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# Sheet Pile Walls

By
Dr. Ashraf Kamal Hussein
Professor of Geotechnical Engineering and Foundations
Faculty of Engineering - Cairo University

2012
1. Introduction
- Same purpose as retaining walls.
- Commonly used as:
● Temporary structures to facilitate excavation and dewatering of limited
area.
● Water front structures.

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
2. Types of Sheet Pile Walls
● Cantilever
● Anchored
● Strutted

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
2. Types of Sheet Pile Walls
Materials:
● Timber: (shallow excavations)

● Steel

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
2. Types of Sheet Pile Walls
- Steel SPW is the most common type since:
● it resists high driving stresses.
● it is of relatively light weight.
● it can be reused several times.
● it is more durable.
● it is easy to increase its length by welding or bolting.

Typical Shapes:

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
3. Cantilever Sheet Pile Walls
Stability:
- from passive resistance.
H

Excavation Height:
- H<7m
t

Design Steps:
● determine forces acting on SPW.
● determine penetration depth (t).
● determine Mmax and section modulus.

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
3. Cantilever Sheet Pile Walls
Design:

- Forces

- Simplification

H H

Ea Ea
Ep Ep
t C t
O O Ep
M Ea

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
3. Cantilever Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils

- Penetration Depth γ
H φ

- ∑Mo = 0 Ea
D
Ep
neglect ∆M  Ea ya – Ep yp = 0 t
O C
 get D ∆M

 t = 1.2D

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
3. Cantilever Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils

- Maximum Moment γ
φ
H

## - Mmax @ pt of zero shear (n) Eay

y Epy
 Eay = Epy Mmax
t n
 get y

 M at pt (n) = Mmax

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
3. Cantilever Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils
Net Earth Pressure γ
H φ
- Penetration Depth Ea1

## - at distance u: zero pressure Ea2

u
 eau = epu t x
Ep
O O C
γ Ka (H + u) = γ Kp u  get u epn
∆M
- epn = γ x (Kp – Ka)
- ∑Mo = 0
neglect ∆M  ∑Ea ya – Ep yp = 0
 get x
 t = 1.2(u + x)
Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls
Cairo University
3. Cantilever Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils
γ
Net Earth Pressure H φ
Ea1
- Maximum Moment Ea2

## - Mmax @ pt of zero shear (n) Epy

y Mmax
t n
O
 ∑Ea = Epy epn

 get y

 M at pt (n) = Mmax

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
3. Cantilever Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils

- Effect of GWT γ
φ GWT
H
Ew1
GWT
Ea
Ew2
D Ep
t
O C
∆M

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
3. Cantilever Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesive Soils
Short Term Analysis  cu, φ = 0 zo
γ
H cu
- ea = γ H – 2cu Ea

ea
- epn = 4cu – γ H D Ep
t
O O
Limiting Height: epn

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Stability:
- from passive resistance and
tension in anchor rods.
H

Effect of Anchors:
● reduces lateral deflection.
● reduces penetration depth. t

## ● reduces bending moments.

Methods of Design:
● free earth support.
● fixed earth support.

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Conditions of Free and Fixed Earth Support

H H

Mmax
Mmax

t t

Free Fixed

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Conditions of Free and Fixed Earth Support

Free Fixed

- Soil type compressible soil (loose sand, clay) strong soil (φ > 32o)

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls

Design Steps:
● determine forces acting on SPW. H
● determine penetration depth (t).
● determine forces in anchor rod.
● determine Mmax and section modulus. t

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Free Earth Support:
Design: Cohesionless Soils

1- Forces

a a
γ γ
H φ H φ
Ea1

Ea2
Ea u
t Ep t
x Ep O

epn

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Free Earth Support:
Design: Cohesionless Soils a γ
H φ

2- Penetration Depth
Ea
- ∑Ma = 0  Ea ya – Ep yp = 0 t Ep

 get D

t=D

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Free Earth Support:
Design: Cohesionless Soils a
γ
H φ
Ea1
Net Earth Pressure
Ea2
u
2- Penetration Depth
t
x Ep O
- ∑Ma = 0  ∑Ea ya – Ep yp = 0
epn

t=u+x

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Free Earth Support:
Design: Cohesionless Soils a
A
γ
H φ

## 3- Force in Tie Rod

Ea
- ∑X = 0  A = Ea – Ep t/m t Ep

T = A.S ton

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Free Earth Support:
A
Design: Cohesionless Soils
H y
Eay
4- Maximum Moment
n Mmax

## - Mmax @ pt of zero shear (n)

t
(n) lies above L.G.L.

 A = Eay  get y

 M at pt (n) = Mmax

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Fixed Earth Support:
Design: Cohesionless Soils

1- Forces

H
Ea1

Ea Ea Ea2
Ep Ep
t Ep
Ep
C C
O O
Ea ∆M ∆M
Net Earth Pressure

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Fixed Earth Support:
Design: Cohesionless Soils
1- Forces
Assumptions:
● Point of zero B.M. (N) is point of zero loading (b).

