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By S. J. Boone,1 Member, ASCE, and A. M. Crawford2

ABSTRACT: Relationships between strut loads, earth pressures, temperatures, and the measurements provided
by strain gauges are presented in this paper. A braced excavation up to 20-m deep, 920 m wide, and >650-m
long constructed in competent glacially derived sand, silt, and clay soils (including glacial till) provided a
significant amount of data for analysis. The excavation was supported by soldier piles and lagging with pipe
struts and was covered with decking during construction. A direct correlation between incremental changes in
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strut load and temperature was observed during the course of the project. The few existing relationships between
strut load and temperature were reexamined and were found to produce back-calculated elastic modulus values
that were either without comparison or inconsistent with data from field tests and published sources. The rela-
tionships derived as a result of this work are supported by limited case-history data from other published sources
and are consistent with practical application of elastic deformation concepts and published soil modulus values.

INTRODUCTION service. In some cases, strain gauges were in place for over a
year. A consistent pattern was observed where increments of
Strut loads in braced excavations have routinely been mon- temperature change induced incremental changes in strut
itored with strain gauges using devices ranging from physical loads. Because of other work undertaken to examine the be-
measurements of changes in length [e.g., Demec gauges (Base havior of the soil-structure interaction, separation of the earth-
1955)] to fully electronic vibrating wire transducers. In the induced and temperature-induced loads was attempted. Exist-
past, effort has been required to assess the differences in ther- ing solutions for this indeterminate problem were few and did
mal behavior between the gauge and the steel strut [Norwegian not provide reasonable results. As a result, a new approach
Geotechnical Institute (NGI) 1962b; Lateral 1967; ORourke was developed for separation of earth-induced and tempera-
and Cording 1975]. Thermally matched electronic gauges have ture-induced loads in the struts of braced excavations.
virtually eliminated the need for such corrections. However,
because of varying end-restraint conditions caused by the stiff- BACKGROUND
ness of the retained earth, such temperature corrections do not
account for all thermal effects from load measurements (Chap- When interpreting the results of mechanical strain gauges,
man et al. 1972; Batten and Powrie 1996). In soft soils or for it could easily be assumed that by applying a simple temper-
excavation support systems where the end area of the steel ature correction, by comparison to a free piece of strut mate-
struts is large compared to the supported soil area, the effect rial, the effects of temperature on the loads are eliminated and
of temperature changes on strut loads may not be great. For that the resulting readings represent earth loads. It also could
stiff soils or rock, however, thermal loading may be signifi- be assumed that readings from commercially produced vibrat-
cant. Apparent earth pressure diagrams are commonly used for ing wire-type gauges that are thermally matched to the
design estimation of the maximum strut loads that may be expansion/contraction of steel represent only earth loading of
incurred in a braced excavation [e.g., Soil (1982)]. Such dia- braced excavation struts. However, both these assumptions ne-
grams implicitly include some effects of temperature (Peck glect the real and potentially important temperature-related
1969; Goldberg et al. 1976). Finite elements or finite-differ- strut loading that depends on the relative stiffness of the braced
ence computer analyses also are often used to evaluate poten- soil and excavation support system. Therefore, it is important
tial loads on excavation support systems from the surrounding to consider what the strain gauges truly measure.
soil mass. Such computer programs do not usually account for Until vibrating wire strain gauges were widely available,
thermal and end-restraint effects. Without appropriate consid- stresses in excavation struts were often indirectly measured
eration of thermal effects, measured loads may be misinter- using mechanical gauges that measured the true strain expe-
preted solely as loads from the retained earth or design loads rienced by the strut (Lateral 1967; Dunnicliff 1988). Mathe-
based only on computer analyses may not be representative of matical correction for temperature effects was then made by
potential loading conditions. using the measured values of total strain and temperature
A recent braced excavation project included a detailed in- using
strumentation program. Thermally matched vibrating wire
= S T (1)
strain gauges were used to monitor strut loads. The strain
gauges also included thermistors that provided readings of where S and T = strains induced by applied external stresses
temperature at each gauge at the time the strain readings were and the temperature change, respectively, then
taken. During the course of the project, strain gauge readings
were taken nearly every day on each gauge while it was in = (S )/ES S (T ) (2)

where S = coefficient of thermal expansion; S = applied
Sr. Geotech. Engr./Proj. Mgr., Golder Associates Inc., 10 Chrysler, external stress; and ES = elastic modulus of the steel. By re-
Suite B, Irvine, CA 92618.
Prof., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Toronto, 35 St. George St., To-
writing this equation to define the external load in terms of
ronto, ON, Canada, M5S 1A4. total strain and temperature strain
Note. Discussion open until March 1, 2001. To extend the closing date
one month, a written request must be filed with the ASCE Manager of P = ES As S (T )ES AS (3)
Journals. The manuscript for this paper was submitted for review and
possible publication on May 21, 1998. This paper is part of the Journal
where P and AS = applied load and end area of the strut steel,
of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 126, No. 10, respectively. With some mechanical or vibrating wire strain
October, 2000. ASCE, ISSN 1090-0241/00/0010-08700881/$8.00 gauges it also has often been necessary to correct for the dif-
$.50 per page. Paper No. 18402. ferences between the thermal properties of the gauge and the

J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2000.126:870-881.

