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  • Writer's pictureSi Shen

The ‘reverse’, ‘sideways’ and ‘inclined’ bearing capacity problems

This previous blog explained the bearing capacity of a foundation. This is a normal situation commonly seen everywhere. In addition, the bearing capacity issues can be observed in other forms of construction and in all directions. This blog post explains the ‘reverse’, ‘sideways’ and ‘inclined’ bearing capacity problems.




Consider a different situation below – a deep excavation is being made. The soil above the excavation formation level can be considered a kind of surcharge bearing on the formation. This results in the heave of the soil at the formation, which can be exacerbated by the presence of water pressure from water-bearing strata underneath. The stability of the excavation in this case can be calculated using a ‘stability number N’ approach, similar to the face stability calculations of a tunnel.




As for a gravity retaining wall, the tendency for sliding is resisted by the combination of base friction and passive resistance. The passive side is a sideways bearing capacity problem, where the soil tends to heave and ultimately fails at an angle similar to the failure line we would see in a triaxial test. Passive resistance can only be mobilised within the wedge.




In the case of anchored retaining wall, the tension in the ground anchors depends on the bearing capacity of the fixed end, which acts as an inclined pile. The stability of this inclined pile depends on the bearing capacity of the pile, exactly the same way as a normal vertical pile. The bearing capacity is also calculated in the same manner as a normal pile.




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