4H and 3/4 H

ehu

ehu

Top supports

Bottom supports

EB 70-2. Redistribution schemas for site-mixed concrete walls with 2 supports

eho H eho U ehu Ze U H' H

eho eho Ze U H' H

eho H' eho Ze ehu

ehu

3 supports

4 supports

5 support

EB 70-3. Redistribution schemas for site-mixed concrete walls with 3 or more supports

Fig. 7 - Principle of the redistribution of thrusts given by the EAB rules.

These initial documents were modified by taking into account new experimental data coming from various underground railway sites: Munich [Klenner, 1941], New-York [White and Prentis, 1940] and Cologne [Briske and Pirlet, 1968; Fig. 8] on sand; Tokyo, Osaka, Oslo [Kjaernsli, 1958] on soft clay; Oslo [Di Biagio et Bjerrum, 1957] and London [Golder, 1948] on stiff clay. Stemming from several works of synthesis [Terzaghi and Peck, 1967; Tschebotarioff, 1973, in particular], these successive changes facilitated the availability of diagrams that benefited from significant experimental validation (Fig. 9). The transposition of the proposed rules of strut dimensioning relating to bored and prestressed tension rods, developed in the 1960s, was addressed by Peck [1972]. The elements available allowed him to establish that the apparent pressure diagrams published in 1969 could lead to overdimensioning in the tension rods.

Deformation stress
Structure deformation
The theoretical computation methods for retaining wall structures have long been unable to predict the deformations to expect in service situations and the engineer had to contend with orders of magB ULLETIN
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Stress in the struts (Mp) Construction phase C1 A e = 4m


1
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Average values for a distance of 2m between the struts 17,75 Mp 31,14 Mp

Beam axis

B e = 2m (C)

Construction phase C2 A B

3,80 4,50

26,42 Mp 31,42 Mp
Fig. 8 - Measurements of stress for the underground railway at Cologne [Briske and Pirlet, 1968].

C prestress 47,90 Mp

Construction phase E A e = 4m
A....D = 176,92 Mp

B e = 2m C e = 2m D e = 2m
prestress

5,70 3,80 4,50

28,00 Mp 30,80 Mp 68,80 Mp 49,32 Mp 1 Mp = 10 kN

Sand Struts

Soft and moderately soft clat 0,25 H

Stiff and cracked clay 0,25 H

H 0,75 H

0,5 H

0,25 H

0,65KA H KA = tan2 (45 - /2)

1,0KA H KA = 1 - m 4Cu H

0,2 H 0,4 H

m = 1,0 without exception

Fig. 9 - Diagram of thrust to consider for dimensioning excavation shoring, according to Terzaghi and Peck [1967]. is the unit wieght of the supported soil and m an empirical coefficient of reduction of the undrained cohesion taking the value of 1 except where the excavation involves "genuinely" and normally consolidated clay and is characterized by the index H/cu > 4. The coefficient m can then take a value equal to 0.4.

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nitude derived from the behavioural observation of real structures. This empirical approach remained undeveloped for a long time. Peck [1969] was responsible for the first detailed approach concerning structure deformation. Following the principles used for the stress analysis of strutting on excavation retaining walls, and on the base compilation of measurement results, Peck established diagrams of compactions resulting from excavations (Fig. 10). Like the distinctions made for calculating the stress in struts, he noted different configurations in the structures linked to the nature of the soil. This initial proposal by Peck was the focus of various improvement exercises.

Excavation stability index


In his analysis of deformations, Peck [1969] recognized the importance of conditions relative to the bottom of the excavation, particularly for clay, and for the conditions deriving from the presence of a soft layer under the bottomgrade of the excavation. DAppolonia [1971] pointed out that the different situations encountered could no longer be identified by using a simple qualitative method but by using the coefficient of security with respect to the collapse of the bottom of the excavation (Fig. 11). This correlation between the stability index of the structure and the observed deformations was specified by Mana and Clough [1981 (Fig. 12)] on experimental and theoretical bases. For their study, these authors made a more profound selection of experimental data, excluding notably the deformations obtained in exceptional situations (especially the faulty design and building of the structures) as well as during the initial phases where the structure is simply embedded. On this basis, including the parametric calculations obtained by the finite elements method, they noted that, while the relation between the critical height and the height of the excavation remain higher than 1.5, the lateral deformations of the structure remain low, in the order of 0.5% of the height of the structure. However, in excavations for which the depth approaches that of the critical depth (for the relation Hc/H < 1.5), the lateral deformations of the structure will be high. With regards to compactions of supported soil, Mana and Clough [1981] observed that their amplitude is generally made up of between 50% and 100% of the amplitude of the lateral displacements of retaining walls.