structural steel by using the appropriate coefficients of thermal
expansion, G and S , respectively.
With thermally matched (i.e., G = S ) and properly cali-
brated vibrating wire strain gauges, strut load measurements
will be representative of the following conditions [after Dun-
nicliff (1988)]:

For a strut with ends that are perfectly fixed from any
axial movement, a temperature increase (T = ) will
not result in any change in strut length L but will result
in expansion and therefore relaxation of the vibrating
wire, thus indicating an artificial strut compression. The
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artificial compression (strain) indicated by the strain

gauge will, when combined with the appropriate steel end
area and elastic modulus, correctly indicate the increase
in compressive stress that the strut experiences due to the
temperature increase. The opposite conditions hold true
for a perfectly fixed-end strut during a temperature de-
crease (T = ), except that an artificial expansion of the
strut would be indicated, resulting in a correctly calculated
increase in tensile stress.
For a strut with ends that are perfectly free to move, a
temperature increase will result in expansion of both the
strut and the gauge wire; i.e., the expansion of the strain
gauge wire that produces a relaxation of the wire tension
will compensate for the actual strain experienced by the
strut. Output from the vibrating wire strain gauge will
indicate that there was no change in length (although
strictly incorrect) and that the strut will have experienced
no change in stress. The opposite conditions would apply FIG. 1. Strut Load and Temperature Data from Oslo Excava-
to a decrease in temperature. tion (NGI 1962a)

Thus, mechanical gauges are generally true strain gauges, other than by introducing a spring constant term that is not
whereas the vibrating wire gauges are, in effect, true stress readily evaluated.
gauges. In spite of the mathematical simplicity of accounting Chapman et al. (1972) evaluated earth and temperature
for temperature outlined above, struts in braced excavations loads at an excavation made through preconsolidated and lay-
are neither perfectly free to move nor perfectly fixed. There- ered sand, silt, and clay in Washington, D.C. [average standard
fore, the calculated or measured stresses in the steel strut are penetration test (SPT) N value of about 1620 at strut lev-
partially due to the earth loads and partially due to temperature els]. Temperature-induced deformations of the wall were ex-
induced stresses because of the strut end conditions and sep- amined using precise measurements (to the nearest 0.001 in.)
aration of the two has been problematic (Dunnicliff 1988). using horizontal extensometers drilled into the ground at strut
In the early 1960s (NGI 1962b, 1965) a braced excavation level. Having then obtained measurements of strut load, tem-
project was undertaken in Oslo, Norway. Strut loads in this perature, and deformations of the excavation wall at the strut
excavation were monitored with the relatively new vibrating location, Chapman et al. (1972) combined the equations for
wire strain gauge. Because the device was new, frequent and the deformation of an elastic half-space under a uniform rec-
detailed measurements of strut steel temperatures, gauge tem- tangular load and those for thermal expansion of the strut.
peratures, and gauge readings were obtained. These detailed They derived an empirical expression relating temperature-de-
readings were used to identify the effect of temperature on the pendent loads to the elastic modulus of the retained earth;
gauges. When the data was processed, corrections were made essentially, they considered the lateral movement of large sec-
to account for the dissimilarity of the coefficients of thermal tions of the wall analogous to elastic settlement of a rectan-
expansion between the gauge wire and the strut steel (NGI gular foundation. From their work, Chapman et al. (1972) sug-
1962b). During the course of the project it was observed that, gested the following approximate relationship to deduce the
after corrections were made considering the results on un- temperature-dependent load PT from a given temperature
loaded steel struts, temperature-dependent loads (Fig. 1) were change:
occurring and this was attributed to the end restraint provided
by the earth behind the wall. No further analysis or separation AS ES S T
PT = (5)
of the load sources was completed in these early studies. [1 (3.0nAS ES H )/(Acut Ed L)]
Endo and Kawasaki (1963) [as cited in Ishii et al. (1995)]
studied the relationships between thermal load and the elastic where Acut = rectangular area of the cut wall defined as the cut
properties of the retained earth and proposed the following height times a length equal to twice the cut height; Ed = elastic
expression relating the two: deformation modulus of the soil behind the wall; H = height
of the cut wall; L = strut length; n = number of struts against
KE AS ES S TL one wall of the cut with area Acut ; and S = coefficient of
PT = (4) thermal expansion (per degree of temperature change) for
KE L 2 AS Es
where PT = measured load due to temperature change; and KE Although this is a useful approximation, Chapman et al.
represented the spring constant of the retained earth. However, (1972) noted the difference between the initial elastic modulus
this relationship does not consider the effect of strut spacing measured by plate load tests Ei of about 2,0005,000 psi

J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2000.126:870-881.

