What Is A Retaining Wall?


Simply put, retaining walls are structures whose aim is to restrict the movement of soil at unnatural slopes (difference in elevation). They are being used for quite some time now and are a frequent sight in mountainous regions where roads have been built. Apart from that, retaining walls are also used to restrain water.

How Does Retaining Wall Work?

Different types of retaining wall work differently, however, the main consideration in designing and subsequently the working principle of a retaining wall is to overcome the pressure and moment being exerted by the entity that it is being used to restrain. For instance; if you’re restraining soil, there will be lateral earth pressure that is dependent on the angle of friction (phi) and the cohesive strength of soil. It is important to provide water pores so that hydraulic pressure can be relieved from the wall, unless it is designed to restrain water.

Types of Retaining Wall

  • Gravity
  • Cantilevered
  • Sheet piling
  • Anchored
  • Cellular Confinement
  • Soil nailing
  • Soil-strengthened
  • Gabion meshes
  • Mechanical stabilization

Applications of Retaining Wall

  • Dams
  • Slope Stabilization
  • Mountain roads
  • Homes
  • Marine Works
  • High security Fencing
  • Protection of Culverts

Precautionary Measures

  • Water Drainage Pores must be provided.
  • Factor of safety
  • Simulations should be run before construction.
  • Usually one method of retaining wall is not enough and you should combine 2-3 techniques to achieve the desired result.
  • Increase in height won’t increase the capability of retaining wall, rather it would decrease it.