Zone I Zone II

Excavation in sand and soft and stiff clay. Excavations in very soft clay, with the clay surface having an extension limit under the bottom grade of the excavation or being limited by a stiffer layer of clay. Excavations in very soft clay, with the soft clay layer being very thick underneath the bottomgrade of the excavation.

Zone III

Fig. 10 - Compaction due to excavations [Peck, 1969}.

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The possible depth of an excavation is limited by the phenomenon of bottom heave, which occurs when the vertical stress differences on either side of the retaining wall become higher than that which the soil can mobilize, considering its shear strength. The first studies on the phenomenon of bottom heave were conducted by Terzaghi [1943a]. For excavations dug in sand, Terzaghi showed, by using results relating to the bearing capacity of superficial foundations, that the security coefficient with respect to the bottom heave is independent from the excavation depth (it only depends on the frictional angle of the sand) and is always much higher individually when the frictional angle is higher than 30 degrees and in the absence of unfavourable water circulation. For excavations dug in clay, a similar analysis based on the superficial foundations theory enabled Terzaghi [1943a] to show that in undrained conditions the depth of an excavation, where the length is greater than the width, is limited to the value: Hc = Nccu/( 2cu/B 2 ) where cu is the undrained cohesion of the clay, Nc is the bearing factor applicable to the perfectly rough superficial foundations (Nc = 5,7 for Terzaghi), the unit weight of the clay and B is the width of the excavation. Later developments of this analysis method for the stability of the bottom of the excavation are linked to the progress made in computation methods for the bearing capacity of superficial foundations [Tschebotarioff, 1951, in Bjerrum and Eide, 1956, pp. 34], taking into account the shape of the excavation [Bjerrum and Eide, 1956], the anistropy of the clay [Clough et Hansen, 1981] or the resistance brought by the retaining wall in its driven section [ORourke, 1992] for taking into account the role played by the driven section of the wall in the analysis of the stability of the bottom of the excavation.

Nc 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 0 1 6,2 5,1

Circular or square excavation B/L=1

Infinitely n y long ng excavation a B/L=0

B cu D + p

F = Nc

6 D/B

Nc Rectangular = (0,84 + 0,16 B/L) Nc Square cu : Undrained clay cohesion : Unit weight of clay Nc : Bearing factor F : Coefficient of security

D : Excavation depth B : Excavation width L : Excavation length p : Extra load

Fig. 11 - Development of the analysis method for the bottom of the excavation and illustration of the method proposed by Bjerrum and Eide [1956].

Fig. 12 - Correlation between the stability index of the excavation bottom and observed deformations [Mana and Clough, 1981].

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Deformation linked to excavations


The different research described above allowed Clough and ORourke [1990] to establish experimental diagrams relative to the behaviour of excavation retaining walls. These diagrams were established for sand, stiff clay and soft clay. They concerned short term deformations caused by excavation, with the exception of excavations induced by other activities of the site and deformations due to long term soil behaviour (deformations linked to the consolidation of fine soils or creeping). Maximum deformation values For all the studies produced, the same convention was adopted to express the deformations of the structure and the supported soil block. In this way, the deformation of the retaining wall is expressed in relation to lateral displacement at the depth of excavation, whereas the deformation at the surface is expressed in relation to the compaction observed at the depth of the excavation. For excavations in sand, stiff clay and residual soil, Clough and ORourke show that the maximum deformations of the retaining wall are generally lower than 0.5% and that their average value is 0.2%. The maximum compaction of the supported soil is lower than 0.5% and, on average, equal to 0.15% of the depth of the excavation. For deformations linked to excavations in soft clay, Clough and ORourke propose to estimate the maximum deformation of the retaining wall according to the security coefficient of the excavation concerning the bottom heave and an estimation of the rigidity of the retaining structure (Fig. 13). The maximum vertical deformations for the supported soil (compaction) are equal to the maximum deformations of the retaining wall in the horizontal direction. These results were complemented by Ou et al. [1993] who pointed out that the maximum deformation of the retaining wall took place at the bottomgrade of the excavation. They otherwise qualified the indications concerning the maximum compaction. In fact, Ou et al. [1993] propose taking a value between a half and two thirds of the maximum retaining wall deformation (Mana and Clough, 1981, proposed a value between half and the total maximum deformation of the retaining wall).

