Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Civil Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Zhe Luo

First Reader

David Roke

Second Reader

Juliang Tao


Failure of excavations can be incredibly costly. Lives can be lost, projects delayed for months, and adjacent structures damaged by ground surface settlement related to both basal-heave and serviceability failures. This report summarizes developments in recent years that pertain to deep excavations in urban environments and mathematical methods to best avoid failures. The ultimate limit state (basal-heave and piping failure), and serviceability limit state (ground surface settlement and lateral wall defection) are the basis for geotechnical design in excavations. Structurally, the strength limit state (structural strength of the wall), serviceability limit state (deformation of the retaining wall), and stability (such as buckling) must be considered in design. Geotechnical and structural design must work hand in hand to provide the best retaining system to make sure lives and property are protected.