Indian Geotech J (April–June 2012) 42(2):106–112 DOI 10.1007/s4009801200048
TECHNICAL NOTE 
Rupa Sunil Dalvi • Prabhakar Jagannath Pise
Received: 22 June 2010 / Accepted: 2 September 2011 / Published online: 16 May 2012 Indian Geotechnical Society 2012
Abstract Arching involves stress transfer from yielding part of a soil to unyielding part of soil. Many authors considered arching action for active earth pressure. In this paper arching action is considered for passive earth pres sure in noncohesive backﬁll. The backﬁll is assumed to move upward in a form of catenary arch due to arching. The value of h _{w} (the angle of major principal plane) is calculated for soilwall friction angle and soil friction angle. An expression for passive lateral stress ratio has been derived considering these angles. An illustrative example has been solved to show the effect on earth pressure distribution on retaining wall considering arching for different wall friction angles and soil friction angles. The applicability of proposed formulation is compared with model test results.
K
_{p}
K
_{w}
Passive earth pressure coefﬁcient r _{1} /r _{3} K at wall due to catenary arch
V Vertical force from soil weight Coordinates of catenary Angle of major principal plane to the horizontal
x, y
h (thita)
d (delta)
l (mue)
r _{1} , r _{3} (sigma) r r
_{a}_{v}
_{h}
s
/ (phi)
c (gama)
Soilwall friction angle
Wall friction coefﬁcient Major and minor principal stresses Average vertical stress Horizontal stress Shear strength Angle of shearing resistance of soil of soil
Soil unit weight
Keywords Arching Passive earth pressure Sandy soil Wall friction Retaining wall
List of symbols 

