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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2018, Article ID 9892376, 7 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/9892376
Research Article

A Computational Method of Active Earth Pressure from Finite Soil Body

1Department of Civil Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400045, China
2Key Laboratory of New Technology for Construction of Cities in Mountain Area, Chongqing University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing 400045, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Jiangong Chen; moc.qq@830187062

Received 13 December 2017; Revised 14 April 2018; Accepted 17 April 2018; Published 17 May 2018

Academic Editor: Fazal M. Mahomed

Copyright © 2018 Yi Tang and Jiangong Chen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Nowadays, Coulomb and Rankine earth pressure theories have been widely applied to solve the earth pressure on a retaining structure. However, both of the theories established on the basis of the semi-infinite space assumption are not suitable for calculating the earth pressure from finite soil body. Therefore, this paper focuses on a theoretical study about the active earth pressure from finite soil body. Firstly, a common calculation model of finite soil body is established according to the results of previous studies. And then, based on Coulomb’s theory and the wedge element method, an analytical solution of the unit active earth pressure from finite soil body is deduced without an assumption of its linear distribution in advance. Meanwhile, formulas of the active earth pressure strength coefficient and the application point of the resultant force are also deduced. Finally, the influence of parameters such as the frictional angle between the retaining wall back and backfill, slope angle of backfill, dip angle of the retaining wall back, the frictional angle between backfill and rock slope, and uniformly applied load on the backfill surface on the distribution of the unit active earth pressure and the application point of the resultant force is analyzed in detail.

1. Introduction

With wide applications of retaining walls in engineering, there have been more and more researches on the retaining walls. The methods to determine the active pressure on a retaining wall constitute a classical topic of soil mechanics [1]. Many scholars have studied this topic, and Coulomb and Rankine earth pressure theory are the most classical theories [24]. However, both of the theories are established on the basis of semi-infinite space assumption, which does not conform to actual conditions of many projects. When the retaining walls built in mountainous areas are often close to rock slope, which leads backfill behind the wall to form finite soil body, it is not suitable to calculate the earth pressure from finite soil body by Coulomb’s and Rankine’s theory. There are more and more problems about finite soil body in the design and construction of actual projects, but only a small number of scholars have conducted a preliminary study on them. According to the previous soil arch theory, Take and Valsangkar do an extensive series of centrifuge model tests to evaluate the use of flexible subminiature pressure cells and measure lateral earth pressures behind retaining walls of narrow backfill width [5]. Kniss et al. investigate the earth pressure against walls in narrow spaces using the finite element method [6]. Yang and Liu present finite element analyses of earth pressures in narrow retaining walls for both at-rest and active conditions, and the predicted data show a favorable agreement with measured data from centrifuge tests [7]. Fan and Fang present a numerical study on the behaviour of active earth pressures behind a rigid retaining wall with limited backfill space of various geometries [8]. On the basis of the limit equilibrium method with planar slip surfaces, Greco presents an analytical method to obtain a solution for the active thrust exerted by backfill of narrow width on gravity retaining walls [9]. Greco presents a limit equilibrium method, for calculating the active thrust on fascia retaining walls, where common methods cannot be used owing to the narrowness of the backfill [10].

However, the above achievements are limited and insufficient. Therefore, based on Coulomb’s theory and wedge element method, analytical solutions of the unit active earth pressure from finite soil body and the application point of the resultant force are deduced. Finally, the influence of parameters on the distribution of the unit active earth pressure from finite soil body and the application point of the resultant force is analyzed in detail.

2. Method of Analysis

A retaining wall model of finite soil body is shown in Figure 1. It is a common retaining wall near rock slope, which leads backfill behind the wall to form finite soil body. The retaining wall is a rigid retaining wall of height and inclination with the vertical. The cohesionless backfill surface is inclined at an angle with the horizontal. is the uniform surcharge acting on the ground surface. Rock slope is inclined at an angle with the horizontal.

Figure 1: Schematic drawing of a rigid retaining wall near rock slope.
2.1. Inclination of the Sliding Surface

According to Coulomb’s theory based on semi-infinite space assumption, the inclination of the Coulomb sliding surface is what makes the earth pressure reach the maximum, and it can be obtained when the Coulomb active earth pressure coefficient reaches the maximum as well. For the situation of finite soil body in Figure 1, the inclination of the sliding surface is determined as follows: when is bigger than , backfill slides along the rock slope surface and the inclination of the sliding surface are taken equal to . When is smaller than , the sliding surface is within backfill and the inclination θ of the sliding surface is taken equal to . can be acquired from the following equation.

The expression of the Coulomb active earth pressure coefficient is shown aswhere is the internal friction angle of backfill and is the frictional angle between the back of the wall and backfill. To obtain the critical value of which yields the maximum value of , is set equal to 0.

2.2. Calculation Model

According to Coulomb’s theory, the earth pressure against a retaining wall is due to the thrust exerted by a sliding soil body between the back of the wall and the sliding surface. The sliding soil body is shown as Figure 2. is the inclination of the sliding surface, and its value which is equal to or is determined as the above-mentioned method. ABD, a part of the sliding soil body at a depth above the heel, is taken as an isolated unit for analysis and discussion. Its plane AD is parallel with the ground surface.

Figure 2: Sliding soil body.

Forces analysis on the part wedge ABD of the thrust wedge is shown in Figure 3. is the weight of wedge ABD, and is the uniform vertical pressure on the top of wedge ABD. is the force on the wall, namely, the active earth pressure, and the angle between and the normal of the wall back is the frictional angle between the retaining wall back and backfill. is the force on sliding surface. When the inclination of the sliding surface is equal to , the angle between and the normal of the sliding surface is the internal frictional angle of backfill. When the inclination of the sliding surface is equal to , the angle between and the normal of the sliding surface is the frictional angle between backfill and rock slope. If there is no test data about , is set to be 0.33 times as [11].