H
Ea1
Mmax

Ea2
u
t Ep b N
x
C
O
∆M
Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls
Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Fixed Earth Support: d A
a
Design: Cohesionless Soils
H
2- Penetration Depth Ea1
- For upper beam:
Ea2
at distance u: zero pressure u
b R
 eau = epu b R
x Ep
γ Ka (H + u) = γ Kp u  get u
epn O 2R
∑Ma = 0
 ∑Ea ya – R( H + u – d) = 0  get R
- For lower beam:
for equilibrium with Ep
 reaction at O should be 2R
3R = Ep = γ x2 (Kp– Ka)/2  get x
 t = u + 1.2x
Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls
Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Fixed Earth Support: A
a

Ea1

## 3- Force in Tie Rod Ea2

u
b R
- For upper beam:

∑X = 0  A = ∑Ea – R t/m

T = A.S ton

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Fixed Earth Support:
A
Design: Cohesionless Soils a
y
H Eay
4- Maximum Moment n
Mmax

Ea2
- For upper beam: u
b R
- Mmax @ pt of zero shear (n)

## (n) lies above L.G.L.

 A = Eay  get y

 M at pt (n) = Mmax

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils

5- Design of Wales

tie rods.

M = A.S2/10

Two channels:

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils

- Area of rod:

area = T / σy

as T = A.S

area = π d2/4

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils
7- Design of Anchor Plate t2
d
- Continuous Plate: t1
A
t2 < t1/3
ep ea
γ t 12 K p
A possib = Ε p − Ε a == ( − Ka )
2 FS
as FS = 1.5

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils
7- Design of Anchor Plate
- Continuous Plate: d
B
A
for small anchor forces
Kp ed ea
ed = γ d ( − Ka )
FS
A exist
Β=
Kp
γ d( − Ka )
FS
ΑΒ
M max = t.m/m
8
t
Μ
My 6Μ
σy = = 32 = 2 as t = thickness of plate
Ι t t
12
Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls
Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils

## 7- Design of Anchor Plate

- Isolated Plate:
d
B
T
T
Β.L =
Kp ed ea
γ d( − Ka )
FS

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
4. Anchored Sheet Pile Walls
Design: Cohesionless Soils
45–φ/2
8- Length of Anchor Rod (IV)
H (II)
(I)
- Zone I  active zone  dangerous (III)
φ

t
45+φ/2

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Types:

● Soldier Beams:
- Soldier beams: vertical steel or
timber beams driven into
ground before excavation.
- Laggings: horizontal timber
planks are placed between
soldier beams as excavation
proceeds.
- Wales and Struts: horizontal
steel beams are installed when
excavation reaches desired
depth.

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Types:

● Sheet Piles:
- Sheet piles: (steel, concrete, or
timber) driven into ground
before excavation.
- Wales and Struts: inserted
immediately after excavation
reaches desired depth.

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Types:

## - timber lagging, steel

wales, and timber

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Lateral Earth Pressure:

## - Braced cut shows different type of

wall yielding where deformation of

## - Deformation depends on:

● type of soil. Retaining Wall Strutted SPW
● depth of excavation.
● workmanship.
● strutting configuration.
● construction sequence.
● relative flexibility of wall.

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Lateral Earth Pressure:
- at top  very little wall yielding 
close to at rest E.P.
- at bottom larger yielding  much
lower than Rankine active E.P.

## Retaining Wall Strutted SPW

 Distribution of E.P. in strutted SPW varies substantially
compared to the linear distribution in R.W.

- Field measurements show that E.P. does not follow same laws
(Rankine or Coulomb).

##  E.P. distribution cannot be predicted from theory.

 Apparent E.P. Envelopes
Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls
Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Lateral Earth Pressure:
0.2H
Cohesionless Soils:
H
0.8H
Loose: φ < 32o

ea ew
ea = 0.8 (γ H + q) Ka
as Ka = Rankine active E.P. coefficient

 Ea = 1.44 Ea(Rankine)
as Ea(Rankine) = γ H2Ka/2

In case of GWT:
- take hydrostatic water pressure (triangular distribution), E.P. with γsub

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Lateral Earth Pressure:
0.2H
Cohesionless Soils:
H 0.6H
Dense:
0.2H
ea
ew
ea = 0.8 (γ H + q) Ka
as Ka = Rankine active E.P. coefficient

 Ea = 1.28 Ea(Rankine)
as Ea(Rankine) = γ H2Ka/2

In case of GWT:
- take hydrostatic water pressure (triangular distribution), E.P. with γsub

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Lateral Earth Pressure:
0.25H
Cohesive Soils:
H
0.75H
Short Term Analysis  cu, φ = 0

## Soft to Medium Stiff Clay: ea

Ns = γ Η / cu > 4

ea = (γ H + q) – m (4cu)
m depends on soil below F.L.
m = 1.0 if stiff layer below F.L.
m = 0.4 if no stiff layer below F.L.

