Probabilistic FEM-Analysis for the Retaining Wall of a Deep Excavation at SLS

Alexandra Ene, Timo Schweckendiek, Horatiu Popa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Common practice for design of retaining walls for deep excavations is by using characteristic values for geotechnical parameters—as a cautious estimate—for Serviceability Limit State (SLS) and combined with partial factors for Ultimate Limit State (ULS), as indicated in the current design codes such as the Eurocodes. However, more complex probabilistic approaches are increasing in application in order to provide a more uniform level of reliability, thus reducing the cost of the investment or the risk, or both. Also, in terms of tools and methods for performing the calculations, the Finite Element Method (FEM) is very popular nowadays due accessible computers power and user-friendly specialized software which can provide more realistic model, with affordable calculation effort. The present paper presents a case study of applied full probabilistic analysis of a retaining wall for real project deep excavation in Bucharest city, Romania, by FEM calculation in Plaxis 2D software coupled with Probabilistic Toolkit (PTK) software for reliability calculation. The limit function is set on a target value for the displacements of the retaining wall to allow to design for the SLS, since this is in many cases the governing state for deep excavations in urban areas. Different probability distributions are used for assessing the statistics of the geotechnical parameters and the reliability results obtained through these are discussed. Also, a discussion is made on the necessity of including more specific target reliability values for SLS verification and especially for temporary structures in the design codes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication18th International Probabilistic Workshop, IPW 2020
EditorsJosé C. Matos, Paulo B. Lourenço, Daniel V. Oliveira, Jorge Branco, Dirk Proske, Rui A. Silva, Hélder S. Sousa
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-73616-3
ISBN (Print)9783030736156
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event18th International Probabilistic Workshop, IPW 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 12 May 202114 May 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
Volume153 LNCE
ISSN (Print)2366-2557
ISSN (Electronic)2366-2565


Conference18th International Probabilistic Workshop, IPW 2020
CityVirtual, Online


  • FEM
  • Probabilistic design
  • Reliability
  • Retaining walls
  • Serviceability limit state


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