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Re: Retaining Wall Design Methodology

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By and large, the philosophy of retaining wall design is based on the 
consideration of service loads for determining bearing pressures and on 
"ultimate" or "limit state" loads for designing reinforcement etc.  The load 
factors used for calculating limit state loads are not mathematically derived 
but are qualitative in nature. This is a wonderful example of mixing service 
loads methods and limit state methods, which in turn, leads to different but 
adequately defensible procedures.

I consider the net pressure on the toe and the heel for moment and shear 
design. Since the bearing pressures are determined from consideration of all 
loads, I think it is proper to include all the loads during segments of 
subsequent design. I do, however, use a load factor of 1.4 for soil and some 
number >1 but less than 1.7 for the upward pressures.  I always ignore the 
weight of the little soil mass above the toe.

So far, I have not come across a procedure that uses "limit loads" on the 
structure to determine bearing pressures. 

P. Rajendran
Service & Technology Corporation
105 SW Penn
Bartlesville, OK 74003
Ph: 918 336 8161  FAX: 918 336 8265

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