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IGS Mumbai Chapter & IIT Bombay

Research Scholar Associate Professor,

E-mail: ameykatdare@iitb.ac.in E-mail: dc@civil.iitb.ac.in

ABSTRACT

Knowledge of seismic earth pressure is very important for design of retaining structures in the earthquake prone

areas. Knowledge of the wave theories play an important role in the estimation of the additional seismic destabilizing

forces. Many researchers have developed several methods for the calculation of earth pressure and design of

retaining walls in earthquake prone areas. Pseudo-static and pseudo-dynamic methods are most popularly used

methods in geotechnical engineering practice. The results obtained by researchers show the advantage of pseudo-

dynamic method over conventional pseudo-static method. In the present paper an overview of the available analytical

solutions for seismic analysis of retaining structures with merits and demerits of each methods and the comparison

between the different methods are expressed in detail.

Determination of seismic earth pressure plays a vital role Since this method works easily with static calculation, it is

in the analysis and design of retaining structures in still widely used. Figure 1 is an example of slope stability

earthquake prone area. Pseudo-static and pseudo-dynamic analysis.

methods are most popularly used methods in geotechnical

engineering practice which play an important role in the

estimation of the additional seismic destabilizing forces. K*W

Mononobe and Okabe used the first explicit application of

pseudo-static approach for retaining wall in 1926 and 1929.

This paper describes the methods for the analysis and design

Weight W

of the earth retaining structures for seismic activity. Also,

it summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of these Fig. 1: Example of Elementary Seismic Slope Stability

methods. Analysis (Towahata, 2008)

the DAlemberts principle of mechanics. When a base of

In 1920s, the seismic stability of earth structures was a structure has an acceleration of A, the effects of this

analysed by a pseudo-static approach in which the effects shaking to the overlying structure is equivalent to a forceof

of an earthquake were represented by constant horizontal (A/g)*W in the opposite direction from the acceleration

and/or vertical accelerations. The pseudo-static method is (Fig. 2); g stands for the acceleration due to gravity.

the very old method to design facilities against earthquake

effects. The first explicit application of the pseudo-static

approach to the analysis of seismic of seismic slope stability

has been attributed to Mononobe and Okabe in 1929. But Static Inertia

the details of the pseudo-static approach for slope stability Force = AW/g

analysis were described by Terzaghi (1950) (see Kramer,

1996). This method statically applies a force to a designed

facility (pseudo-static method). The magnitude of this force

is specified to be K*W in which K is called the seismic Acceleration, A

coefficient and W is the weight of the facility. Before this Fig. 2: DAlemberts Principle of Mechanics (Towahata, 2008)

204 A.D. Katdare and D. Choudhury

Thus, the seismic coefficient of K appears to be propagation behind a retaining wall. This method also

equivalent to A/g. considers the effects of horizontal and vertical seismic

The value of K depends on the region, seismic activity, accelerations as time, frequency and amplification

and importance of facilities, local geology and soil conditions. dependent parameters for seismic design of retaining

Different countries have different values of K. Today, the structures. Steedman and Zend (1990) devised this method

value of K in Japan is 0.15-0.2 or greater (Towahata, 2008). to overcome the drawbacks of the pseudo-static method. a

The method of seismic coefficient is still in use because vertical rigid retaining wall supporting a particular value

it is simple and the factor of safety can be calculated by the of soil friction angle () and a particular value of seismic

same way as the conventional static stress calculation. No horizontal acceleration (khg, where g is the acceleration

advanced analysis is therefore necessary. It made a great due to gravity) has been considered.

contribution to the improvement of seismic safety. But, the Choudhury & Nimbalkar (2005) modified this method

problems lying in the seismic coefficient are as follows: by considering the effect of vertical seismic acceleration.