(13.834.5 MPa) and the back-calculated elastic modulus friction angle of about 38 was estimated for the dense silty
from temperature-dependent strut loads of about 20,000 psi sand based on local experience. Static ground-water levels,
(138 MPa). This difference was attributed to confining effects observed in two distinct aquifers, ranged from near the ground
at depth behind the wall. Although not widely adopted in texts surface to about 4-m above the base of the main excavation,
or referred to in published literature, this expression was rec- and these were fully dewatered during construction.
ommended in Goldberg et al. (1976) and has been one of the As part of the contract documents, an apparent earth pres-
few available tools to separate and evaluate the effects of tem- sure diagram was specified for derivation of the minimum
perature and earth loads. shoring design loads. The diagram was based on the empirical
approach whereby the apparent pressure on the wall is a
CASE HISTORY function of the soil unit weight, the depth (or height) of the
excavation wall H, and one or more earth pressure factors that
Project Description are based on measured maximum strut loads distributed over
a tributary area (Terzaghi 1943; Peck 1969). Typically, the
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A deep braced excavation, >650-m long, was made for con- tributary area is equal to the vertical length halfway to each
struction of new subway tracks. The excavation varied from of the struts above and below, multiplied by the horizontal
9- to 20-m deep and from 9.4- to 20.5-m wide and was made strut spacing. The earth pressure factors, and consequently the
through glacial till and overconsolidated glaciolacustrine sand, maximum pressure, and the distribution of pressure are typi-
silt, and clay deposits. The SPT N values in the stiff to hard cally based on general soil type and the calculated base sta-
cohesive glacial till ranged from 25 to >100, with an average bility of the excavation (as shown in Fig. 4). For this project
in each borehole typically ranging between 40 and 80. Average the specified apparent earth pressure diagram was based on the
SPT N values in the dense sand and silt deposits typically properties of the layered granular and fine-grained deposits,
ranged between 60 and 100. Although sophisticated geotech- the guidance of empirical diagrams such as those shown in
nical testing was not carried out locally at this site (because Fig. 4, and local empirical design and construction experience.
of its early construction schedule), elastic modulus data de- The constructed excavation support system consisted of
rived from pressuremeter testing at an immediately adjacent wide-flange steel beams (soldier piles) placed in prebored
subway construction site (constructed within the same soil de- holes with wood lagging between the piles. Soldier piles were
posits) are provided in Fig. 2, illustrating the range of soil installed with a 3-m center-to-center spacing, and the prebored
stiffness. Pressuremeter testing was carried out with a mono- holes were filled with a weak concrete/sand-cement (approx-
cell instrument, and modulus values illustrated in Fig. 2 were imate unconfined compressive strength of 0.40.6 MPa). Hor-
derived based on the linear portion of the initial loading curve izontal restraint was provided by deck beams and pipe struts
Eo and from a linear representation of unload-reload cycles located at each pile; i.e., there were no wales. The vertical
carried out during each test ER [e.g., Briaud (1986)]. Effective strut spacing generally ranged between 2.4 and 5.8 m, with
stress frictional parameters, derived from triaxial testing, for each pair of opposing piles restrained by the deck beam and
the glacial till and hard silt and clay soils are illustrated in two to three struts. The pipe struts, ranging in diameter from
Fig. 3 (typically 7 < PI < 20). For design, an effective stress 273 to 610 mm, were connected to the piles by a steel plate
directly welded to the piles, as schematically illustrated in Fig.
5. Because the excavation was made beneath a street, it was
fully decked during the majority of construction.
Because the project was in an urban area, close to many
buildings, ground and building movement limitations were
made part of the contract (Boone et al. 1999b). Therefore, the
owner incorporated a detailed instrumentation program into
the project to monitor the contractors compliance with the
specifications. As part of a larger geotechnical monitoring pro-
gram, deck beams and struts of the excavation support system
were monitored with strain gauges. Each strut and deck beam
connecting a pair of opposing piles was instrumented at a total
of eight vertical section locations, as illustrated in Fig. 5 (a

FIG. 2. Pressuremeter Elastic Modulus Correlated to SPT N

Values Taken Immediately Adjacent to Pressurementer Tests

FIG. 3. Effective Stress Frictional Parameters from Triaxial FIG. 4. Apparent Earth Pressure Diagrams for Design of
Compression Tests on Cohesive Soil Deposits Braced Excavations [after Peck (1969) and Soil (1982)]


J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2000.126:870-881.

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FIG. 5. Typical Strut-Pile Connection Detail and Arrangement of Struts, Deck Beams, and Strain Gauges (Dimensions Illustrated for
One Area of Excavation)

FIG. 6. Measured Maximum Strut Loads Compared to Apparent Earth Pressure Diagram Specified for Design

total of 79 strain gauges were installed). For each monitored struts were in place, they experienced cycles of warming and
deck beam and strut, thermally matched Irad SM-5A (Roctest, cooling, both daily and seasonal. Absolute gauge temperatures
St. Lambert, Quebec) vibrating wire strain gauges were ranged from near 30 to 15C. Because the excavation was
welded to structural members before they were installed. Each decked, it was relatively free of thermal effects related to sun-
strut and deck beam in an array location was fitted with mul- light and shadows. Thermal extremes also were moderated be-
tiple strain gauges so that the influence of bending stresses on cause of the decking and latent temperature of the surrounding
compressive load readings could be minimized. The strain earth. Thermal gradients, from top to bottom of the excavation,
gauges were used to assure that actual loads did not exceed also were examined to ascertain the similarity of thermal ex-
the design loads and to allow correlation of strut loads to mea- pansion and contraction in struts within the same vertical sec-
surements from other instruments installed at or near the same tion. Regardless of the absolute temperatures or depth of ex-
array locations. Full instrumentation was maintained for 19 of cavation, temperature differences from the top to bottom strut
the monitored struts, whereas 1 or several of the gauges on rarely exceeded 1C.
the other struts and deck beams were destroyed during con- Fig. 7 presents true strut loads and changes in gauge tem-
struction. Strain gauge readings were generally taken daily perature for three upper-level struts (deck beam above and two
throughout the project, typically resulting in 100300 tem- struts below) as examples of the strut load data. The temper-
perature-correlated load readings per instrumented strut. Read- ature changes shown are not absolute temperatures, but are the
ings were taken more frequently during the preloading stage change of strut temperature relative to the temperature of the
of strut installation and somewhat less frequently when exca- strut at the time of installation. It is clear on Fig. 7 that fluc-
vation was not occurring in the area. Fig. 6 illustrates the final tuations in strut load are directly related to temperature
distribution of maximum strut loads and stable deck beam changes, where temperature and load fluctuations are in sync,
loads (ignoring peaks from traffic and construction equipment as has been observed in other projects [e.g., NGI (1962b,
live loads) in comparison to the apparent earth pressure dia- 1965), Chapman et al. (1972), and Batten and Powrie (1996)].
gram specified for design.
Field Observations of Temperature-Dependent OF OBSERVATIONS
Strut Loads Data Analysis
Construction of the subway excavation occurred through a Considering Fig. 7 and the behavior of shoring systems dis-
period of about 16 months, with each monitored strut typically cussed by Chapman et al. (1972), the following general state-
being in place between 2 and 8 months. During the time the ments can be made:

