A Coulomb-type Solution for Backfills under a Line of Inclined Surcharge


Venanzio R. Greco


The active thrust on retaining walls, when a line of surcharge acts on the backfill is currently calculated using an analytical hybrid method, where simultaneously the backfill soil is considered to be in the active state of failure, to calculate the thrust in absence of the surcharge, and in the elastic state, to calculate the thrust increment due to the surcharge. The method of Coulomb permits us, however, to obtain a coherent solution of the problem, through a numerical solution. However, with respect to a numerical solution, an analytical one is clearly preferable if available. Following Coulomb's approach, this paper gives the analytical solution of the active thrust on retaining walls, when a line of inclined surcharge acts on the wedge behind the wall. The position of the active thrust is also given in a simple analytical form.

KEYWORDS: Active earth pressure, Retaining walls, Stability analysis, Coulomb's method, Limit equilibrium, Effect of surcharges.

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