Seismic behaviour of embedded sheet pile retaining walls.

Yasir Khokher, Cambridge University
Geotechnical Engineering Group


A number of failures of retaining walls during earthquakes have been reported. This has led to researchers revisiting the Mononobe-Okabe’s pseudo-static analysis that is usually used as the basis for seismic design of retaining walls. This thesis aims to contribute to the knowledge of the seismic behaviour of embedded retaining walls.

The results from the experiments were used to gauge the performance of earth pressure cells. The results from the three experiments were compared to study the influence of embedment depth/retained height ratios and the flexural stiffness of the wall. The results were also used to compare with the theoretical analysis.

The earth pressure cells were successful in capturing the static and dynamic trends in earth pressure changes but were unable to provide accurate magnitudes. The results indicate that two of the three assumptions behind Mononobe-Okabe analysis may not be correct. Also, important differences were noted between the centrifuge test results and the Mononobe-Okabe analysis. Further tests are needed to ascertain the real seismic behaviour of embedded retaining walls.