Uncertainties of Shear Forces and Bending Moments in Retaining Wall Due to Earthquake Loading

  • Vidhi Rasik Solanki
  • Prajakta Jadhav
  • Amit PrashantEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 55)


The section design of a cantilever retaining wall stem requires factored shear forces and bending moments. Conventional design philosophies have adopted pseudostatic force based approach for the design of wall stem under seismic loading. This approach depends upon the selection of a suitable horizontal seismic coefficient (kh). The primary aim of this study is to develop understanding of the uncertainties involved with respect to this seismic coefficient. A non-linear finite element model of cantilever retaining wall placed on medium dense sand has been developed in GiD and dynamic analysis has been performed in OpenSees. Four different earthquake motions with peaks concentrated over a certain time interval and peaks distributed for a larger duration of time have been selected for the analysis. These ground motion records have been scaled to 0.36 g PGA consistent with zone V. The forces and moments computed from dynamic analysis have been compared with those calculated using conventional pseudostatic force based methodologies to understand the influence of inappropriate selection of kh value in design. Also, the uncertainty involved with respect to the location of the point of action of the dynamic increment has also been studied. The influence of this uncertainty has been reflected in the prediction of design moments. The study aims to evoke the need for modification in the current design philosophy which can efficiently capture these uncertainties with respect to seismic loading.


Cantilever retaining wall Pseudostatic force based approach Horizontal seismic coefficient OpenSees Uncertainties 



The authors would sincerely like to thank Prof. Dhiman Basu, IIT Gandhinagar and Prof. Durgesh C. Rai, IIT Kanpur for their valuable guidance in this study.


  1. 1.
    Okabe S (1926) General theory of earth pressure. J Jpn Soc Civ Eng, Tokyo, Jpn 12(1)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mononobe N (1929) On determination of earth pressure during earthquake. In: Proceedings of World Engineering Congress, vol 9, pp 177–185Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bray JD, Travasarou T, Zupan J (2010) Seismic displacement design of earth retaining structures. In: Earth retention conference, vol 3, pp 638-655Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kolay C, Prashant A, Jain SK (2013) Nonlinear dynamic analysis and seismic coefficient for abutments and retaining walls. Earthq Spectra 29(2):427–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Mononobe N, Matsuo M (1932) Experimental investigation of lateral earth pressure during earthquakes. Earthq Res Inst Res Off Public Work 884:902Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Seed HB, Whitman RV (1970) Design of earth retaining structures for dynamic loads. In: ASCE specialty conference, lateral stresses in the ground and design of earth retaining structures. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, pp 103–147Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Elms DG, Richards R (1979) Seismic design of gravity retaining walls. University of CanterburyGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Al Atik L, Sitar N (2010) Seismic earth pressures on cantilever retaining structures. J Geotech Geoenvironmental Eng 136(10):1324–1333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Noda S, Uwabe T, Chiba T (1975) Relation between seismic coefficient and ground acceleration for gravity quaywall. Rep Port Harb Res Inst 14(4)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Towhata I (2008) Geotechnical earthquake engineering. Springer Science & Business MediaGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Standards Australia AS 4678-2002 Earth retaining structures StandardsGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    New Zealand NZS 1170.5:2004 Structural design actions. Part 5 Earthquake actions—New ZealandGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Withiam JL, Voytko EP, Barker RM, Duncan JM, Kelly BC, Musser SC, Elias V (1998) Load and resistance factor design (LRFD) for highway bridge substructures. Report FHWA HI-98-032. Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    FEMA, No. 454 (2006) Designing for earthquakes. A manual for architects. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Building seismic safety Council. Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER), NGA database. Accessed March 2018
  16. 16.
    SeismoSoft (2017) SeismoSignal, v. 3.2.0, Last accessed March 2018)

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vidhi Rasik Solanki
    • 1
  • Prajakta Jadhav
    • 1
  • Amit Prashant
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Technology GandhinagarGandhinagarIndia

Personalised recommendations