Figure 3: Force analysis of the partial sliding wedge ABD.
2.3. Establishment of Fundamental Equations

Figure 4 shows the force polygon considered in wedge ABD. is the resultant force acting on plane AD. According to sine theorem,

Figure 4: Static equilibrium of the partial sliding wedge ABD.

Using the formula of Coulomb’s active earth pressure,where is the unit weight of backfill. is the active earth pressure coefficient, which is written as

Introducing two variables and , is the unit active earth pressure, and is the unit force on failure surface. There are two equations shown as

Putting (3) into the first equation of (5) and, meanwhile, taking a derivative from both sides of the equation with respect to , it can be obtained thatwhere is the unit active earth pressure coefficient. Putting (7) into (6), it can be obtained that

Taking the moment equilibrium equation around the B point on the wedge ABD, it can be obtained that

Putting (2), the second equation of (5), and (7) into (9) and taking a derivative from both sides of the equation with respect to , it can be obtained that where

2.4. Solution of the Basic Equation

According to (8) with (10), the expression of the unit active earth pressure coefficient can be obtained:where .

Letting and solving (8), it can be obtained that

where is an integration constant; it can be determined by the boundary condition that when . It can be written asAccording to (7), the unit active earth pressure can be obtained as

2.5. Application Point of the Resultant Earth Pressure

The height of application point of the resultant earth pressure from the wall bottom is

3. Parametric Study

In this section, when the inclination of the sliding surface is , the influence of dip angle of the retaining wall back, slope angle of backfill, the frictional angle between the retaining wall back and backfill, the frictional angle between backfill and rock slope, and uniformly applied load on the backfill surface on the distribution of the unit active earth pressure and the application point of the resultant force is discussed as follows. , the inclination of the rock slope, is assumed to be 75°. Another condition can refer to [12].

When  m, Kn/m3, and , the active earth pressure distribution and the height of application point of the resultant earth pressure with change in , in , in , in , and in are shown in Figures 514, respectively. As shown in Figure 5, the active earth pressure increases as increases near the heel of the wall; the active earth pressure increases as decreases in other places. As shown in Figure 7, the active earth pressure decreases as increases near the heel of the wall; the active earth pressure increases as increases in other places. From Figures 9 and 11, it can be seen that the active earth pressure increases as and increase, respectively. As shown in Figure 13, the active earth pressure increases in proportion as q0 increases. From Figures 6, 10, and 12, it can be seen that the height of application point of resultant earth pressure decreases as , , and increase, respectively. From Figures 8 and 14, it can be seen that the height of application point of the resultant earth pressure decreases as and increase, respectively.

Figure 5: Distribution of active earth pressure with change in .
Figure 6: Application point of resultant earth pressure with change in .
Figure 7: Distribution of active earth pressure with change in .
Figure 8: Application point of resultant earth pressure with change in .
Figure 9: Distribution of active earth pressure with change in .
Figure 10: Application point of resultant earth change pressure with change in .
Figure 11: Distribution of active earth pressure with change in .
Figure 12: Application point of resultant earth pressure with change in .
Figure 13: Distribution of active earth pressure with change in .
Figure 14: Application point of resultant earth pressure with change in .

From Figures 5, 7, 9, and 11, it is obvious that there is a critical value existing in dip angle of the retaining wall back, slope angle of backfill, the frictional angle between the retaining wall back and backfill, and the frictional angle between backfill and rock slope. The critical values divide the earth pressure distribution curves into two types. One type is a crooked nonlinear curve and another type is close to a line [12].

4. Conclusions

Based on Coulomb’s theory and wedge element method, an analytical solution of the unit active earth pressure from finite soil body is deduced. Meanwhile, the formula of the application point of the resultant force is also deduced. When these formulas are applied, we firstly estimate whether backfill slides along rock slope or the sliding surface happens inside of backfill. And then whether the angle between and the normal of the sliding surface is the internal frictional angle of backfill, or the frictional angle between backfill and rock slope is determined.

By parametric study, it is found that the frictional angle between the retaining wall back and backfill, slope angle of backfill, dip angle of the retaining wall back, the frictional angle between backfill and rock slope, and uniformly applied load on the backfill surface have great influence on the active earth pressure distribution and the application point of the resultant earth pressure.

According to the method of this paper, we can study the earth pressure from finite clayey soil body in the future.

Symbols

:Height of retaining wall (Figure 1)
:Angle that backfill wall interface makes with the vertical (Figure 1)
:Angle that backfill surface makes with the horizontal (Figure 1)
:Uniform surcharge on the ground surface (Figure 1)
:Angle that the backfill rock interface makes with the horizontal (Figure 1)
:Angle that the failure surface makes with the horizontal
:Coulomb active earth pressure coefficient as defined in (1)
:Angle obtained according to the Coulomb active earth pressure coefficient in (1)
:Internal friction angle of backfill
:Frictional angle between the wall and backfill
:Frictional angle between backfill and rock slope
:Unit weight of backfill
:Unit active earth pressure coefficient as defined in (12)
:Weight of wedge ABD (Figure 3)
:Active earth pressure on plane AD of wedge ABD (Figure 3)
:Force on failure surface BD of wedge ABD (Figure 3)
:Uniform vertical pressure on plane AD of wedge ABD (Figure 3)
:Resultant force on plane AD of wedge ABD
:Unit force on failure surface BD of wedge ABD
, , , :Terms as defined in Sections 2.2 and 2.3
:Height of application point of the resultant earth pressure from the wall bottom as shown in (16).

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.

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