Backfill sand supported by a concrete retaining wall (Lateral Earth Pressure) Abaqus

This example been chosen from Example 7.3 Sam Helwany book

In this example we intend to simulate backfill sand supported by a concrete retaining wall in the Abaqus software. also we intend to calculate the Lateral Earth Pressure exerted on the retaining wall

The sand layer is 3 m high. A 3-m-high retaining wall provides lateral support to the soil

The concrete retaining wall is assumed to be linear elastic with a Young’s modulus of 21.3 GPa and a Poisson ratio of 0.2

The sand layer is assumed to be elastoplastic, obeying the cap model with cap hardening properties

In this example , we use two steps , in the first step , we apply a 7 kPa surcharge pressure at the surface of the backfill also we apply weight of the backfill soil and retaining wall in this step

There are three possible types of lateral earth pressure that can be exerted on a retaining wall. 1- At-rest earth pressure 2- Active earth pressure 3- Passive earth pressure

 At rest earth pressure

At-rest earth pressure occurs when the retaining wall is not allowed to move away or toward the retained soil

In this example we calculate the at-rest lateral earth pressure exerted on the retaining wall using abaqus

Comparison between Abaqus results and Sam Helwany book results

Active earth pressure

Active earth pressure occurs when the retaining wall is permitted to move away from the retained soil

In this example we calculate the active lateral earth pressure exerted on the retaining wall using abaqus

Comparison between Abaqus results and Sam Helwany book results

Passive earth pressure

Passive earth pressure occurs when the retaining wall is forced to move toward the retained soil

In this example we calculate the passive lateral earth pressure exerted on the retaining wall using abaqus

Comparison between Abaqus results and Sam Helwany book results
Displacement vectors in retaining wall and the backfill soil at active failure from Abaqus
Displacement vectors in retaining wall and the backfill soil at active failure from Sam Helwany book

Information about this tutorial

Full video (Step by step)


Cae file


inp file


Excel file (Results, At-Rest Lateral Earth Pressure)


Excel file (Results, Active Lateral Earth Pressure)


Excel file (Results, Passive Lateral Earth Pressure)



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