Earth Pressures

  • G. W. Clough
  • J. M. Duncan


Design of earth-retaining structures requires knowledge of the earth and water loads that will be exerted on them. The first methods for determination of earth loads acting on retaining structures were developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by Coulomb and Rankine. These were based on idealized concepts where the retaining structure is rigid and moves as a unit. Also, the soil that loads the wall is assumed to be “wished in place,” and to undergo systematic, prescribed failure patterns as the wall displaces. These assumptions ignore the true effects of soil-structure interaction, and the processes of construction of the system. Nonetheless, the Coulomb and Rankine methods provide simple and reasonably accurate means for estimating earth loads, and remain useful tools today.


Earth Pressure Failure Surface Loose Sand Active Earth Pressure Lateral Earth Pressure 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. W. Clough
    • 1
  • J. M. Duncan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityUSA

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