1. The real seismic force is cyclic, changing in Authors also studied the effects of a wide range of

direction with time, and its time duration is limited. parameters like wall friction angle, soil friction angle, shear

In contrast, the seismic coefficient method applies wave velocity, primary wave velocity and horizontal and

a force in a static manner. This seismic force vertical seismic accelerations on seismic active earth

overestimates the risk of earthquake failure. pressure. They also considered that the shear modulus (G)

2. Representation of the complex, transient, dynamic is constant with depth of a retaining wall throughout

effects of earthquake shaking by single constant thebackfill and only the phase and not the magnitude of

unidirectional pseudostatic acceleration is vey accelerations are varying along the depth of the wall.

crude. The major conclusions of their work was that the

3. At the time of 1994 Northridge earthquake near Los pseudo-dynamic method gives more realistic non-linear

Angeles, the maximum horizontal acceleration of seismic active earth pressure distribution behind the

1.8g or possibly 1.9g was recorded at Tarzana site. retaining wall (Fig.3) as compared to the MononobeOkabe

Within tens of meters from the accelerometer here, method using pseudo-static approach.

a small hut did not suffer damage (Towahata, 2008).

Was this structure well designed against a

horizontal static force as intense as 1.8 times its

weight?

4. Thus, the relation between K and the maximum

Fig. 3: Model Retaining Wall Considered by Choudhury and

ground acceleration is not clear. Acceleration of

Nimbalkar (2006) for Computation of Pseudo Dynamic Active

1.9g does not mean K = 1.9. Study on seismic

Earth Pressure

damage of quay walls led Noda et al. (1975) to

propose Again, in a similar way, Choudhury and Nimbalkar

1

(2008) developed the theory to estimate the seismic passive

Amax 3 earth pressure by using the pseudo-dynamic approach. But

k=

g

/3 (1) the work done by Choudhury and Nimbalkar (2005) did

not consider the effect of soil amplication on both the

where A max is the maximum horizontal shear and primary waves to compute the seismic earth

acceleration. pressures for both the active and passive cases. In this work,

Besides the shortcomings of the method, the method they have considered the amplification of the soil. The

is used because of its simplicity. The method is simple and formulae are modified as,

straight forward, also has a similarity with limit state

Hz H z

equilibrium analysis which is routinely conducted by a h ( z , t ) = 1 + ( f a 1)k h g sin t

Geotechnical Engineers. Also, the computations are easy H V s (2)

to understand and perform. However, that the accuracy of

Hz H z

the pseudo-static approach is governed by accuracy with a v ( z , t ) = 1 + ( f a 1)k v g sin t (3)

which the simple pseudo-static inertial forces represent the H V ps

complex dynamic inertial forces that actually exist in an

Where Vs and Vp are shear and primary wave velocities

earthquake.

respectively.

3. THE PSEUDO-DYNAMIC METHOD H

It is an improvised method which considers the phase

difference due to finite shear and primary waves

Qha t = ma ( z )a h ( z , t )dz

0

(4)

A Critical Study on Seismic Design of Retaining Structures 205

It was observed that effects of the soil parameters are seismic passive earth pressure coefficients and their points

more pronounced on the passive state of seismic earth of application with corresponding critical failure surfaces

pressure compared to that for the active state. have been determined in this work for different values of

Shafiee et al. (2010) performed the pseudo-static soil friction angles, wall friction angles and wall batter

analysis for the seismic passive earth thrust on retaining angles. Moreover, the effect of seismic accelerations both

walls with cohesive backfills. The model is shown in in the horizontal and vertical directions have been studied.

Figure 4. While doing so, method of slices has been considered,

considering pseudo-static seismic forces. It is observed that

in presence of higher seismic force, even for vertical wall,

the pressure distribution is vertical and the convexity or

concavity of the pressure distribution depends on the wall

batter angle and the magnitude of the seismic acceleration

coefficients.

Psarropoulos et al. (2005) calculated seismic earth

Fig. 4: Model Considered by Shafiee et al. (2010)

pressures on rigid and flexible retaining walls. Authors have

developed a more general finite-element method of solution.

