A Parametric Study of Interface Characteristics in a
Buttress Retaining Wall

 

Qiang-Xie

Faculty of Civil Engineering, Chonqing University, Chongqing, China, 40004 Centro de Geotecnia, Instituto Superior Tecnico Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, 1049-001; e-mail: xieqiang2000@hotmail.com

Carlos Dinis da Gama

Centro de Geotecnia, Instituto Superior Tecnico Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, 1049-001
e-mail: dgama@ist.utl.pt

Xianbin-Yu

Kunming University of Science and Technology,Kunming, China, 650093

Yuxin-Chen

Centro de Geotecnia, Instituto Superior Tecnico Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, 1049-001
e-mail: cyxcfz@yahoo.com

 

 ABSTRACT

A parametric study was carried out to investigate the collapse of a buttress retaining wall that occurred at Malveira, Portugal. Typical values of interface properties for retaining wall problems are discussed, as well as the influence of friction, cohesion, normal and shear stiffness at the interface between the wall and soil. Results show that for this interface, the greater the friction angle is, the more the retaining wall inclines, and so does the cohesion along the interface. However, the influence of cohesion on the deformation of soil behind the wall is greater and more sensitive than that of the friction angle. The normal and shear stiffness also have significant effects upon the analysis results. A definite cause of instability happens when shear stiffness is low to maintain continuity of displacements between the wall and the retained soil. Reasonable values of stiffness are dependent on the properties of both the soil and the retaining wall. Main findings of this study are related to the advantages of using interface elements for accurately simulate the real behavior of buttress retaining walls, which indicate that the main cause of the observed collapse was due to a difference in depth with respect to the design documents, and no field measures were taken to improve the safety factor against overturning.

Keywords: buttress retaining wall; collapse; parametric study; interface elements

Get the entire paper (pdf)    Go back to the TOC