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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 7, Number 3, September 2014, pages 263-277

Effect of seismic acceleration directions on dynamic earth pressures in retaining structures
Ting-Kai Nian, Bo Liu, Jie Han and Run-Qiu Huang

    In the conventional design of retaining structures in a seismic zone, seismic inertia forces are commonly assumed to act upwards and towards the wall facing to cause a maximum active thrust or act upwards and towards the backfill to cause a minimum passive resistance. However, under certain circumstances this design approach might underestimate the dynamic active thrust or overestimate the dynamic passive resistance acting on a rigid retaining structure. In this study, a new analytical method for dynamic active and passive forces in c-φ soils with an infinite slope was proposed based on the Rankine earth pressure theory and the Mohr-Coulomb yield criterion, to investigate the influence of seismic inertia force directions on the total active and passive forces. Four combinations of seismic acceleration with both vertical (upwards or downwards) and horizontal (towards the wall or backfill) directions, were considered. A series of dimensionless dynamic active and passive force charts were developed to evaluate the key influence factors, such as backfill inclination β, dimensionless cohesion c/γH, friction angle φ, horizontal and vertical seismic coefficients, kh and kv. A comparative study shows that a combination of downward and towards-the-wall seismic inertia forces causes a maximum active thrust while a combination of upward and towards-the-wall seismic inertia forces causes a minimum passive resistance. This understanding is recommended for use in the design of retaining structures in a seismic zone.
Key Words
    earth pressure; retaining structures; analytical solution; horizontal and vertical seismic coefficients
(1) Ting-Kai Nian, Bo Liu:
School of Civil Engineering & State Key Laboratory of Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China;
(2) Ting-Kai Nian, Run-Qiu Huang:
State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironmental Protection, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610059, China;
(3) Jie Han:
Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA.

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