A rigid retaining wall AB has been considered in this In this study the numerical verification of the Veletsos and

study with cohesive backfill as an improvent over earlier Younan (1997) has been done, so as to validate the

studies which consider cohesionless backfill. The slip assumption and define the range of applicability.

surface has been considered to be planer. The final

expression for the seismic passive earth resistance has been

given as,

2 3

x1 + x 2 x3 a h

* tan ( + ) 1 H H H

Ppe = 3 (5)

8 tan

2 3

2 tan

+ H y1 + H y 2 H y 3

+ a v tan ( + ) + c* [tan ( + ) + cot ]

Fig. 5: Analytical Model Considered by Choudhury

In which term c*[tan( + ) + cot ] represents total et al. (2002)

passive force corresponding to backfill cohesion. Major

observation was the backfill cohesion has an increasing Presuming plane-strain conditions, the numerical

effect on Ppe. Also, the effect of amplifaction factor on the analysis was two-dimensional, and was performed using

passive force has been found to be negligible. the commercial finite-element package ABAQUS.

The analysis has been performed for two cases viz. for

4. OTHER METHODS homogeneous and non- homogeneous soils. The results

Jain and Scott (1989) analysed the cantilever retaining walls agree with results obtained by Veletsos and Younan (1997).

treating them as Euller-Bernoulli beam. The cantilever wall Shukla et al. (2010) gave another method to calculate

is converted as Euler-Bernoulli beam connected to the soil seismic active earth pressure on rigid and flexible retaining

backfill, modelled by a shear beam, through Winkler wall. Authors have described the derivation of an analytical

springs. Actually, this is a simple linear model for seismic expression for the total active force on the retaining wall

analysis of flexible cantilever retaining walls. Analysis has for c- soil backfill considering both the horizontal and

been carried out with for wall and soil properties (EI, m,

vertical seismic coefficients. The results are found to show

k ,G and ) with depth. The wall is assumed to be fixed at

good agreement with results of previous researchers. Figure

the base for simplicity. Then expressions for free and forced

6 explains the same.

vibrations are derived. Which are used to calculate the

moments. These moments are higher than Mononobe-

Okabe method, sighting Mononobe-Okabe methods

limitation.

Wang (2000) used a method of horizontal slices for

determining the active earth pressure distribution for static

case for a rigid vertical retaining wall with horizontal

backfill. Choudhury et al. (2002) extended Wangs

approach for determining the seismic passive earth pressure Fig. 6: (a) Trial Failure Wedge and (b) Force Polygon

distribution for a rigid inclined retaining wall supporting Considered by Shukla et al. (2010)

cohesionless backfill. The model is shown in Figure 5. The

206 A.D. Katdare and D. Choudhury

Atik and Sitar (2010) studied the seismic earth pressures Choudhury, D., Subba Rao, K. S. and Ghosh, S. (2002).

on cantilever retaining structures. They had an experimental Passive earth pressure distribution under seismic

and analytical program designed and conducted to evaluate condition, 15th Engineering Mechanics Conference of

the magnitude and distribution of seismically induced lateral ASCE, Columbia University, New York.

earth pressures on cantilever retaining structures with dry Choudhury, D. and Subba Rao, K. S. (2002). Seismic passive

medium dense sand backfill. It was observed that dynamic earth resistance for negative wall friction, Canadian

earth pressures and inertia forces do not act simultaneously Geotechnical Journal, 39(5), 971981.

on the cantilever retaining walls. Das, B. M. (1993). Principles of Soil Dynamics, PWS-KENT

As a result, designing cantilever retaining walls for Publishing Company, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

maximum dynamic earth pressure increment and maximum Jain, S. K. and Scott, R. F. (1989). Seismic Analysis of

wall inertia, as is the current practice, is overly conservative Cantilever Retaining Walls, Transactions of the 10th

and does not reflect the true seismic response of the wall- International Conference on Structural Mechanics in

backfill system Lew et al. (2010) have briefly reviewed the Reactor Technology, Anaheim, USA, 241 - 246.

