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Commonly used retaining walls and their functionalities

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Corrosion and planning issues occur due to steep slopes and difficult grades. To make construction at such areas, a retaining wall plays an important role. This type of wall or system of walls retains the earth and water.

The retaining walls are conjoined with drainage systems. They can also minimize and control storm water. They provide a tough barrier to enhance the functionality of the landscape.

Retaining walls are normally constructed to retain soil mass. Several types of retaining walls are found in various places on the basis of different factors like applicable type of material, type of soil, slope of hill side, local building codes, topography of site.

Gravity Retaining Walls: Based on its own weight only, this type of wall can withstand lateral earth pressure. Normally, gravity retaining wall is massive since it needs significant gravity load to neutralize horizontal soil pressure. Some vital factors like sliding, overturning, and bearing forces should be considered at the time of designing gravity retaining wall. It is built up from various materials like stone, concrete and masonry units.

Cantilever Retaining Walls: Cantilever retaining walls are made of reinforced concrete. They comprise of a considerably skinny stem and a base slab.

The base is segregated into two parts alias the heel and toe. The heel belongs to the section of the base under the backfill and the toe remains the other section of the base. It is built up on site or precast in a factory.

Counterfort Retaining Walls: They have similarity with cantilever retaining walls but they include thin vertical concrete webs at regular spans along the backside of the wall and these webs are termed as counterforts. The counterforts affix the slab and base jointly and can minimize the bending moments and shear forces enforced on the wall by the soil.

Also Read: How to calculate volume of concrete retaining wall

Semi-Gravity Retaining Walls: These are the specialized form of gravity walls. They contain some tension reinforcing steel to reduce the thickness of the wall devoid of broad reinforcement. These walls are frequently built up with reinforced concrete, un-reinforced concrete, or stone masonry. The semi-gravity walls like cast-in place concrete cantilever walls come with strong resistance capacity against overturning and sliding from self-weight and weight of soil over the wall footing.

Prefabricated Modular Gravity Walls: These walls comprise of crib walls, bin walls, and gabion walls. A crib wall stands for a gravity retaining structure comprising of interlocking concrete or timber components. Each crib unit is filled with compacted granular soil is used to fill each crib unt.

A bin wall in the form of concrete or metal, is build up near closed-face or open-face bins. With compacted granular soil, each bin unit filled up. Gabion walls include baskets formed with galvanized steel mesh or PVC coated wire mesh. The baskets are filled with long-lasting rock with size varying from 4 to 8 inches.

Non-Gravity Cantilevered Walls: These types of retaining walls create lateral resistance through the implantation of vertical wall elements and support retained soil with wall-facing elements. Vertical wall elements are generally pushed deep in the ground for lateral and vertical support. The vertical wall elements range from piles, drilled shafts, steel sheet piles, etc. Wall faces range from reinforced concrete, metal, or timber.

Anchored Walls: High retaining walls are built up by pushing cable rods or wires deep sideways into the soil, then the ends are filled with concrete to supply an “anchor”. These types of retaining walls normally include similar elements as the non-gravity cantilevered walls but get extra lateral resistance from one or more tiers of anchors. The anchored walls are normally utilized in the cut situation, in which the construction is done from the top to the base of the wall.

Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Walls: These types of retaining walls usually comprise of a facing element and a reinforcement element implanted in the backfill behind the facing. The facing element ranges from concrete, segmental block or panel, or steel wire mesh. The reinforcement element can be either geo synthetic (geo textile, geo grid) or metallic (strip, grid, wire mesh). The purpose of these types of retaining walls is to support fills and when substantial total and differential settlement may occur.

Hybrid Systems: These types of retaining walls employ both mass and reinforcement for constancy.

Piled Retaining Wall: Pile retaining walls are built up by driving reinforced concrete piles adjacent each other.

Piles are pushed into a depth that is suitable to withstand the force which tries to pull the wall. It is utilized in both permanent and temporary works. These types of retaining walls provide high stiffness retaining component to sustain lateral pressure in large excavation depths devoid of any disturbance to adjacent structures or properties.

Commonly used retaining walls and their functionalities