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FIG. 7. Example Data from Thermally Matched Vibrating Wire Strain Gauges for Three Upper-Level Struts (Deck Beam above) Illus-
trating Temperature-Related Variation in Measured Strut Loads (Plots of Measured Loads and Temperatures Are Based on Averages
for Gauges Mounted around Pipe-Strut Circumference; and Similarities in Temperature Change Patterns, but Differences in Magnitude
and Position along Time Axis, Reflect Differing Dates of Strut Installation and Initial Strut/Gauge Temperature)

FIG. 8. Definitions of Measured Strut Load and Strut Temperature (T is Difference in Strut Temperature Relative to Installation Tem-
perature), Incremental Values of Both, and Conceptual Representation of Reset Reference Temperature (See Text)

1. When the change in temperature relative to the original formation is satisfied. The proportion of the load increase
gauge/strut temperature T or the incremental difference due to temperature will be a function of (1) the elastic
between consecutive gauge temperatures Ti is positive modulus of the soil and the corresponding level of stress;
(see Fig. 8 for terminology), measured loads will exceed (2) the end area of the strut steel; and (3) the horizontal
the loads from true earth pressure because of the re- and vertical contract area of the wall affected by the strut.
straining effect of the retained earth; i.e., expansion of 2. When T orTi is negative, the struts are essentially free
the strut will be resisted by the elastic deformation of to contract, allowing elastic rebound to occur. Provided
the retained soil until equilibrium between load and de- that the retained earth is continuously applying force to

J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2000.126:870-881.

the wall, and that temperature contraction of the strut middle, and lowest strut are shown relative to both time and
does not exceed the inward deflection of the wall due to the incremental load-temperature relationship. From a plot of
earth loads, then the relationship between Ti and Pi P and Ti , the linear portion of the plot m can readily be
should remain elastic. determined (as in Figs. 9 and 10). The value of this slope
primarily accounts for both the mobilized elastic modulus of
Fig. 7 also demonstrates that a seasonal decrease in tem- the soil Es(m) and the elastic properties, end area, and length
perature does not result in a prolonged decrease in strut loads. of the strut. It also should be noted, however, that to ade-
This behavior is evident in Fig. 9, where the data from another quately assess the load-temperature relationship, the number
strut is replotted with P relative to T in the middle graph, of data points becomes important, as illustrated in Fig. 10,
illustrating that the load cycles with temperature changes [note where the bottom strut data illustrates less convincing results
the relatively consistent slope of lines between data points (i.e., than those of the upper two struts. The amount of data is es-
T/P)] even with a long-term temperature decrease. When pecially important when other construction activities are oc-
the incremental load and temperature changes are plotted curring within the excavation, such as removing earth in the
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against one another (P versus Ti in the lower plot of Fig. strut vicinity or adding or removing struts below, as these ac-
9), this trend is clear. Fig. 9 demonstrates the linear relation- tivities can obscure any trends in the data. Note also that,
ship for much of the data from one example strut; i.e., the because of seasonal temperature changes and continuous earth
sequential increase and decrease of temperature and load (for loading, comparison of absolute temperature and load readings
each peak of the strut load plots) are directly proportional, for extended periods of time could be misleading if the incre-
indicating that both the support system and the soil are be- mental differences are not compared as above.
having linearly and elastically. Those points that do not lie
within the cluster of linear data points represent both load Deriving Earth and Temperature Loads, Mobilized
changes due to external earth loading and errors in measure- Elastic Modulus, and Load Ratio
ment (note that the line must pass through the origin by def-
inition). Data from another array (vertical section) of strain To estimate the earth load, it is necessary to reset the
gauges is illustrated by Fig. 10, where the loads in the top, reference temperature value to which subsequent temperatures

FIG. 9. Measured Strut Load and Change in Temperature: Top Plot Shows Load and Temperature Relative to Elapsed Time; Middle
Plot Illustrates Consistent Cycling of Load Relative to Incremental Changes in Temperature but Independent of Seasonal Temperature
Drop; and Bottom Plot Compares Incremental Temperature Change and Incremental Load Change


