General Principle of Design of Free Cantilever Sheet Piling.

The action of the earth pressure against cantilever sheet piling can be best illustrated by a simple case shown in Fig. 20.5 (a). In this case, the sheet piling is assumed to be perfectly rigid. When a horizontal force P is applied at the top of the piling, the upper portion of the piling tilts in the direction of P and the lower portion moves in the opposite direction as shown by a dashed line in the figure. Thus the piling rotates about a stationary point O'. The portion above O' is subjected to a passive earth pressure from the soil on the left side of the piles and an active pressure on the right side of the piling, whereas the lower portion O'g is subjected to a passive earth pressure on the right side and an active pressure on the left side of the piling. At point O' the piling does not move and therefore is subjected to equal and opposite earth pressures (at-rest pressure from both sides) with a net pressure equal to zero. The net earth pressure (the difference between the passive and the active) is represented by abO'c in Fig. 20.5 (b). For the purpose of design, the curve bO'c is replaced by a straight line dc. Point d is located at such a location on the line af that the sheet piling is in static equilibrium under the action of force P and the earth pressures represented by the areas ade and ecg. The position of point d can be determined by a trial and error method.

This discussion leads to the conclusion that cantilever sheet piling derives its stability from passive earth pressure on both sides of the piling. However, the distribution of earth pressure is different between sheet piling in granular soils and sheet piling in cohesive soils. The pressure distribution is likely to change with time for sheet pilings in clay.

Figure 20.5 Example illustrating earth pressure on cantilever sheet piling

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