Max. lat. displ. of the wall/ Excavation depth (%)

3 2,5 2 1,5 1 0,5 0 0

Sheet piles h = 3,5m

Diaphragm wall e = 1m - h = 3,5m

si ng

st ab

ilit

In

0,9 1 Coefficient of security 1,1 vis--vis the retaining wall 1,4 2 3 300 500 700 1000 Increasing rigidity 3000

30

50 70 100 (EI) / (wh4)

Fig. 13 - Deformations linked to excavations in soft clay, according to Clough and ORourke [1990].

cr ea

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They were also complemented by Carder [1995], on the basis of experiments conducted on structures built on stiff clay. For such works, Carder proposed that we keep the maximum deformation values of the retaining wall varying between 0.125 and 0.4%, following the stiffness of the support system. He also proposed to keep the maximum deformation values of compaction between 0.1 et 0.2% that are in good agreement with the 0.15% value observed by Burland et al. [1979]. The results were also complemented by Muramatsu and Abe [1996], together with Long [2001]. Muramatsu and Abe mainly dealt with circular rectangular or square wells. They pointed out that the deformation of supported soil is significantly lower in circular wells than in square or rectangular ones. Also, for circular excavations, the maximum deformation for the retaining wall does not exceed 0.1% of the height of the excavation. On the basis of analysis on a set of new cases for structures with high safety in relation to bottom heave, Long proposed lower overall values than those suggested by Clough and ORourke for the deformation of retaining walls as well as for the compaction of the supported soil. The maximum values observed by Long [2001] were close to the values considered by Clough and ORourke [1990] as average values. He otherwise observed that for the cases studied, the influence of retaining wall rigidity on the measured deformations was low. For structures with lower safety with respect to bottom heave, the deformations observed by Long do, however, lie within the range delimited by Mana and Clough [1981]. Long introduced the case of retaining walls driven into stiff soil and supporting a soft material. He noted that if the case he analysed agreed with the proposals of Clough and ORourke [1990] and Clough et al. [1989] when the stiff soil reached the bottomgrade of the excavation, these proposals tended to underestimate the deformation when soft soil was to be found underneath the excavation bottomgrade. For self-supporting structures, Long observed deformations in the retaining wall that were relatively independent from their rigidity and for which the maximum values reached 0.5%. Compaction profiles In establishing compaction profiles, Clough and ORourke [1990] qualified two profiles of deformation in retaining walls. For structures that are not supported at the top, the elastic curve of the wall is that of a structure simply embedded at one end; it decreases with the depth and reaches zero at the digging point. The compaction profile associated with this kind of elastic curve is approximately triangular. For structures that are maintained at the top before excavation, the most important part of the curve is seen under the support points and compaction is maximum at a certain distance behind the retaining wall. These two schemas allow us to distinguish the different categories of structures. The compaction profile that is associated with excavations in sand and stiff clay is triangular, with the maximum compaction being produced close to the retaining wall and gradually decreasing with the distance from the retaining wall. It reaches zero at a distance of twice the depth of excavation for sand and three times the depth of excavation for stiff clay (Fig. 14). For Carder [1995], the distance at which the compaction is sensitive can be brought to four times the height of the excavation for stiff clay. The compaction profile associated with excavations in soft clays combine the two schemas of deformation and so takes on a trapezoidal shape. Clough and ORourke [1990] propose a profile estimation for maximum compaction. This involves considering a constant compaction at its maximum value at a distance of three quarters the depth of the excavation that then gradually decreases to reach a zero value at a distance of approximately twice the depth of the excavation (Fig. 15). More complex profiles were proposed by Ou et al. [1993] and Hsieh and Ou [1998]. The triangular profile proposed by Clough and ORourke for sand become convex. In the case of clay, the profile proposed by Clough and ORourke changes to have the maximum compaction appear at a retainment distance equal to half of the supported height, the compaction of the immediate neighbouring retainment wall being reduced to 50% of the maximum compaction. Furthermore, these profiles are complemented by a secondary zone extending to four times the supported height where the compactions are low. 46
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Fig. 14 - Compaction profiles observed behind the retaining walls of excavations in sand, according to Clough and ORourke [1990].

