Seismic Earth Pressures on Retaining Structures (NEES-2010-0943)

By Nicholas Sitar

Version 1.0






Published on

Nov 22, 2017


Title: Seismic Earth Pressures on Retaining Structures (NEES-2010-0943)

Year Of Curation: 2014

Description: The main objective of this research is to advance the analytical modeling of the dynamic forces acting on earth retaining structures during earthquakes. The methods currently in use have evolved gradually starting with Japanese work performed in the 1920's. However, the experimental methods used at the time were not capable of accurately representing the real behavior of structures and resulted in design recommendations that are now very conservative and that lead to expensive over design. This research takes advantage of the most advanced experimental research facilities to develop a better understanding of how soil and retaining structures interact during earthquakes. The research builds on recently completed series of two dynamic centrifuge experiments funded by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in order to verify their design assumptions. The results of this work show that some of the basic assumptions currently accepted as given do not match the observed behavior. Hence, the purpose of this research is to produce a comprehensive study of the problem by performing a series of high quality geotechnical centrifuge model tests to measure dynamic lateral earth pressures on embedded walls. The centrifuge is ideally suited for this kind of modeling because the scaling and boundary conditions allow for correct modeling of the soil behavior, and centrifuge models are relatively inexpensive and reproducible. This research also presents an opportunity to redefine the role of physical testing in the development of new understanding of dynamic soil-structure interaction problems. The results of the physical experiments will be used in the latest generation of non-linear code to produce better modeling and predictive capabilities and to develop probabilistic procedures suitable for performance based design. 


PIs & CoPIs: Nicholas Sitar

Dates: August 01, 2009 - February 28, 2013

Organizations: University of California, Berkeley, CA, United States

Facilities: University of California, Davis, CA, United States

Sponsor: NSF - n/a - 0936376 

Keywords: Earthquake,Numerical Modelling,Centrifuge,Retaining Structures

Publications: "Model Results - Results of Experiment GC01 - Level Ground"   

Cite this work

  • Nicholas Sitar (2017), "Seismic Earth Pressures on Retaining Structures (NEES-2010-0943),"