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Re: Retaining Wall Question

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While specifying gravel backfill is noble (the most common reason for
retaining wall failures is the inability to relieve hydrostatic pressure),
the vertical component I referred to in my previous post occurs at a
vertical plane at the heel of the footing. This vertical plan basically
divides the soil that will rotate with the retaining wall footing and the
soil that remains behind. Within this plane, there is soil to soil
frictional resistance equal to the tangent of the angle of internal
friction times the horizontal component. This condition exists unless your
gravel backfill extends beyond the footing heel.

Bill Allen

> From: PRSE(--nospam--at)
> To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: Retaining Wall Question
> Date: Wednesday, August 20, 1997 12:07 PM
> <<You have brought up something that I have wondered about.  When
> for a sloped backfill, do you include the vertical component for friction

> and for overturning (less conservative)? >>
> In our office we disregard the vertical component of the backfill on the
> wall, because most of our wall designs specify a gravel backfill
> behind the wall to aid in drainage.  We feel that the gravel eliminates
> friction between the soil and the wall.
> Bruce Resnick