Unsupported browser

For a better experience, please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Technical paper: Failure mechanisms in model reinforced earth walls

By A K C Smith, Travers Morgan, and C P Wroth, University of Cambridge

This paper was first published in GE’s September issue and is based on a lecture given by the authors at last year’s TRRL/Heriot-Watt University symposium on reinforced earth

Introduction

The last decade has seen the rapid development of the use of reinforced earth in civil engineering. The majority of its applications have been in the construction of temporary or permanent retaining walls. Although this use of reinforced earth has grown relatively rapidly and been highly successful, little is known at present about the interaction between the soil and the reinforcement that it contains. The current methods of design are based on either empirical rules, or ill-founded theories, and because they have been successful, they are likely therefore to be conservative — unusually so in certain instances.

Along with other workers in soil mechanics, the group at the University of Cambridge has been engaged in ‘a study of reinforced earth with the purpose of improving the understanding of this new composite material, and developing more rational methods of design.

An experimental study of model reinforced earth retaining walls has been carried out under controlled conditions to obtain information about failure, and in particular the mechanisms that occur at collapse. In this paper the experimental work is reported, and a method of analysis is assessed in the light of the observed mechanisms. 

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.