Course Title: 
Earth Retaining Structures
Course Code: 
Year Taught: 
Undergraduate (UG)
School of Engineering

'Earth Retaining Structures' is a course offered in B. Tech. in Civil Engineering program at School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.

Unit 1

Earth dams – types of dams – selection of type of dam based on material availability – foundation conditions and topography. Design details – crest, free board, upstream and downstream slopes, upstream and downstream slope protection – central and inclined cores – types and design of filters. Seepage analysis and control – seepage through dam and foundations – control of seepage in earth dam and foundation. Stability analysis – critical stability conditions – Evaluation of stability by Bishop’s and sliding wedge methods under critical conditions.

Unit 2

Construction techniques – methods of construction – quality control. Instrumentation – measurement of pore pressures. Earth pressure theories – Rankine’s and Coulomb’s earth pressure theories for cohesionless and cohesive backfills – Computation of earth pressures for various cases – inclined – with surcharge – submerged and partly submerged – stratified backfills.

Rigid retaining structures – active and passive earth pressures against gravity retaining walls – Surcharge - Computation of earth pressures by Trial wedge method – a mathematical approach for completely submerged andpartly submerged backfills – Importance of capillarity tension in earth pressure.

Graphical methods of earth pressure computation – Trial wedge method for coulomb’s and Rankine’s conditions, for regular and irregular ground and wall conditions – Rebhan’s construction for active pressure – Friction circle method – Logarithmic spiral method.

Unit 3

Design of gravity retaining wall – Cantilever retaining walls Flexible retaining structure – type and methods of construction – Design strength parameters – safety factor for sheet pile walls – Computation of earth pressures against cantilever sheet piles in cohesionless and cohesive soils –anchored sheet piles – free earth method – fixed earth method – Rowe’s moment reduction method – Stability of sheet piling.Diaphragm walls and coffer dams – type of diaphragm walls and their construction techniques in various soil types – Earth pressure on braced cuts and coffer dams – Design of coffer dams.


  • Winterkorn H. F. and Fand H. Y., “Foundation Engineering handbook”, Galgotia, 2000.
  • Clayton C. R. I, Militisky, J and Woods, “Earth Pressure and Earth Retaining Structures”, Survey university press, 1993.


  • Das, B. M., “Principles of Foundation Engineering”, CL Engineering, 2013.
  • Das, B. M., “Fundamentals of Geotechnical Engineering”, CL Engineering, 2013.
  • Swami Saran, “Analysis and Design of Foundations and Retaining Structures”, IK International Publishing, 2012.