a 
Mathematical coefﬁcient in equation for 
B 
catenary Breadth of soil between the two vertical 
H 
rough walls Height of wall 
K 
Ratio of horizontal to vertical stress r _{h} /rv 
R. S. Dalvi (&) Department of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, Pune 411005, India email: rsd.civil@coep.ac.in
P. J. Pise Department of Civil Engineering, IIT, Kharagpur, India email: pjpise@vsnl.net
Introduction
Arching involves stress transfer from the yielding part of soil to the unyielding part of soil. It is ﬁrst described by Terzaghi in 1943 [4]. It depends on shear strength of soil and extent of yielding of soil. Many researchers have studied active earth pressure against rigid retaining wall considering arching effect. Janssen [2] proposed differential equation for pres sure in the silos. He has provided theoretical basis for understanding the effect of arching. Spangler and Handy [12] and Wang [10] suggested procedures to estimate non linear pressure distribution of active earth pressure on the back of the wall based on Janssen theory [2]. Many experi mental results [5, 6] show that lateral earth pressure behind the retaining wall depends on the mode of wall movement or rotation of the wall at the top or bottom and the pressure distribution is non linear. This nonlinearity is attributed due to arching effect by Handy [7].
Indian Geotech J (April–June 2012) 42(2):106–112
107
Review of Previous Work
Handy [7] considered two stages of arching for active earth pressure when the back of the wall is rough. He assumed the shape of arch as catenary. According to him, stage I arching is due to change of directions of principal stresses. Con sidering Stage I arching, earth pressure estimated is more than predicted by classical theory. As the wall movement is continuous semi arch is formed between the wall and the boundary of the slip surfaces separating mobile and immobile soil mass. Due to this minor principal stress becomes horizontal. This is termed by him as second stage of arching. The second stage of arching reduces vertical and horizontal pressure particularly near the base of the wall. Due to this effect pressure distribution becomes rounded at the base. The equation proposed by Handy [7] and Harrop Williams [8] have some limitations. They have not con sidered the dependence of vertical stress r _{v} and horizontal stress r _{h} due to soil friction angle, / and soil to wall friction angle, d. Paik and Salgado [9] have proposed an equation considering the effect of / and d on r _{v} and r _{h} . They compared the existing test results with the values calculated from the equation given by other authors. They have also presented design charts based on their formulation. Dalvi et al. [10] considered the effect of arching on the passive earth pressure in non cohesive soil. They have considered stage I arching for different heights of retaining wall. They have compared their results with the classical theory of Coulomb. They concluded that stage I arching estimates lateral pressure, which is always less than that predicted by classical theory.
Scope of Study
In this paper effect of arching on passive earth pressure in the noncohesive backﬁll is considered. The backﬁll is assumed to rise upward in a catenary form due to arching. The coef ﬁcient of passive earth pressure has been derived making suitable assumptions. The value of h _{w} (the angle of major principal plane) is calculated from different values of d and /. The coefﬁcient of passive earth pressure is calculated for h _{w} . A cumulative effect on soil pressure is considered as the second stage of arching. Summation of all the vertical forces acting on the differential element is considered and equation for stage II arching was derived from it.
Proposed Method of Analysis
Assumptions
Following assumptions have been made in the analysis.
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
The soil is noncohesive, semi inﬁnite, homogeneous, isotropic and the backﬁll is horizontal. The problem is a plane strain problem i.e. two dimensional. The soil mass is bounded between two parallel, un yielding rough vertical walls. The walls are assumed to rotate towards the soil mass creating passive case. The sliding surfaces are vertical and pass through the outer edge of the yielding wall. The soil mass moves up in a curved path which is considered as catenary arch. Wall friction angle d is less than soil friction angle /. i.e. (d \ /). The major and minor principal stresses have been considered to be constant along the length of the arch. The ratio of horizontal to vertical pressure r _{h} to r _{v} is constant and it is represented by
K
¼ r _{h} =r _{v}
Fully Developed Wall Friction
The analysis is described elsewhere [10]. However, it is given brieﬂy below. Two parallel, rigid vertical walls retaining granular soil mass as shown in Fig. 1 has been considered. The distance between the walls is B. When rotation of the wall takes place towards the soil mass, passive state is developed and the soil moves in the upward direction as shown. Consider a small strip of soil mass having thickness dh at a depth h below the ground surface in the soil mass. V is the vertical upward force acting on a strip. The weight of the strip is c B dh. The forces acting on the strip of soil mass have been shown in Fig. 1. The frictional resistance F is acting in the downward direction as shown. This fric tional resistance is equal to the lateral force times the coefﬁcient of friction l (i.e. l = tan d), where d is soil wall friction angle. The major and minor principal planes and stresses are shown in the Fig. 2a. The vertical and horizontal stresses at the wall are r _{v} and r _{h} . Inside the soil mass the tra jectory of major principal stress, r _{1} gives continuous ‘‘tension arch’’ in the upward direction. Due to catenary arch considered the direction of the principal stress changes along and normal to the arch. The major prin cipal stress r _{1} makes an angle of h with the wall as shown at point C. Figure 2b shows Mohr’s circle of stress for any point along with failure envelope. The slip lines make an angle, h = 45  //2. This is simpliﬁed assumption made similar to Handy. The stress conditions at C are modiﬁed and they are shown separately in Fig. 2c.
108
Indian Geotech J (April–June 2012) 42(2):106–112
Fig. 1 Representation of soil arching
Stresses in Arch
Vertical and Horizontal Stresses
From force equilibrium on triangular element, at C as shown in Fig. 2c gives
r _{h} ¼ r _{3} cos ^{2} h þ r _{1} sin ^{2} h s ¼ ðr _{1} r _{3} Þsinhcosh
ð1Þ
ð2Þ
Dividing Eq. 1 by r _{3} and considering the soil mass to be in a passive state
r _{1} =r _{3} ¼ K _{p} :
where, K _{p} _{=} coefﬁcient of passive earth pressure From Eqs. 1 and 2,
r _{h} =r _{3} ¼ cos ^{2} h þ K _{p} sin ^{2} h
ð3Þ
From Fig. 2a, and using geometrical relationships,
r _{1} r _{h} ¼ r _{v} r _{3}
Putting the value of r _{h} , in Eq. 3.
ð
r
1
r
v
þ r
3
Þ=r _{3} ¼ cos ^{2} h þ K _{p} sin ^{2} h
Solving the above and rearranging the terms,
r _{v} =r _{3} ¼ K _{p} cos ^{2} h þ sin ^{2} h
ð4Þ
The vertical and lateral stresses acting at arbitrary points along a differential ﬂat element in the backﬁll can be calculated from Eqs. 3 and 4
The principle stresses are resolved into horizontal and vertical stresses by using Eqs. 3 and 4. The values of h and / are substituted in Eqs. 3 and 4 and the ratio of r _{h} /r _{3} and r _{v} /r _{3} are obtained. In case of wall or conduit problems instead of considering the vertical stress at the wall, aver age stress was considered by Janssen [2] and Handy [7]. Average vertical stress is equal to r _{a}_{v} = V/B. Consid ering their approach the lateral stress ratio, r _{h} /r _{a}_{v} is evaluated. The value of r _{a}_{v} is obtained by averaging r _{v} /r _{3} for / = 10 and / = 40 we get r _{a}_{v} is 1.16. The horizontal stress to average vertical stress ratio is designated here as K _{w} . This equation is adjusted for average reduction in r _{v}
r h 
¼

