Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Engineering Science

First Advisor

Osouli, Abdolreza

Second Advisor

Kolay, Prabir


In this investigation, seismic response of retaining walls constructed with cohesive and cohesionless backfill materials was studied. Fully dynamic analysis based on finite difference method was used to evaluate the performance of retaining walls during the earthquake. The analysis response was verified by the experimental study conducted on a retaining wall system with cohesive backfill material in the literature. The effects of cohesion and free-field peak ground acceleration (PGA) on seismic earth thrust, the point of action of earth thrust, and maximum wall moment during the earthquake were compared with analytical and experimental solutions. The numerical results were compared with various analytical solutions. The motion characteristics of the retaining wall during the earthquake were also considered. The relative displacement of the walls with various backfill cohesions, under different ground motions, and free-field PGAs were investigated. Current analytical and empirical correlations developed based on Newmark sliding block method for estimating retaining wall movement during earthquakes were compared with the numerical approach. Consequently, fragility analyses were conducted to determine the probability of damage to the retaining walls. To evaluate the fragility of the studied models, specific failure criterion was chosen for retaining walls based on the suggested methods in practice. Using numerical approaches, the effects of soil-wall interaction and wall rigidity on the seismic response of retaining walls were also evaluated in earthquake conditions for both cohesive and cohesionless backfill materials. According to the findings, practical correlations were presented for conducting the seismic design of retaining walls.




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