First Advisor

Trevor D. Smith

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil Engineering


Piling (Civil engineering) -- Mathematical models, Retaining walls -- Design and construction -- Mathematical models, Finite element method, ABAQUS (Computer program)



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 155 p.)


Soil nail walls are a form of mechanical earth stabilization for cut situations. They consist of the introduction of passive inclusions (nails) into soil cut lifts. These nailed lifts are then tied together with a structural facing (usually shotcrete) . The wall lifts are constructed incrementally from the top of cut down. Soil nail walls are being recognized as having potential for large cost savings over other alternatives. The increasing need to provide high capacity roadways in restricted rights of way under structures such as bridges will require increasing use of techniques such as combined soil nail and piling walls. The Swift Delta Soil Nail wall required installing nails between some of the existing pipe piling on the Oregon Slough Bridge. This raised questions of whether the piling would undergo internal stress changes due to the nail wall construction. Thus, it was considered necessary to understand the soil nail wall structure interaction in relation to the existing pile supported abutment. The purpose of this study was to investigate the Swift Delta Wall using finite element (FE) modeling techniques. Valuable data were available from the instrumentation of the swift Delta Wall. These data were compared with the results of the FE modeling. This study attempts to answer the following two questions: 1. Is there potential for the introduction of new bending stresses to the existing piling? 2. Is the soil nail wall system influenced by the presence of the piling? A general purpose FE code called ABAQUS was used to perform both linear and non-linear analyses. The analyses showed that the piling definitely underwent some stress changes. In addition they also indicated that piling influence resulted in lower nail stresses. Comparison of measured data to predicted behavior showed good agreement in wall face deflection but inconsistent agreement in nail stresses. This demonstrated the difficulty of modeling a soil nail due to the many variables resulting from nail installation.


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