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Design of concrete cantilever retaining wall




Common failure of retaining wall:


Stability failure

1.        Overturning.

2.        Sliding.

3.        Bearing capacity.



Structural failure


4.        Bending or shear failure of stem.

5.        Bending or shear failure of heel.

6.        Bending or shear failure of toe.

7.        Bending or shear failure of key.



All items above should be considered in designing a retaining wall. 

There is also a rotational stability failure that is not normally checked except when a retaining wall is located on a slope.


Design procedure for cantilever retaining wall:


Stability analysis

1.        Check factor of safety against overturning.

2.        Check soil bearing pressure.

3.        Check factor of safety against sliding.


Reinforced concrete design

1.        Check thickness of stem for shear stress.

2.        Design stem reinforcement for bending.

3.        Check thickness of heel for shear stress.

4.        Design heel reinforcement.

5.        Check shear stress for toe when the toe is long.

6.        Design toe reinforcement for bending.

7.        Check shear stress in key when key is deep and narrow.

8.        Design key reinforcement for bending.



Related topics:

Physical properties of soil

Lateral earth pressure