Performance of retaining walls with and without sound wall under seismic loads

  • Mock, Erin (Alta Vista Solutions, Inc.) ;
  • Cheng, Lijuan (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California)
  • Received : 2014.05.09
  • Accepted : 2014.05.21
  • Published : 2014.12.25


The seismic characteristics of two semi-gravity reinforced concrete cantilever retaining walls are examined via an experimental program using an outdoor shake table (one with and the other without concrete masonry sound wall on top). Both walls are backfilled with compacted soil and supported on flexible foundation in a steel soil container. The primary damages during both tests are associated with significant lateral displacements of the wall caused by lateral earth pressure; however, no collapse occurs during the tests. The pressure distribution behind the walls has a nonlinear trend and conventional methods such as Mononobe-Okabe are insufficient for accurate pressure estimation.


Supported by : California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)


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