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Soil study for retaining structures

Gravity wall (RC wall, gabions, modular, reinforced earth, etc.), self-stable wall or with tiebacks (sheetpiling, diaphragm wall, Berlin wall, etc.), nailed wall, verifying the stability of a retaining structure involves ensuring that:

  • it doesn’t topple
  • it doesn’t slide on its base
  • it doesn’t dig in to the ground
  • it isn’t carried away by a major landslip
  • that its internal structure withstands the various stresses
  • that any fixings (tiebacks and nails) withstand tensile stresses
  • deformations, subsidence, and movements are compatible with its functions
  • the conditions for carrying out the work are compatible with the site context

Gabion gravity wall

Hence retaining structure geotechnical surveys yield the following characteristics:

  • failure and deformability parameters of the various formations encountered beneath the bed
  • skin friction parameters for the walls and any anchors,
  • deformability parameters of the formations being supported
  • soil shear parameters (cohesion and angle of friction, inherent and/or residual)
  • underground water circulation conditions
  • specific soil behaviour parameters (swelling, shrinkage, liquefaction, aggressiveness, etc.)

Some recent references:

Thrust Stop Deformation Puncturing of the support

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In the Beginning… There is the Earth