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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 24, Number 6, March25 2021 , pages 531-543

Effects of freezing and thawing on retaining wall with changes in groundwater level
Garam Kim, Incheol Kim, Tae Sup Yun and Junhwan Lee

    Freezing and thawing of pore water within backfill can affect the stability of retaining wall as the phase change of pore water causes changes in the mechanical characteristics of backfill material. In this study, the effects of freezing and thawing on the mechanical performance of retaining wall with granular backfill were investigated for various temperature and groundwater level (GWL) conditions. The thermal and mechanical finite element analyses were performed by assigning the coefficient of lateral earth pressure according to phase change of soil for at-rest, active and passive stress states. For the at-rest condition, the mobilized lateral stress and overturning moment changed markedly during freezing and thawing. Active-state displacements for the thawed condition were larger than for the unfrozen condition whereas the effect of freezing and thawing was small for the passive condition. GWL affected significantly the lateral force and overturning moment (Mo) acting on the wall during freezing and thawing, indicating that the reduction of safety margin and wall collapse due to freezing and thawing can occur in sudden, unexpected patterns. The beneficial effect of an insulation layer between the retaining wall and the backfill in reducing the heat conduction from the wall face was also investigated and presented.
Key Words
    freezing, thawing; retaining wall; temperature; groundwater level; lateral stress; overturning moment
Garam Kim, Incheol Kim, Tae Sup Yun and Junhwan Lee: School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Yonsei University, 50, Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03722, Republic of Korea

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