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FIG. 10. Example Plots of Strain Gauge Load Readings from Braced Excavation with Three Levels of Struts

are compared in order to be consistent with Statement 2, made shown in Fig. 9, as estimated using the above approach, are
above. The reset reference temperature is thus the chrono- illustrated in Fig. 11.
logical minimum strut temperature recorded for a given time. The mobilized resistance of the soil behind the braced re-
The change in temperature, from the reset reference value, taining system and the load ratio, defined as the temperature-
used for deriving the earth loads is then induced load for a partially restrained strut divided by the tem-
perature-induced load for a perfectly fixed strut, can be derived
Tr = T Tmin (6) using the following simplifying assumptions:
The true temperature dependence of a strut load can be
graphically derived by the slope m of P/Ti , as shown in 1. For soldier pile walls with struts at each pile, the tem-
Figs. 9 and 10. The earth loads at any particular time can then perature-induced load will be spread over a bearing area
be estimated by equal to the horizontal pile width by a length taken as
equidistant to the struts above and below [as used for
PE = P mTr (7) apparent earth pressure diagrams (see Fig. 6)].
2. Total changes in length of the strut L will be the com-
The strut forces due to earth loads for the example strut bined effect temperature changes attempting to realize

FIG. 11. Example of Separation of Earth Load from Total Strut Loads for One Strut (Interpreted Earth Loads Shown in Heavy
Solid Line)


J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2000.126:870-881.

full expansion of the strut steel and the reaction force than to a separate spring constant term. The load ratio LR
provided by the soil behind the wall being equal to PT /PF is then
L = S TL PT L/(AS ES ) (8) L
LR = (14)
(2AS ES )/(sEs(m)) L
3. The deformation of the wall induced by the strut reaction
to temperature changes can be derived using a simple
expression for deformation [e.g., Terzaghi (1943), and Comparison to Published Methods
Soil (1982)]
Data from the instrumented strut locations (NGI 1962a,
B(1 2 )I 1965; Chapman et al. 1972) were used to compare elastic mod-
= (9) uli back calculated using the method of Chapman et al. (1972)
and the method proposed in this paper [(12)] to initial elastic
where = deformation (note the direction sign conven- moduli derived from field or laboratory tests. For both equa-
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tion; = Poissons ratio; = applied stress; Es(m) = mo- tions PT was set equal to mT and T = 1C. The results of
bilized elastic modulus behind the wall within the influ- these comparisons are shown in Fig. 12. To permit comparison
ence of the strut; B = least width of the bearing area; of the methods, it was necessary to use a consistent definition
and I = influence factor for foundation shape and analysis of the linear elastic modulus. Therefore, a conscious choice
point on the foundation. was made to correlate and compare results to an initial (small-
4. Total changes in strut length can be assumed equally dis- strain) linear elastic modulus representative of the likely stress
tributed to each side of a symmetrical excavation; i.e. range experienced during the cycle low-strain loading and un-
loading. It was considered that to be useful during design, the
= L/2 (10) performance must be related to parameters that could be de-
rived from either published values of elastic properties for var-
It has been assumed for this work that the stresses and ious soil deposits or to relatively common, simple, and re-
movement of the wall, within the influence of a particular peatable field or laboratory tests. Chapman et al. (1972)
strut, can be considered approximately equal to those of the compared their work to the results of plate load tests that were
center of a rigid rectangular foundation acting on the surface used to determine an initial linear elastic modulus Ei . Soil
of an elastic half-space. The dimensions of this area, B and s, strength-deformation data provided by NGI (1962a, 1965)
can be defined as the horizontal width of the piles and the total consisted of triaxial compression tests and field vane shear
vertical distance along which the strut load acts, respectively tests. For each of the NGI sites, an initial linear elastic mod-
(see Fig. 5 for s dimension). For this case, where the piles ulus was determined based both directly on the triaxial tests
(including cemented backfill) had a width of approximately 1 and by applying conventional relationships [e.g., Kulhawy and
m, the ratio of length/width varied from about 3 to 5. Consid- Mayne (1990)] to the field test results to provide a range of
ering the ranges of Poissons ratio values and vertical strut initial stiffness values. For the evaluated site the unload-reload
spacings, the term (1 2 )I reduced to between 1 and 1.4 for linear elastic modulus determined from pressuremeter tests
this case. Similar total influence values (0 1 ) also were was utilized, as it best represented the loading conditions from
derived using the method proposed by DAppolonia et al. the soldier piles, minimized disturbance-related deformation
(1968, 1970). For sheet-pile walls in other cases, the sheeting responses observed in the initial loading cycle, and provided
and wales serve a similar stress-distribution function and an a reasonable correlation with the test results (Fig. 2) to allow
appropriate I value could be selected considering B the hori- site-to-site comparisons.
zontal distance between the struts. Fig. 12 illustrates that the Chapman et al. (1972) method
For a symmetrical excavation where the soil conditions on (open symbols in Fig. 12) overestimates the mobilized elastic
each side are similar, the movement of one side of the shoring
system will be equal to half the total temperature-induced
change in length. Considering equal to PT /(sB) and combin-
ing (8)(10) yields
Es(m) = (11)
s[ S TL PT L/(As Es )]
or further, because m = PT /T and T = 1C, then
Es(m) = (12)
s[ S L mL/(As Es )
By combining (8), (9), and (11), the load change induced
by temperature change PT and a ratio of this load to the load
for a perfectly fixed-end strut PF can be derived
s TL
PT = (13a)
(2I)/(sEs(m)) L/(AS ES )
s TLsEs(m) As Es
PT = (13b)
2IAs Es LsEs(m) FIG. 12. Comparison of Methods for Separation of Earth and
Temperature-Induced Strut Loads and Mobilized Elastic Defor-
Eq. (13) is then directly analogous to (4), yet relates the mation Modulus of Retained Soils; Ed Values Calculated Using
loading directly to deformation properties of the soil that can Method of Chapman et al. (1972), and E s (m ) Values Calculated
be determined through conventional testing approaches rather Using Eq. (12)


