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ENCE 461
Foundation Analysis and Design

Retaining Walls
Sheet Piling Overview; Cantilever Walls

Overview of Sheet Piling as a

Retaining Wall

Sheet piling is an in-situ type of retaining wall

Do not rely on their mass to retain the soil, as opposed

to a gravity wall

In-situ walls rely on their flexural strength to retain

soil, supported either by their own penetration into the
soil or by an anchoring system

Other types of in-situ walls

Soldier pile walls use H-beams to hold timber or concrete

lagging to retain soil on a temporary or permanent basis
Slurry walls bentonite slurry is injected into a trench after
which reinforcement and concrete are placed into the trench,
forming a wall

Materials for Sheet Piling





Cold formed
Hot rolled






Steel Sheet Piles

Hot rolled

Panel and interlocks rolled in one operation

Traditional form of steel sheet piling

Cold formed

Form rolled cold from steel plate

Common with lighter sheet pile profiles
Interlocks more prone to breakage

Aluminium, Vinyl and

Fibreglass Sheeting

Made for lightweight

and light load
Common substitute for
wood or concrete walls
Require special
handling in setting and
Vinyl sheets can be
obtained in various
colours, but is subject to
long term creep

Concrete and Wood Sheeting

Concrete Sheeting

Wood Sheeting

Sections of Sheet Piling




Z-shaped sheeting
Popular in north America
Usually drive two at a time with split clamp
Wall stiffness developed with each sheet without assumed
assistance from the interlocks

U-shaped sheeting (Larssen, etc.)

Very popular in Europe
Usually driven one at a time
Wall stiffness developed with two sheets and load transferred
using the interlocks (European practice; U.S. practice does not
assume this load transfer)

Sections of Sheet Piling

Flat-web sheeting
Almost exclusively used
for cellular cofferdams
Can be driven singly
or two at a time

Arched shaped
Used for shallower wall
Used in cold formed steel and
aluminium sheeting

Transitional Sections

Interlock Styles
 Hot rolled and extruded

 Ball and socket
 Single or double jaw
 Double hook
 Thumb and finger
 One point contact
 Three point contact

 Cold formed sections

 Hook and grip

Cantilever and Anchored Walls

Cantilever Walls

Walls which have no additional supports, and which

rely on the lateral earth pressures in the lower portion
of the wall to support the earth in the upper portion

Limited in height and soil type

Almost exclusively done with steel piling

Anchored Walls

Walls which have additional supports buried in the


These are usually referred to as tiebacks


Deep-Seated Failure of Sheet

Pile Walls

Rotational Failure due to

Inadequate Penetration of
Sheet Pile Walls

Flexural Failure of Sheet Pile


Failure in
Pile Walls

Active and Passive Pressures

Source: British Steel Piling Handbook,

Design of Cantilever Walls

Simplified Method of Design

Eliminate the bottom triangle which fixes the pile

toe to the wall; F3 replaces the forces at the toe

Use the force triangles for resultant forces F1 and


Increase the penetration by 0.2 * OC to compensate

for simplification (not a factor of safety!)

Example of Cantilever Wall



Cantilever Sheet Pile as



Necessary penetration
to prevent overturning

Suitable sheet piling

for bending moment


Rankine earth pressure


Factor of Safety and Earth

Pressure Considerations

Two methods of incorporating factor of safety

Divide the passive earth pressure coefficient by a

factor of 1.5 2 (Coduto)

Increase the toe length by 20 40% (toe length being

distance from excavation level to toe of pile)

Use Coduto's method

Ka = tan2 (45 /2) = tan2 (45 35/2) = 0.271

Kp = tan2 (45 + /2)/F = tan2 (45 + 35/2)/1.5 = 2.46

Earth Pressure Diagram

(Lateral and Vertical)
260 psf @ 8'
457 psf @ 20'

Hydrostatic Pressures

For this problem, they are balanced, and do not need to be taken
into consideration. They can be a serious factor.

Compute Net Pressures

Region of F2 F

N et
E ffe ctive S tr e ss
A ctive P r e ssu r e
P a ssive P r e ssu r e

Region of F1

Steps to Solve Problem

Find location of Point O

Find magnitude, location of F1

Determine equation for magnitude, location of F2

Check to make sure F3 > 0

Sum moments around Point C to determine location of

Point C

Since F3 is assumed to act at Point C, it does not enter into the


Increase OC by 20% to determine penetration of sheet


Determine point and magnitude of maximum moment

Size sheet pile based on maximum moment

Location of Point O

Pressure at dredge line

= 457 psf

Slope of line below

dredge line = Kp
Ka = Kp Ka) =
(123 62.4)(2.460.271) = 132.7 psf/ft

O (or z) = 20 +
457/132.7 = 23.44'

Magnitude and Location of F1




F1a = (260)(8)/2 = 1040 lb/ft

zF1a = 2*8/3 = 5.33'

F1b = (457+260)(12)/2 = 4302 lb/ft

zF1b = 8'+6.55'=14.55'

F1c = (457)(3.44)/2 = 786 lb/ft

zF1c = 20 + 3.44/3 = 21.15'

F1 = 1040 + 4302 + 786 = 6128 lb/ft

z1 = ((1040)(5.33) + (4302)(14.55) +
(786)(21.15))/6128 = 13.84'

(distance from Point 1 for
q 12 q 2  trapezoidal load)
3q 1q 2 

Magnitude and Location of F2


Pressure at C = Kp
Ka)(C - 23.44) = (123
62.4)(2.46-0.271) =
132.7 (C-23.44) psf

F2 = (132.7) (C
23.44)2 /2

z2 = 23.44 + 2 (C23.44) /3


Determine Point C by Summing

M c F 1 Cz 1 F 2  Cz 2 0
132.7C23.44 C23.44

Addition for
CO' 1.220.2224.26'
Ltot 23.4424.2647.7'
Toe penetration
F 1 F 2 F 3
of 27.7'
F 2 27127 lb ft
z 2 36.92'
271276128209990 , so F 3 OK

Determination of Maximum

Maximum moment
takes place at point of
zero shear

Zero shear takes place

at the point where the
active and passive
forces are equal, i.e.,
F1 = F2'

F2 '


Determination of Maximum

F2 '


F2' = (132.7)(zMmax
23.44)2/2 = F1 = 6128

zMmax = 33.05'

Mmax = 6128 (33.05 13.84) 6128 ((33.0523.44)/3) = 98,089 ftlb/ft of wall

From table, AZ-26

has adequate strength

Assume 120 pcf

 = 8/20 = 0.4
Kp/Ka = 2.46/0.271 = 9.1

Use of Charts
Moment Ratio = 0.75

D/H = 1.25

Assume 120 pcf

 = 8/20 = 0.4
Kp/Ka = 2.46/0.271 = 9.1

D/H = 1.25
Moment Ratio = 0.75

Use of Charts

Compute Depth

D = (1.25)(20) = 25' (simplified method gives 27.7',

book gives 34')

Since we used a reduce Kp, we don't need to add an

additional factor of safety; otherwise, proceed as stated in
Note use of submerged weight!

M = (0.75)(60)(0.271)(20)3 = 97,560 ft-lb/ft of wall

(simplified method gives 98,089 ft-lb/ft of wall)

SPW 911

Cantilever Piles in Clay

Two step analysis

Short term, where