Approximate deflection of rigidly framed earth retaining structures due to an unknown earth pressure distribution

Magued Iskander, Andrew J. Dimond, Walid Aboumoussa, Farah Masood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A simple and reliable method for predicting the relationship between lateral displacement and earth pressure for rigidly framed earth retaining structures (RFERS) was developed. Closed-form equations were derived such that if one value of displacement or pressure is known (or assumed) the other can be computed for hydrostatic, seismic, uniform, and semi-elliptical earth pressure distributions. Additionally, the general form of the equations can be used to predict the magnitude of the lateral force even if the shape of the earth pressure is unknown, with a reasonable degree of accuracy. The expressions for deflection were derived by treating the structure as an equivalent cantilever beam and calibrating the resulting expression using the finite element method (FEM). A parametric FEM analysis, of 42 000 different RFERS configurations, was performed to calibrate the expressions, using multivariate non-linear regression between the derived expressions and FEM. A Weibull statistical analysis was performed for each equation and determined that the equations had better than 80% probability to yield deflections that are within 25% of the value computed using FEM. Furthermore, there is a 98% certainty that each equation will yield a deflection that is within 50% of that computed using FEM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-532
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Active
  • At rest
  • Jointless bridges
  • Lateral drift
  • Passive
  • Segmental

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • General Materials Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanics of Materials


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