J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2000.126:870-881.

modulus (in comparison to field/lab test results) of the retained lated elastic modulus values, it is of more importance for de-
earth for all cases, sometimes by nearly an order of magnitude. sign to be able to estimate the temperature-induced loads that
Fig. 12 also illustrates the results of least-squares linear re- a strut might experience. Based on an estimated initial elastic
gressions applied to the data sets. Because suitable published modulus of 138 MPa (between 4 and 10 times the measured
data are limited, the estimation of elastic modulus is subject field values), Chapman et al. (1972) calculated a temperature-
to some uncertainty, and the number of points included in the induced load approximately 30% higher than the measured
regressions is small, the regressions only provide a broad in- load increase for one particular strut exposed to a 22.2C
dicator of the validity of the approaches. The relationship pro- (40F) change. Using the average of the plate load test data,
posed by Chapman et al. (1972) produces greater scatter in where Ei 24 MPa (3,500 psi), and applying (13) with Es(m)
the comparison results (r = 0.75 versus r = 0.80). This scatter = Ei = 24 MPa, a temperature-induced load within about 5%
is likely because of averaging the temperature responses and of the measured load can be calculated for this same strut.
structure dimensions over the full excavation depth and over Using the strut load and initial elastic modulus data for this
a wall length equal to twice the excavation depth, and from project, Fig. 14 compares the estimated temperature-dependent
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assumptions regarding the application of elastic deformation loads PT for a uniform temperature increase of 10C using the
equations. Although correlation of soil parameters with SPT method of Chapman et al. (1972) and the method proposed in
N values are generally crude, the Es(m) values derived using
the proposed relationships also are consistent with the trends
and magnitudes of mobilized elastic modulus values presented
by DAppolonia et al. (1968, 1970) for full-scale foundations,
as shown in Fig. 13.
While Figs. 12 and 13 present comparisons of back-calcu-

FIG. 13. Comparison of Magnitude and Trends of Back-Cal-

culated E s (m ) Values with Mobilized Compression Modulus for FIG. 15. Load Ratio versus Estimated Elastic Modulus for Dif-
Foundation on Preloaded and Normally Loaded Sands [after ferent Strut and Wall Geometry Conditions
DAppolonia et al. (1968)]

FIG. 14. Comparison of Estimated Temperature-Induced Strut FIG. 16. Schematic Geometry and Construction Sequence for
Compression Loads Using Methods of Chapman et al. (1972) Example Parametric Computer Model Used to Estimate Poten-
and This Paper for Constant Temperature Increase of 10C tial Strut Loads


J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2000.126:870-881.

TABLE 1. Example Evaluation of Maximum Strut Loads Combining Results of Simplified Computer Analyses, Eq. (13), and Field
Measurements (Fig. 9) for Excavation Made Primarily in Dense Sand and Silt, Where L = 20.42 m and Es (m ) = 60 MPa
FLAC strut Measured
load, PFLAC T As PF PFLAC PT maximum load Difference
Strut (kN) (C) (m2) (kN) LR (kN) (kN) (%)
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)
Upper 730.0 14 0.018 588.6 0.456 998.5 1,053 5.2
Middle 772.9 6 0.018 252.2 0.411 876.7 764 14.7
Bottom 295.1 8 0.016 308.5 0.405 420.1 394 6.6

