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"Important NOTE!!!" Information Provided On This Website Is Intended For... "GENERAL INFORMATION
ONLY!!!" And Must Be Only Be Used Only As A "GUIDE!!!" It Must Not Be Used For Decision Making, Or
Be Used For Any Building Purposes Or Legal Proceedings. Refer To Our Policies On This Website.


RETAINING WALL DESIGN

The purpose of a retaining wall is to stabilize earth which will otherwise cave in or slide towards a more natural slope.

A badly designed retaining wall is a disaster waiting to happen.

It is imperative that a retaining wall, must not only be designed properly, it must also be constructed
properly.

A retaining wall should be considered primarily as a load bearing structure & aesthetics is only secondary.

Proper drainage must be provided to reduce the hydrostatic pressure of ground water behind the wall.

The type of retaining wall design depends on lateral earth pressure, soil and drainage conditions.

There are many types of retaining walls such as:

* Gravity
* Cantilever
* Sheet piling
* Anchored

GRAVITY:
 
A gravity type retaining wall depends on its weight to hold it in place.

It may be provided with a batter setback to enable it to have greater stability against the lateral soil pressure.

Gravity retaining walls are built from concrete, stones or any suitable heavy materials. The choice of
materials to a large extent depends on site conditions.

For short landscaping walls, where the lateral soil pressure is not very high, it can be built from motarless stone or masonry units.

Since dry stacked retaining walls are flexible to some extent, even in frost prone areas, they do not need a
rigid base.

The use of large quantities of stone or concrete for tall gravity retaining walls has been replaced with composite gravity retaining walls.

These walls are made of synthetic materials, pre-cast facing, gibbons, crib walls, soil nailed walls etc.

CANTILEVER:

A cantilever type gravity wall is usually in the shape of an 'L' or inverted 'T'. It is made using reinforced concrete.

A cantilever retaining wall works by converting the lateral soil pressure pushing against the wall, into vertical
pressure which acts on the ground below.

At times a cantilever retaining wall will be provided with a buttress in front and a counter fort on the rear
side for better stability against high loads.

A cantilever wall requires proper concrete footing which has to be located below frost depth.

The advantage of a cantilever wall is that, for the same loads, it uses much less material than a gravity retaining wall.

The disadvantage is that a proper foundation has to be provided and hence excavation of the soil is
necessary.

SHEET PILING:

These types of retaining walls are used where the space is limited and the soil is soft. The sheet pile walls
are usually built out of steel, vinyl or wood planks.

As a thumb rule, the material is driven into the ground up to 2/3rd of its depth.

However, this depends on the site conditions and may vary somewhat.

To hold taller sheet pile retaining walls in place, a tie-back anchor or 'dead man', has to be placed in the
soil behind the wall. It is tied to the wall by using a cable or rod.

Care should be taken to place the tie back anchor behind the potential failure plane of the soil. This will enhance the stability of the sheet piling.

ANCHORED:

An anchored retaining wall can be any of the other types of retaining wall, but the difference lies in the fact additional strength is imparted by using cables or stays, which are anchored in the soil or rock behind the
wall.

The anchor end is driven into the soil or rock by boring and it is expanded using mechanical means or by
the injection of pressurized concrete.

This gives a bulb shape to the anchor end and helps it to be held in place.

The advantage of this type of retaining wall is that it can withstand high loads, but at the same time the wall can be slender.

The Other Alternative Retaining Techniques Available Are:

* Soil nailing - in this method, retaining walls are reinforced using reinforcing bars.

* Soil-strengthened - in this type the lateral earth pressure itself is reduced by various methods.

It is usually used in combination with other types of retaining walls.

* Gabion meshes - here soil is strengthened by using wire mesh boxes, filled with stones or any other material.

It helps in reducing internal forces and erosive forces.
 Retaining walls play a major part in construction.

A poorly designed and constructed retaining wall will collapse sooner or later and it can endanger other buildings or structures in the vicinity.

In many places building a retaining wall, greater than a certain height, requires permission/certification.

Generally a factor of safety of 1.5 is incorporated into the design of the retaining wall.

A properly designed and constructed retaining wall will have a long service life.


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"Important NOTE!!!" Information Provided On This Website Is Intended For... "GENERAL INFORMATION
ONLY!!!" And Must Be Only Be Used Only As A "GUIDE!!!" It Must Not Be Used For Decision Making, Or
Be Used For Any Building Purposes Or Legal Proceedings. Refer To Our Policies On This Website.

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