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Lateral Earth Pressure:
0.25H
Cohesive Soils:
H 0.5H
Short Term Analysis  cu, φ = 0
0.25H
Stiff Clay: ea

Ns = γ Η / cu < 4

ea = α (γ H + q)
α: 0.2 to 0.4 for long construction period.

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Lateral Earth Pressure:
Cohesive Soils:
Short Term Analysis  cu, φ = 0

Multiple layers

## - when several clay layers are encountered in the cut:

cu(avg) = (cu1 H1 + cu2 H2 + cu3 H3 + …) / H

γ(avg) = (γ1 H1 + γ2 H2 + γ3 H3 + …) / H

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Design of Struts:

## - min vertical spacing of 2.75 m. H

- subjected to compression forces  buckling
 provide vertical & horizontal supports at
ea
intermediate points
- depth of 1st strut < depth of tension crack zo = 2cu/γ

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Design of Struts:
A A
Forces in Struts
B B1 B2
H C C1 C2

D D

ea
- TA = A.S
- Assume intermediate hinges at
- TB = (B1 + B2) S struts (B) and (C)

- TC = (C1 + C2) S

- TD = D.S

## as S = spacing between struts

Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls
Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Design of Sheet Pile:
A A
B B1 B2
H C C1 C2

D D

ea

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Design of Wales:
A A
B B1 B2
H C C1 C2

D D

ea

## - Continuous horizontal beams.

- Mmax = A.S2/10.

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Base Stability:
Cohesive Soils:
Short Term Analysis  cu, φ = 0

cu Nc
FS = ≥ 1.5
γ H+q

## as cu = undrained strength below base

Nc = bearing capacity factor (see chart)

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Base Stability:
Cohesive Soils:
Short Term Analysis  cu, φ = 0

## Shallow Excavation: Η / Β < 1

- load = 0.7B (γ H + q) – cu H
- resistance = 0.7B (cu Nc)

cu Nc D
FS = ≥ 1.5
cu Η
γ H+q−
0.7Β
as cu = undrained strength below base
Nc = bearing capacity factor (see chart)
if depth to firm layer D < 0.7 B take D instead of 0.7 B
Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls
Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Base Stability:
Cohesive Soils:
Short Term Analysis  cu, φ = 0

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Base Stability:
Cohesive Soils:
Short Term Analysis  cu, φ = 0 H

If FS < 1.5
 Sheet pile should be driven deeper t

cu Nc
FS = ≥ 1.5
2c t
γ H+q− a
Β
as ca = soil adhesion = α cu
α = 0.35 to 1.0 (soft)

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Base Stability:
Cohesionless Soils:
- Base heave due to B.C. failure is not critical.
- Base heave is more critical due to upward seepage.
i crit
FS = ≥2
i exit
γ sub
as i crit =
γw
iexit from flow analysis or see chart

## If FS against piping < 2

1-Sheet pile should be driven
deeper to limit iexit
Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls
Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Base Stability:
Cohesionless Soils:

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Base Stability:
Cohesionless Soils: GWT
H
2- Cutoff penetrates into Sand

impermeable layer
hw
d1 γ1 t
γ1d1 + γ 2 d 2
FS = ≥ 1.1 d2 γ2 Clay
γw hw
γwhw Sand

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
Base Stability:
Cohesionless Soils: GWT
H
3- Cutoff by means of grout plug Sand

hw
d γ1 t
γ1d γwhw
FS = ≥ 1.1
γw hw

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
depends on:
- wall height.
- soil type below bottom of cut.
- elapsed time between excavation and placement of
wales and struts.
- stiffness of wall.

## - lateral yielding will cause ground surface to settle.

- sheet pile is driven to a certain depth below bottom
of excavation to reduce lateral yielding of wall (δh).

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
- Lateral yield (δh) induces ground settlement (δv).
- Prediction of ground settlement in various types of
soil (see Figure).

## Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls

Cairo University
5. Strutted Sheet Pile Walls
For Cohesionless Soils:
δh(max) = 0.2% H
if bracings are installed as soon as support levels are reached.

## Means of Reducing Movements:

- unsupported depth of wall between supports can be decreased by using more levels of
bracings.
- top braces should be placed as high as possible
- vertical spacing of 2.5 m between strut levels is minimum with 4 to 5 m being max.
- unsupported depth of wall can be reduced by use of soil berms.
- if stiff layer lies below clay layer, wall should be embedded in the stiff layer. This will
greatly reduce lateral yield.
Faculty of Engineering Sheet Pile Walls
Cairo University