Footing-Induced Soil Pressure around Box Culverts


Mien Jao

Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Lamar University, Beaumont, TX, USA

Faisal Ahmed

Graduate Assistant, Department of Civil Engineering
Lamar University, Beaumont, TX, USA

Huzefa M. Nulwala

Graduate Civil Engineer
LopezGarcia Group, Houston, TX, USA

Mian C. Wang

Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA



When box culverts are located under engineering structures, the overlying foundation loading may induce considerable soil pressure on the culverts causing excessive culvert deformation. To minimize possible adverse effect of foundation loading on the culvert performance, the soil pressures induced by the foundation loading need to be properly considered. In this study, the finite element method of analysis developed based on the elasto-plasticity theory was used to analyze soil pressures on square reinforced concrete box culverts induced by overlying strip footings. Variables considered in the analysis were culvert size, location, and wall thickness. Based on the results of analysis, the distributions of vertical soil pressure on the vertical planes through culvert center as well as culvert edge, and on the horizontal plane through top of culvert were obtained. Also obtained was the normal soil pressure distribution along culvert periphery. It is concluded that the soil pressure distribution around box culverts induced by the overlying footings is strongly dependent on soil-culvert interactions. Thus, an optimal structural design of box culverts may require iteration procedures. The results of study have provided an insight into soil-culvert interaction mechanism. More data are needed, however, not only for better understanding of the interaction mechanism but also for the development of a rational method for structural design of square box culverts overlain by strip footings.

Keywords: Box culverts, strip footings, soil pressure, elasto-plastic analysis, finite element method.


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