Investigation of seismic response of cantilever retaining walls: Limit analysis vs shaking table testing

Panos Kloukinas, Anna Scotto di Santolo, Augusto Penna, Matt S Dietz, Aldo Evangelista, Armando Lucio Simonelli, Colin Taylor, George Mylonakis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
443 Downloads (Pure)


The earthquake response of cantilever retaining walls is explored by means of theoretical analyses and shaking table testing conducted at University of Bristol (EERC - EQUALS). The theoretical investigations employ both limit analysis and wave-propagation methods, which take into account different aspects of the problem such as inertia, strength, kinematics and compatibility of deformations. The experimental programme encompasses different combinations of retaining wall geometries, soil configurations and input ground motions. The response analysis of the systems at hand aims at shedding light onto salient features of the problem, such as: (1) the magnitude of soil thrust and its point of application; (2) the relative sliding versus rocking of the wall base and the corresponding failure modes; (3) the importance of the interplay between soil stiffness, wall dimensions and excitation characteristics, as affecting the above; (4) the importance of wall dynamics and phase differences between peak stresses and displacements. The results of the experimental investigations are in good agreement with the theoretical models and provide a better understanding on the complex mechanics of the problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-445
Number of pages14
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Early online date25 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • Model tests
  • Retaining walls
  • Seismic earth pressures
  • Soil-structure interaction


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