Development of database and guidelines for the earthquake resistant design of cantilever retaining walls

A. M. Harraz, A. Fafitis, W. N. Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In recent years there have been several failures of retaining walls during earthquakes, suggesting that these structures were not designed for seismic loading or that the dynamic earth pressure exerted on such structures are different from those assumed by traditional theories. Current practice for the earthquake design of retaining walls is generally based on design rules suggested in a comprehensive paper by Seed and Whitman. However there are some indications that these rules may be unconservative for cantilever walls. The primary objective of this paper is to study the effect of the main design parameters on the elastic and plastic deflection of concrete cantilever retaining walls, under undamped seismic loading. The design parameters studied in this paper are the soil angle of internal friction, the modulus of the soil, the frictional coefficient between the wall and the soil, and the coefficient of at-rest lateral earth pressure, and the type of earthquake record (exciting motion). To evaluate the behavior of the wall under seismic loads, a finite element model has been developed (using ABAQUS), and the time histories of the vertical normal stresses and moments at critical sections of the wall has been studied. A parametric study has been conducted to develop a database and guidelines for the design of reinforced concrete cantilever retaining walls against seismic loads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-356
Number of pages12
JournalStructures and Materials
StatePublished - 2002
EventSeventh International Conference on Structures Under Shock and Impact, SUSI VII - Montreal, Que, Canada
Duration: May 27 2002May 29 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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