cos 
2 h þ 
K p sin 
2 
h 


r 3 

So; 
r _{h} ¼ r _{3} 
cos ^{2} h 
þ K _{p} sin ^{2} h ^{} 
ð5Þ 

As; 
r _{a}_{v} =r _{3} ¼ 1:16 

So; 
r av 
cos 
2 
h þ K sin p 
2 
h 


r _{h} ¼ 
1:16 

And; K _{w} 
¼ r h 
¼ 0:862
cos ^{2} h þ K _{p} sin ^{2} h ^{} 
ð6Þ 

r av 
Partially Developed Wall Friction
Figure 3i, ii, show Mohr’s circle solution when angle of
wall friction
d \ /, i.e. when partially wall friction is
Indian Geotech J (April–June 2012) 42(2):106–112
109
Fig. 2 a Continuous major principal arch (trajectory of major principal arch). b Mohr’s circle showing arching. c Stresses on element at stresses at rough wall C
developed. h _{w} is the angle between horizontal direction and direction of the minor principal plane. The angle h _{w} is obtained from Fig. 3. From triangle OAB and ABC.
s _{w} ¼ ðr _{1} r _{h} Þ tanh _{w} ¼ r _{h} tand
ð
r
1
r
h
Þcotd ¼ r _{h} coth _{w}
ð7Þ
Dividing Eq. 7 by r _{h} and rearranging,
ð
r =r
1
h
1Þcotd ¼ coth _{w}
ð8Þ
Dividing r _{1} /r _{3} = K _{p} by r _{h} /r _{3} = cos ^{2} h ? K _{p} sin ^{2} h gives
r _{1} =r _{h} ¼ K _{p} ^{} cos ^{2} h þ K _{p} sin ^{2} h ^{}
ð9Þ
Substituting Eq. 9 in Eq. 8 and rearranging the terms,

K p ^{} 
cos ^{2} h þ K _{p} sin ^{2} h ^{} 1 ^{} cotd ¼ coth _{w} 
ð10Þ 

K _{p} ðcos ^{2} h þ K _{p} sin ^{2} hÞ 
! cotd ¼ coth _{w} 

cos ^{2} h þ 
K _{p} sin ^{2} h 

Simplifying Eq. 10 further step wise, Eq. 11 is derived. 

tanh _{w} 

K _{p} 1 

¼ tand 
ð11Þ 

1 
þ K _{p} tan ^{2} h _{w} 
110
Indian Geotech J (April–June 2012) 42(2):106–112
Fig. 3 i Partially developed wall friction. ii Detail at ‘C’
In Eq. 11, if / and d are known, the value of the h _{w} can be
determined.
Equation for the Earth Pressure Behind the Wall
A second stage of arching is its cumulative effect on soil
pressure. The forces acting on the strip of the soil mass is
shown in the Fig. 1. Summation of all vertical forces acting
on the differential element (Fig. 1)
V dV þ cB dh V þ 2K _{w} lV=B dh ¼ 0
dv þ cB dh V þ 2K _{w} lV=B dh ¼ 0
where K _{w} is passive lateral stress ratio due to arching at the
wall
2KlV=B dh dv ¼ cB dh 
ð12Þ 

Eq. 12 can be written as 

2KlV=B dv=dh ¼ cB 

Integrating 
Eq. 12 
and 
using 
appropriate 
boundary 
condition Eq. 13 is obtained.
cB ^{2} 2 
2 


kl þ cB 2kl _{e} ð2klhÞ=B 


cB ^{2} 

1 e ð2klhÞ=BÞ 

2 kl 

cB ^{2} 


2 k l 

_{e} ð2klhÞ=B _{} _{1}


is the wall friction coefﬁcient 

Since V/B = r _{a}_{v} 
_{ð}_{1}_{3}_{Þ}
Rearranging the terms in Eq. 13.
ð14Þ
where V is the total accumulated vertical load at depth h, c
is unit weight of soil, B is the distance between two walls,
K _{w} = r _{h} /r _{v} is the K at wall due to catenary arch, l = tan d
K w r av = r h
And Eq. 14 changes as
r h ¼
cB
2l
_{e} ð2K _{w} lhÞ=B _{} _{1}
ð15Þ
Eq. 15 gives equation for lateral earth pressure behind a
wall.
Soil Arching Action Behind Retaining Wall
Non Linear Pressure Distribution
The Marston equations were originally derived to deﬁne
boundary stresses in the soil partially supported between
vertical walls with a constant separation distance B. They
predict constant wall pressure below certain depth.
Figure 4 shows a single wall horizontal distance equivalent
to B/2 from wall to the stable soil encountered behind a plane
normally rising at 45  //2 from base of the wall. Along this
plane principal stresses oriented vertically and horizontally.
So the separation distance from wall is a half arch.
This distance B changes with the depth becoming zero
at the bottom of wall. The horizontal pressure on the wall
may be obtained by differentiating Eq. 14
dr _{h}
dh
¼ K _{w} c exp
ð
2k
w
lh=BÞ
Near the top of wall where h is small and B is large the exp.
term is 1 and slope is K _{w}
cB 2 ¼ ðH hÞtanðÞ 45 þ h=2 Substituting Eq. 16 in Eq. 15 
gives the 
equation 
ð16Þ for 

horizontal soil pressure at any level behind a rough wall. 

