Concrete Retaining Wall Design

ASDIP RETAIN is an engineering software that performs the structural design of retaining walls, such as piled / unpiled cantilever retaining walls, basement retaining walls, and counterfort retaining walls. 


Below are listed some blog posts that we have published with the best content about concrete retaining wall design.

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What is Retaining Wall Design?

Retaining walls are structures designed to bound soils between two different elevations. A retaining wall is mainly exposed to lateral pressures from the retained soil plus any other surcharge. A typical retaining wall is composed of four main components: the Stem, the Toe at the front of the wall, the Heel at the backfill side, and the Shear Key.

In addition to the backfill lateral pressure, a retaining wall may be exposed to a different types of surcharges, concentrated loads on top of the stem, wind pressures, and seismic loads in case that the wall is located in a seismic region. The calculation of the earth lateral pressures is particularly important. A retaining wall may be supported on soil, or it may be supported on piles. 

The Retaining Wall Design Process

The retaining wall design process consists of two stages. The first stage is the stability check of the whole structure for different failure modes such as Overturning, Sliding, Soil Bearing, and Global Instability. The second stage is the structural design of the different components, which consists on the calculation of the required reinforcement to produce an adequate bending and shear strength.

For example, the stability of a cantilever retaining wall will depend on the resisting gravity forces to counteract the overturning moment. A shear key may be necessary to prevent the sliding failure. The calculation of the required rebars will produce the required flexural and shear strength at each component. The stem material identifies either a concrete retaining wall or a block retaining wall.

A basement wall is restrained laterally at the top, therefore the overturning failure is not a concern. However the sliding capacity may be a problem, particularly if the water table is high. The stem may have both positive and negative moments, so the reinforcement design should consider the moment diagram.

For tall retaining walls it may be more economical to design a counterfort retaining wall. It consists of a series of transverse cantilever members regularly spaced that stiffen the stem. The stability of this system is similar to a cantilever retaining wall, but the stem will act as a slab spanning horizontally between the counterforts.

ASDIP RETAIN includes the design of all these types of retaining walls described above. The ASDIP team has published a series of blog posts on a regular basis covering many technical topics related to the retaining wall design. Our philosophy is to provide the engineering community in general, and particularly our customers, the required tools to complete the structural design tasks effectively in less time and with less effort. You are invited to download the 15-day free trial using the buttons below.