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Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are some kind of fixed walls, that are not able to be changed. Retaining walls are used to support soil laterally so that they can keep possession of different levels on the two sides.
The retaining wall is a structure that is designed and built for holding back soil substances. This lateral pressure (same as soil lateral) can also be because of the liquid pressure, earth filling, sand, and other materials, that are resembled small particles and grains. In other words, they are used for bounding soils between two different heights. The walls that retain soil on the backsides, as well as, water on their front sides are called a bulkhead, and sometimes seawall.

Types of Retaining Walls

Retaining walls can be built different types of structures, which are used for a number of goals.

  • Anchored retaining wall
  • Crib retaining wall
  • Cantilever retaining wall
  • Counter-fort or buttressed retaining wall
  • Gravity retaining wall
  • Gabion retaining wall
  • Hybrid systems
  • Mechanically stabilized earth retaining wall (MSE)
  • Piled retaining wall

Anchored Retaining Walls

Anchored retaining wall is used for the areas that are limited and narrow, however, retaining walls are required. These types of retaining walls are recommended for loose soil over rocks. High retaining walls, significantly can be raised using anchored retaining walls structuring the system. Deep cable rods or also wires are moved deep towards aside into the ground, then they are filled with concrete for providing an anchor.

Crib Retaining Walls

Crib retaining walls are types of gravity walls that are constructed of individual interlocking boxes that are made of pre-cast concrete, or sometimes from timber. Afterward, those boxes are filled with stone that is crushed or coarse granular substances instead of creating a free flow structure.

Cantilever retaining wall

Cantilever retaining walls are made of base and stem slab. These kinds of retaining walls are constructed from pre-cast concrete, reinforced concrete, or prestressed concrete. Cantilever retaining walls are definitely the most common types among other retaining walls. They are wither constructed on prefabricated offsite (pre-cast) or on-site.
The base slab's portion directly underneath backfill materials is termed as a heel, and the rest part is called toe.
Cantilever retaining walls can be economical when they are up to a height of ten meters, as long as compared with the gravity walls it requires a smaller amount of concrete. Although, Cantilever retaining walls' design should be carefully executed, and the same shall be with its construction. Take into account, that the overturning, sliding and bearing pressure should be employed during its design, just like it is done with gravity walls.
Timber retaining walls and reinforced pre-cast are included in basic types of crib retaining walls.

Counter-fort or buttressed retaining wall

Counter-fort or buttressed retaining is the same as a cantilever retaining walls, that differ the strengthened with the back of the base and wall slabs with counter forts monolithic.
Counter fort spacings are larger to a small degree or even equal to half of the counter-fort height. Counter fort walls height extends between 8-12 meters.

Gravity Retaining Wall

Gravity Retaining Wall

Gravity retaining walls depend on its own weight only for resisting lateral earth pressure. In general, gravity retaining walls are vast, because they require sufficiently great gravity load to counteract soil pressure.
Bearing, overturning and sliding forces should be taken into account (as we mentioned in the previous paragraph) in designing the structure of gravity retaining walls.
These types of retaining walls can be constructed from stone, concrete and masonry units and they are economical in case of height under 4 meters.
Another gravity retaining wall's types are gabions, crib retaining wall ad bin retaining.

Gabion Retaining Wall

As was said above, the gabion retaining wall is one of the several types of gravity retaining walls. Gabion retaining walls are rectangular wire mesh boxes with multi cells, which can be filled with various appropriate materials, such as rocks and so on. This kind of wall is used for the construction of erosion control structures and also for stabilizing steep slopes.

Hybrid Systems

Retaining walls that employ reinforcement and mass at once for stability are called composite or hybrid retaining wall systems.
So the retaining walls that have one and more courses built from a single block structure, and also one or more various courses constructed from the interlocking subcomponents' block structures.
For the stability of the courses of unitary blocks, a tie-back sheet is positioned between one or more following courses of the blocks and extended into fill substance that is retained behind the wall.

Mechanically Stabilized Earth Retaining Wall (MSE)

MSE retaining walls are among the most commonly constructed retaining walls, and one of the reasons is that they are the most economical ones compared with the other types of retaining walls.
Mechanically stabilized earth retaining walls are filled with granular fills and are held to each other by reinforcements, which are either plastic mashes or metallic strips.
The present retaining wall type includes concrete block, panel and not permanent earth retaining walls.

Piled Retaining Wall

Piled Retaining Walls Construction

Piled Retaining Walls are constructed by operating concrete piles that are reinforced, being adjacent together. The piles are forced into a depth that is sufficient to counter the force trying to push over the wall.
Piled retaining walls can be both permanent and temporary as well. They provide hight stiffness retaining details, which will be able to hold lateral pressure in massive excavation depths without disturbance to the other properties or structures surrounded it.
Sheet pile wall is built with steel sheets into excavations or slope up to a needed depth, but it can not resist too high pressure.
Piled retaining walls' economical height is 6 meters.


So, retaining walls' main goal is constructed and designed structure to resist the lateral pressures of soil, whenever there is a required or desired modify in the ground elevation, that surpasses the angle of repose of the soil.
The walls of basements of different buildings are considered another kind of retaining wall, as well. However, the term, in general, refers to a cantilever retaining walls, which are such structures, that stand free without any lateral support at their top.