Design Considerations for Retaining Walls.

a. General.  Retaining walls must be designed so that foundation pressures do not exceed allowable bearing pressures, wall settlements are tolerable, safety factors against sliding and overturning are adequate, and
the wall possesses adequate structural strength.

Methods for evaluating earth pressures on retaining walls and design procedures are summarized herein for cohesionless backfill materials, which should be used whenever practicable.

b. Forces acting on retaining walls.   Forces include earth pressures,  seepage and uplift pressures, surcharge loads,  and weight of the wall.  Typical load diagrams for principal wall types are shown in figure 14-1.  The magnitude and distribution of active and passive earth pressures are developed from the earth theory for walls over 20 feet high and from semiempirical curves for lower walls.  The subgrade reaction along the base is assumed linearly distributed.

Load diagrams for retaining walls.
Figure 14-1.  Load diagrams for retaining walls.

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