r h ¼ c _{l} ðH hÞtan45 

þ /=2 
h _{e}_{x}_{p} ððKwlÞ=tanð45þ/=2ÞÞ ðh=H hÞ 1 
i 
ð17Þ 
Indian Geotech J (April–June 2012) 42(2):106–112
111
Fig. 4 Retaining wallbackﬁll geometry
r _{h} is the horizontal pressure at level h, c is the unit weight
of the soil, l is the soil to wall coefﬁcient of fric
tion = tand, H is the total height of wall, h is the elevation
from the top, / is the soil internal friction angle
Lateral earth pressure behind the wall is calculated using
Eq. 17 From the equation it is observed that the horizontal
pressure is a function of unit weight of soil, c angle of wall
friction, d total height of the wall, H and earth pressure
coefﬁcient due to arching, K _{w} . Applicability and effects of
arching on lateral pressure on retaining wall has been
discussed with an illustrative example based on the present
study. Also analytical prediction compared with other
theories and model study of Narain et al. [3].
Illustrative Example
An imaginary example for the soilwall data given below
has been solved Wall height = 2 m; / = 32 and d = 0.2/
and 0.6/ and c _{e} = 18 kN/m ^{3}^{.} The results have been
compared in Fig. 5.
The pressure distribution on the wall considering stage I
arching effect is calculated from Eq. 6. Lateral earth
pressure distribution behind the wall due to stage I arching
and using Coulomb equation are triangular in nature. Lat
eral pressure at any depth is about 8 % less than the
pressure predicted by Coulomb’s analysis.
The pressure distribution behind the wall due to stage II
arching is calculated using Eq. 17. Lateral pressure due to
stage II arching and pressure due to classical theory are
practically equal for the wall height of 1.5–1.7 m. Beyond
this the lateral pressure increases in exponential form.
Comparison with Experimental Data
The prediction of earth pressure on the back of the wall
from the
Eq. 17
are
compared with model test result of
Pressure (kPa)
Coulomb theory (d = 0.2/ and 0.6/)
with
Narain et al. [3]. They have carried out experiments on
retaining wall model to study dry uniform Ranipur sand at
two relative densities (RD) of 31.5 and 70.25 %. The sand
has / = 38 .5 ^{0} at RD = 31.5 % and / = 42 at
RD = 70.25 %. The angle of wall friction for two densities
0
is 23 .5 . The height of the wall is 500 mm. The pressure
distribution on the wall for different condition such as
rotation about top, rotation about bottom and translation
were considered. Model experiments reported by Sherif
et al. [12] indicated that a translating wall movement of
only about 1/6,000 the height of the wall was required to
mobilize wall friction. This is negligible. While comparing
experimental and analytical results rotation about top and
translation for 10 mm wall movement were considered.
In Fig. 6a (For loose sand) up to a depth of 160 mm
lateral earth pressure distribution due to stage I arching and
stage II arching are less than experimental results for wall
translation.
In Fig. 6b (For dense sand) Lateral earth pressure dis
tribution due to stage I arching is always less than the
experimental values for wall translation. Lateral earth
pressure distribution due to stage II arching is less than the
experimental values up to a depth of 260 mm. However,
after this depth the pressure increases.
112
Indian Geotech J (April–June 2012) 42(2):106–112
Fig. 6 a Comparison with experimental data (loose sand). b Com parison with experimental data (dense sand)
In Fig. 6a, b experimental values for the rotation about
the top for 10 mm wall movement are also plotted. It is
observed that the lateral earth pressure distribution due to
stage I is less than the experimental results for loose and
dense sand. But in case of loose sand lateral earth pressure
distribution due to stage II arching is less than the exper
imental results up to depth of 220 mm. In case of dense
8. HarropWilliams K (1989) Geostatic wall pressures. J Geotech Eng ASCE 115(9):1321–1325
9. Paik KH, Salgado R (2003) Estimation of active earth pressure against rigid retaining wall considering arching effects. Geo technique 53(7):643–653
10. Dalvi RS, Bhosale SS, Pise PJ (2005) Analysis for passive earth pressure: catenary arch in soil. Indian Geotech J 35(4):388–400
11. Narain J, Saran S, Nandakumaran P (1969) Model study of passive pressure is sand. J Soil Mech Found Eng ASCE 95(4): 969–983
12. Sherif MA, Ishibhashi I, Lee CD (1982) Earth pressure against rigid retaining wall. J Geotech Eng Div ASCE 108(GT5): 679–696