A finite element study for seismic structural and global stability of cantilever-type retaining walls

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    Abstract

    This paper numerically investigates the structural and global stability of a cantilever-type retaining wall under seismic loading. A new and robust approach is proposed to compute the seismic earth pressure behind the stem, and along a virtual plane passing the heel, of the wall. The results show that under different earthquake characteristics and wall geometries, the seismic earth pressure forces may be out of phase, leading to different seismic responses of the wall. The critical scenario for the structural stability is observed when the maximum acceleration is directed towards the backfill soil, and the earthquake frequency content is close to the natural frequency of the wall. Differently, the critical scenario for the global stability occurs when the maximum acceleration is directed with minimum frequency content. Also, for the global stability, the natural frequency of the wall does not affect its stability. The duration of the applied earthquake acceleration does affects the global stability of the wall, while the structural stability remains unaffected by it. Differently from the current understanding, the possibility of failure of a cantilever-type retaining wall by horizontal sliding is remarkably increased with time of the applied earthquake acceleration.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Geomechanics
    Early online date16 Aug 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Keywords

    • seismic stability analyses
    • relative displacement
    • wall
    • backfill and stem seismic inertia forces
    • shear force and bending moment
    • seismic earth pressure increment

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