this paper. Fig. 14 indicates that the method of Chapman et model was developed to illustrate the use of the above meth-
al. (1972) typically underestimates PT by about 35% and the ods to estimate strut loads. FLAC (FLAC 1996), an explicit
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proposed method overestimates PT by about 23% on average finite-difference analysis program, was used to model the per-
provided that an initial elastic modulus based directly on field formance of the excavation supported by the struts illustrated
or laboratory tests is used. in Figs. 5 and 10 without a priori knowledge of actual strut
The differences in the two approaches to load estimation is loads (Boone et al. 1999a). Soil behavior was modeled as a
more pronounced when estimating the load ratio. Fig. 15 com- Mohr-Coulomb linear elastic perfectly plastic constitutive ma-
pares the load ratios calculated using (14) and the estimated terial with ranging from 33 to 38 as the soils in the vi-
elastic moduli for all cases used for this study. The load ratio cinity of this instrumented section consisted primarily of dense
depends on both the strut length and the wall area over which sand and silt. Two initial states of stress, where Ko = 1 sin
the load is applied. For the project described above, bounds are and 1.0, were used in the modeling to assess the influence
drawn using (14) and the typical range of strut spacing, end of potential in situ horizontal stress conditions on the distri-
area, and length. The lower solid curve of Fig. 15 illustrates the bution of strut loads. The wall and struts were considered lin-
load ratio and elastic modulus relationship for a narrow exca- ear-elastic structural elements, and cohesive-frictional ele-
vation in soft to stiff clay typical of the NGI projects (1962a,b, ments that allowed slippage were used at the soil-wall
1965). The upper curve illustrates a load ratio and elastic mod- interface to account for the discontinuity imposed by the spac-
ulus relationship for a wide excavation in stiff to hard or dense ing of the soldier piles and the cuts for the lagging between
ground, similar to the project of Chapman et al. (1972) and this the piles.
project. The use of (5) to estimate the load ratio for strut di- The excavation stages were based on the typical construc-
mensions typical of this project also is illustrated in Fig. 15, tion practices in the area of the project where a temporary
highlighting the differences in the approaches if estimates of central trench is cut to allow equipment access, leaving berms
elastic modulus values from laboratory or field tests are used. at the sides. Struts are then installed, and the remainder of the
It is expected that if reasonable estimates of the elastic modulus earth is removed to the next stage (Fig. 16). The preloading
can be made and combined with estimates of the strut sizes and sequence and preloads that were actually achieved also were
spacing, reasonable estimates of the temperature-induced loads included in the model. Table 1 summarizes the strut loads from
can be calculated for new projects. The combination of loads this analysis, maximum measured loads, the maximum tem-
derived from analytical models and temperature effects could perature change up to the time of maximum load, and esti-
then be more rationally compared to empirical measurements mated temperature-induced loads using the proposed approach.
of maximum brace loads in excavations. The table illustrates that the simple computer analysis under-
estimates the strut loading by as much as 30%. Once the tem-
Example Application to Simplified Computer Model perature effects are considered, however, the differences be-
tween the estimated and actual measured loads are less than
Because numerical models are being used more frequently about 15%. More importantly, the computer analyses indicated
for design and analysis of braced excavations, a simplified that the middle strut would likely experience the highest loads

FIG. 17. Comparison of Strut Load Distributions Resulting from Computer Analyses for Example Group of Struts (Left Plot) and Ra-
tio of Calculated to Measured Loads (Right Plot) Illustrating Influence of Temperature Effects on Strut Loads (Also See Table 1)


J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2000.126:870-881.

regardless of the soil friction angles and initial stress condi- Conf. on Perf. of Earth and Earth Supported Struct., Vol. 3, ASCE,
tions ( = 3338, Ko = 1 sin 1.0). The field data New York, 271293.
DAppolonia, D. J., DAppolonia, E., and Brissette, R. F. (1968). Set-
(Figs. 6 and 10), however, show that the upper strut often tlement of spread footings on sand. J. Soil Mech. and Found. Div.,
experienced the highest loads. The instrumented upper struts ASCE, 94(3), 735760.
for which data is shown in Figs. 6 and 10 were typically in- DAppolonia, D. J., DAppolonia, E., and Brissette, R. F. (1970). Set-
stalled in the fall, winter, or spring. Where three struts were tlement of spread footings on sand, closure. J. Soil Mech. and Found.
used for the excavation support, the instrumented middle struts Div., ASCE, 96(2), 754761.
were typically installed in late spring or summer. Thus, the Dunnicliff, J. (1988). Geotechnical instrumentation for monitoring field
performance, Wiley, New York.
upper struts experienced greater increases in temperature than Endo, M., and Kawasaki, T. (1963). Study of thermal stresses acting on
the middle strut level. After including temperature differences struts. Trans. Arch. Inst. of Japan, 63, 689692.
similar to those experienced in the field, the final distribution FLAC users manual. (1996). Itasca Consulting Group Inc., Minneapolis.
of estimated strut loads is more reflective of the actual mea- Goldberg, D. T., Jaworski, W. E., and Gordon, M. D. (1976). Lateral
surements, as illustrated by Table 1 and Fig. 17. support systems and underpinning: Vol. IIDesign fundamentals, Vol.
Downloaded from by National Chung Hsing University on 03/29/14. Copyright ASCE. For personal use only; all rights reserved.

IIIConstruction methods. Rep. No. FHWA-RD-75-130, Fed. Hwy.

