The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Limit equilibrium analysis of embedded retaining walls

Powrie, W. (1996) Limit equilibrium analysis of embedded retaining walls Geotechnique, 46, (4), pp. 709-723.

Record type: Article


Embedded retaining walls are often designed on the basis of limit equilibrium stress distributions. Although this type of analysis has been used widely for many decades, there is considerable scope for confusion and disagreement concerning the values of soil strength and soil-wall friction which should be adopted, and the way in which a factor of safety should be applied. In this paper these issues are investigated with reference to previously-published laboratory and centrifuge model test results, and the observed behaviour of real walls at three sites. It is shown that, for embedded cantilever retaining walls which are either unpropped or propped near the crest, the onset of large deformations is reasonably well predicted by classical limit equilibrium stress distributions, using earth pressure coefficients based on critical state angles of soil friction with wall friction angle delta = phi' = phi'(crit) on both sides of the wall. The case data also tend to confirm that the procedures given in BS 8002 should lead to depths of wall embedment which are sufficient to guard against excessive movements under working conditions, provided that the most onerous geometrical, loading and ground-water conditions are correctly identified, and that the soil strength is selected with care.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: December 1996
Keywords: diaphragm and in situ walls, limit state design, analysis, retaining walls, failure, sheet piles and cofferdams, case history
Organisations: Civil Engineering & the Environment


Local EPrints ID: 74935
ISSN: 0016-8505
PURE UUID: 68a45009-2715-4b41-a9aa-f5cf807e9070
ORCID for W. Powrie: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last modified: 17 Oct 2017 09:24

Export record

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.