Soil Arching Behind Retaining Walls under Active Translation Mode: Review and New Insights

Document Type: Review Paper


1 UT

2 Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran

3 Department of Urban Management, Kyoto University, Japan


Granular materials have a tendency to exhibit an arching effect by which the load is transferred from yielding parts to adjacent stationary parts. Retaining walls are among those structures that the soil arching plays an important role in the distribution of earth pressures. This paper briefly reviews the development of soil arching theory and its application to different geotechnical projects. Various arching-based theoretical formulations for estimation of lateral active earth pressure on the rigid retaining walls were reviewed and their validity was examined through comparisons with the filed data. It was concluded that, in spite of the conventional thought that the distribution of lateral earth pressure on the walls is linear; it is non-linear due to soil arching. Moreover, the maximum lateral stress does not appear at the toe of the wall; but at some heights, leading to a shift of the point of application of thrust from 33% to approximately 45% of the wall height measured from the bottom of the wall.