Admin., U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C.
CONCLUSIONS Ishii, Y., Miyazaki, Y., Murata, J., and Kazama, S. (1995). Lateral pres-
sures acting on earth retaining systemsA survey on Japanese litera-
By comparing the incremental changes of strut load and ture. Underground construction in soft ground, K. Fujita and O. Ku-
temperature from vibrating wire strain gauge data, important sakabe, eds., Balkema, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 283290.
behavioral characteristics can be interpreted for braced exca- Kulhawy, F. H., and Mayne, P. (1990). Manual on estimating soil prop-
erties for foundation design. Rep. EPRI EL-6800, Electric Power Re-
vations including: the temperature-dependent loads, relative search Institute, Palo Alto, Calif.
fixity of the strut end, and mobilized soil loads and stiffness. Lateral earth pressure studies on strutted excavations of the Toronto sub-
The proposed equations proved reliable for estimation of tem- way system. (1967). Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto.
perature-induced loads for the subject case history as well as Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI). (1962a). Measurements at a
for earlier published case histories using elastic modulus data strutted excavation. Oslo Tech. School, Tech. Rep. No. 2, Oslo.
derived from conventional field or laboratory testing results. Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI). (1962b). Vibrating wire mea-
suring devices used at strutted excavations. Tech. Rep. No. 9, Oslo.
The proposed approach provides a transparent and strut-spe- Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI). (1965). Measurements at a
cific means of evaluating the effects of temperature on struts strutted excavation, the new headquarters building of the Norwegian
within braced excavations and is supported by both empirical Telecommunication Administration, Oslo. Tech. Rep. No. 4, Oslo.
data and practical application of elastic theory. Conventional ORourke, T. D., and Cording, E. J. (1975). Measurement of strut loads
apparent earth pressure diagrams have long been used as a by means of vibrating wire strain gages. Performance monitoring for
tool for design of braced excavation support systems. How- geotechnical construction, ASTM STP 584, ASTM, West Consho-
hocken, Pa., 5877.
ever, the choice of appropriate diagrams and how they are Peck, R. B. (1969). Deep excavations and tunnelling in soft ground:
derived for individual sites considering layered soil deposits, State-of-the-art report. Proc., 7th Int. Conf. on Soil Mech. and Found.
necessary stiffness for deformation control, and temperature- Engrg., Sociedad Mexicana de Mecanica de Suelos, Mexico City, 225
induced loads has been the subject of considerable judgment. 290.
Design of braces for future excavations and back analysis of Soil mechanics, design manual 7.1, NAVFAC DM-7.1. (1982). United
empirical data may be better rationalized considering earth States Department of the Navy, Alexandria, Va.
Terzaghi, K. (1943). Theoretical soil mechanics, Wiley, New York.
loads from analytical or computer models, the possible timing
of brace installation, the temperature fluctuations that the
braces could be exposed to, and the elastic properties of the APPENDIX II. NOTATION
retained earth. The ability to separate components of strut load
also could aid in the interpretation of the causes of strut load The following symbols are used in this paper:
changes as related to construction activities that might other-
wise be obscured. B = least width of bearing area;
Ed = mobilized deformation modulus of soil as used by Chap-
man et al. (1972);
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Ei = initial (small strain) elastic modulus of soil;
Eo = soil elastic modulus derived from linear portion of pres-
The writers thank both B. Sellers, of Geokon Inc., (Lebanon, N.H.) suremeter test curve on first loading [e.g., Briaud (1986)];
and J. Dunnicliff for their discussions during the early preparation of this
paper, S. Pang for compilation of the raw data, H. Bidhendi for numerical
ER = soil elastic modulus derived from linear approximation of
modeling work, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. unload-reload cycle conducted during pressuremeter test
[e.g., Briaud (1986)];
ES = elastic modulus of steel [200 106 kPa (29,000 ksi)];
APPENDIX I. REFERENCES Es(m) = secant elastic modulus of soil (mobilized);
I = shape and rigidity settlement influence factor (Soil 1982);
Base, G. D. (1955). Further notes on the Demec, a demountable me-
KE = spring constant for retained earth as used by Endo and
chanical strain gage for concrete structures. Mag. of Concrete Res.,
London, 7(19), 3538.
Kawasaki (1963) [as cited in Ishii et al. (1995)];
Batten, M., and Powrie, W. (1996). Prop loads in large braced excava- LR = load ratio or percentage of measured load change com-
tions. Ground Engrg., London, October, 2930. pared to theoretical thermally induced load change in per-
Boone, S. J., Bidhendi, H., Westland, J., and Grabinsky, M. (1999a). fectly fixed steel strut; i.e., LR = PT /PF ;
Rationalizing the practice of strut preloading for braced excavations. m = slope of linear portion of temperature-dependent load
Geo-engineering for underground facilities, Geotech. Spec. Publ. No. change; i.e., m = Pi /Ti ;
90, ASCE, Reston, Va., 393404. P = total load experienced by strut steel;
Boone, S. J., Westland, J., and Nusink, R. (1999b). Comparative eval- PE = measured load change due to external earth loading;
uation of building responses to an adjacent deep braced excavation. PF = load change due to thermal changes in fixed-end strut;
Can. Geotech. J., Ottawa, 36(2), 210223.
Briaud, J. L. (1986). Pressuremeter and foundation design. Use of in
PT = measured load change due to temperature change;
situ tests in geotech. engrg., Geotech. Spec. Publ. No. 6, ASCE, New s = length measured equidistant from subject strut to struts
York, 74115. above and below [as used for apparent earth pressure di-
Chapman, K. R., Cording, E. J., and Schnabel, H. (1972). Performance agrams (Fig. 2)];
of a braced excavation in granular and cohesive soils. Proc., Spec. T = strut temperature;


J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2000.126:870-881.

G = coefficient of thermal expansion of strain gauge; = total strain;
S = coefficient of thermal expansion of steel strut per degree S = strain resulting from applied stress;
Celsus = 11.7 106; T = strain resulting from temperature change;
P = incremental difference in strut load between two consec- 0 = depth of foundation embedment settlement influence fac-
utive readings; tor as used by DAppolonia et al. (1968, 1970);
T = change in temperature relative to original strut tempera- 1 = length/width and thickness of compressible stratum set-
ture; tlement influence factor as used by DAppolonia et al.
Ti = incremental difference in temperature between two con- (1968, 1970);
secutive readings; = applied stress at interface of bearing area and soil;
Tr = reset change in temperature relative to minimum ex- = tension; and
perienced strut temperature; = compression loads and strains.
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J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2000.126:870-881.