Fig. 15 - Compaction profiles observed behind the retaining walls of excavations in soft clay, according to Clough and ORourke [1990].

Perspectives and limits of semi-empirical methods


The development of digital methods from in the 1960s marked a downtime in the development of empirical and semi-empirical methods. Their interest in fact appeared less clear, since a theoretical analysis would be able, using the behaviour of the soil and structure elements defined locally, to predict the entire behaviour and notably the phenomenons associated to the kinematic behaviour of the structure. These digital methods are however limited in predicting the behavior of structures, some of which is listed below: the transfer of properties of a material measured locally on a laboratory tested sample, to the behaviour of a soil block or a structural assembly remains difficult, taking into account the sensitive influence of the many heterogeneous factors that affect the soil block (e.g. thin sand layers or organic materials in a clay layer, real conditions support of struts on a diaphragm wall); the real conditions of structure implementation are not accessible (e.g. case of inserting sheet piles in the soil or the construction of diaphragm walls); the bi-dimensional models adopted do not take into account the three dimensional characteristics of many aspects of building the structure: e.g three dimensional characteristics of the structure but also its manner of construction. Considering these difficulties, the global approaches to structure behavior represented by the empirical approaches have found a new place alongside local approaches that use numerical tools. In particular, observational methods can be a suitable framework for the joint use of the models for structural behaviour prediction, typically digital tools, and global criteria for behaviour assessment based on the empirical knowledge of their behaviour. In this context, a new development of these empirical approaches has been observed as evidence of the work described in the chapter Deformation stress. Beyond these works, one can rightfully assume that these methods still have a potential for development. In this way, the parameters used for explaining the behavior observed in structures can be complemented in such a way as to reduce the dispersion of highlighted correlations [see Masuda, 1996], which is still strong.
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However, these methods are still limited in their capacity to address all of the structural configurations that can be encountered since by nature they represent particular cases that have served as the basis for their elaboration. Their generalization remains thus a significant problem.

Conclusion
The bibliographic analysis shows that although the empirical approach to the behaviour of excavation retaining walls is not widely recognized in France, contrary to the developments achieved in the domain of foundations, it has greatly developed in Germany and the Unites States of America. The research centres of these countries have at their disposal a large amount of well balanced information on the behaviour of structures concerning the stress they undergo as well as their deformations. This information has given rise to computational methods for structures that are commonly used today in the engineering practices of these countries. These methods were initially proposed as a temporary solution to the development of theoretic approaches to the behaviour of retaining walls for excavations, taking into account the complex forms of soil-structure interactions. These methods remained without any alternative until the appearance of the finite elements method in the 1960s. Nevertheless, the appearance of the finite elements method did not condemn these methods. One can even observe that in collaboration with the important development of the building of sub-surface structures, interest in these empirical methods has grown since the 1980s. Their centre of interest has nevertheless moved away from the initial attempts to predict stresses, to the deformations that are the focus of most present day developments, because controlling deformations is one of the main issues of excavation in urban areas. In fact, these methods complement digital methods to the extent that they provide a set of reference behaviors that is useful at all stages of the project. In the study phase, they enable us to quantify the main phenomena and set limits. So they are useful for assessing a solution that is calculated, notably for deformations that are still poorly approached computation tools. In the execution stage, they enable us to set the thresholds for normally expected behaviour and are therefore a useful tool that can be used on sensitive sites. They obviously lie within the domain of observational methods. In this context, the methods must be developed and fine-tuned on the basis of observed behavior. Their development justifies the more systematic use of instrumentation for the retaining walls of large excavations than in the past.

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