theories which are related to seismic earth pressures based

on available literature. Also, they have supported this study Kramer, S. L. (1996). Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering,

with their practical experiences in this field. References from Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

California Building Code, NEHRP, ASCE-SEI-7/05, and Lew, M., Sitar, N. and Linda, A. A. (2010). Seismic earth

International Building Code have been referred to arrive at pressures: Fact or fiction, Earth Retention Conference,

a conclusion that, current design practice for seismic earth 656-671.

pressures on building basement walls is conservative, Mononobe, N. and Matsuo, H. (1929). On the determination

uneconomical, and perhaps unnecessary. In addition, authors of earth pressures during earthquakes, Proceeding of the

have explained practical experiences from around the world World Engineering Congress, Vol. 9, 177-185.

to support their observations from literature. Experience Nimbalkar S. S. and Choudhury D. (2008). Effects of body

showed that many walls performed structurally well during waves and soil amplification on seismic earth pressures,

earthquakes and failure was due to loss of strength of soil due Journal of Earthquake and Tsunami, 2(1), 3352.

to liquefaction of any other reason. Noda, S. Uwabe, T. and Chiba, T. (1975). Relation between

5. CONCLUSIONS seismic coefficient and ground acceleration for gravity

quaywall , Report of the Port and Harbor Research

1. Pseudo-static method considers the dynamic force

as a steady, onedirectional force, which makes it Institute, Vol. 14, No. 4. (in Japanese).

least accurate method among other methods. Okabe, S. (1926). General theory of earth pressure, Journal

2. But because of its simplicity and easiness it is of the Japanese Society of Civil Engineers, 12(1).

widely practiced by Geotechnical Engineers. Psarropoulos, P. N., Klonaris, G. and Gazetas, G. (2005).

3. Pseudo-dynamic method considers the time Seismic earth pressures on rigid and flexible retaining

dependant nature of the earthquake force. Hence walls, Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 25,

has more accuracy as compared with pseudo static 795809.

methods. Shafiee, A. H., Eskandarinejad A., Jahanandish, M., (2010).

Seismic passive earth thrust on retaining walls with

REFERENCES cohesive backfills using pseudo-dynamic approach,

Atik, A. L. and Sitar, N. (2010). Seismic earth pressures Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Vol.28, 528-535.

on cantilever retaining structures, Journal of Shukla, S. K., Gupta, S. K., Sivakugan, N., (2010). Active

Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering earth pressure on retaining wall for c-f soil backfill under

ASCE, 136(10), 13241333. seismic loading condition, Journal of Geotechnical and

Barkan, D. D. (1962). Dynamics of Bases and Foundations. Geoenvironmental Engineering, ASCE, 135(5), 690-696.

McGraw Hill Book Co., New York, USA. Steedman, R. S., and Zeng, X. (1990). The influence of phase

Choudhury, D. and Nimbalkar, S. (2005). Seismic passive on the calculation of pseudo-static earth pressure on a

resistance by pseudo-dynamic method, Geotechnique, retaining wall, Geotechnique, 40(1), 103-112.

55(9), 699702. Towhata, I. (2008). Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering,

Choudhury, D. and Nimbalkar, S. S. (2006). Pseudo- Springer, Tokyo, Japan.

dynamic approach of seismic active earth pressure Veletsos, A., S. and Younan, A. H. (1997). Dynamic response

behind retaining wall, Geotechnical and Geological of cantilever retaining walls, Journal of Geotechnical and

Engineering Springer 24(5), 11031113. Geoenvironmental Engineering Division, ASCE , 123(2),

Choudhury, D., Sitharam, T. G. and Subba Rao, K. S. 16172.

(2004). Seismic design of earth- retaining structures Wang, Y. Z. (2000). Distribution of earth pressure on a

and foundations, Current Science, 87(10), 14171425. retaining wall, Geotechnique, 50(1), 83- 88.

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