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Design considerations for one-strut failure according to


TR26 a practical approach for practising engineers
a a a a b
K.F. Pong , S.L. Foo , C.G. Chinnaswamy , C.C.D. Ng & W.L. Chow
a
Geotechnical Engineering Department, Meinhardt Infrastructure Pte Ltd (Member of
Meinhardt Group), Singapore
b
Formerly of Geotechnical Amberg and TTI Engineering Pte Ltd

Version of record first published: 18 Jul 2012

To cite this article: K.F. Pong, S.L. Foo, C.G. Chinnaswamy, C.C.D. Ng & W.L. Chow (2012): Design considerations for one-
strut failure according to TR26 a practical approach for practising engineers, The IES Journal Part A: Civil & Structural
Engineering, 5:3, 166-180

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The IES Journal Part A: Civil & Structural Engineering
Vol. 5, No. 3, August 2012, 166180

TECHNICAL PAPER
Design considerations for one-strut failure according to TR26 a practical approach for practising
engineers
K.F. Ponga*, S.L. Fooa, C.G. Chinnaswamya, C.C.D. Nga and W.L. Chowb
a
Geotechnical Engineering Department, Meinhardt Infrastructure Pte Ltd (Member of Meinhardt Group), Singapore; bFormerly of
Geotechnical Amberg and TTI Engineering Pte Ltd
(Received 22 May 2012; nal version received 13 June 2012)

Technical Reference 26: 2010 (TR26: 2010) requires the design of an earth retaining and stabilising system (ERSS) to
be structurally safe, robust and has sucient redundancy to avoid catastrophic collapse of the ERSS system resulting
from an isolated case of overloading or failure of any particular member which may lead to the failure of adjacent
members thus leading to progressive failure. One such redundancy check is the condition, where failure of a single
strut, anchor or tie-rod occurs or more commonly known as one-strut failure (OSF) stated in Clause 3.7.4 of TR26:
2010 at each stage of the construction works. Analysis for OSF is actually a three-dimensional (3D) problem and
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carrying out such 3D analyses covering all the cases of wall stiness, properties of the soil layers, friction between
retaining wall panels in the case of diaphragm wall, soil arching eect due to the deection of the retaining wall, etc. is
very time consuming. In the conventional approach for OSF using two-dimensional (2D) plane strain analysis, the
whole layer of failing strut is removed and thus provides paths to distribute the forces in the vertical direction only.
This usually leads to more conservative design with heavier struts sections. In this paper, a procedure to rationally
idealise OSF from a 3D analysis to a 2D plane strain analysis is presented. This simplied approach will be more
practical for practising engineers to arrive at a more ecient design without the need for rigorous 3D analysis. The
results of this simplied approach are compared with the conventional approach and results incorporating appropriate
strut stiness from 3D analysis. The comparison showed that the approach is reasonable.
Keywords: numerical modelling; deep excavation; practical approach; three-dimensional analysis; one-strut failure;
redundancy check; catastrophic collapse; overloading; progressive failure; TR26

1. Introduction to bad tting or strut failure due to disproportionate


Due to scarcity of land aboveground especially in loads. The load of the failed strut will be redistributed
urban area, underground infrastructure projects such to the adjacent struts which are not designed for these
as underground rails, roads and utilities tunnels additional loads, thus resulting in the progressive
networks are increasingly built and are often in close failure of the whole strutting system.
proximity to existing structures and buildings. The Clause 3.7.4 of Technical Reference 26: 2010
construction of these underground structures inevita- (TR26: 2010) states that the design for deep excavations
bly requires the use of safe and robust earth retaining should accommodate possible failure of any individual
and stabilising system (ERSS) for the deep excavations strut, tie rod, ground anchor, structural member or
to minimise ground movement and impact to the connection at each stage of the construction works. The
surrounding structures and buildings. Hence, the wall and remaining supporting members, including
structural safety and robustness are the prime con- walings and connections, should be capable of carrying
siderations and requirements of the ERSS design and the load from the failed member. The remaining
construction. Furthermore, the ERSS should have structural system and wall should continue to be safe
sucient redundancy to avoid any catastrophic col- without causing any danger to surrounding adjacent
lapse of the supporting system resulting from an structures and properties. This requirement is commonly
isolated case of overloading or failure of any particular known in Singapore as one-strut failure (OSF). It is
supporting element. In an ERSS system, overall failure necessary to consider the requirement of OSF in the
as described by Puller (2003) is more likely to occur design of the ERSS for deep excavation.
either as a result of inadequate strutting or passive soil In practice, it may not be necessary to check all the
failure if the key-in depth is inadequate. Sometimes, combinations of OSF. For example, if there are six
this inadequacy in the strutting system may occur due struts in a deep excavation, the total number of

*Corresponding author. Email: pkf@meinhardt-infra.com.sg

ISSN 1937-3260 print/ISSN 1937-3279 online


2012 The Institution of Engineers, Singapore
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19373260.2012.700790
http://www.tandfonline.com
The IES Journal Part A: Civil & Structural Engineering 167

possible cases of OSF is 21. It is very onerous to check 2. Modelling of strutting system
all 21 cases. In reality, only six cases need to be Figure 1 shows a typical layout of the strutting system
analysed. The rst case is OSF for strut at level 1 (S1) for an ERSS commonly used in deep excavation
when the excavation reaches strut at level 2 (S2) but projects. The soil and water pressures acting on the
before installing S2. The second case is OSF for S2 retaining wall are partially transferred to the struts
when the excavation reaches strut at level 3 (S3) but through the walers and partially to the soil support
before installing S3, etc. The sixth case is OSF for strut below the excavation level. In this force transfer
at level 6 (S6) when the excavation reaches the nal mechanism from soil to strut, the waler acts as a
excavation level. load distributing member and the strut acts as
Analysis for OSF is actually a three-dimensional compression member to balance the soil and water
(3D) problem and carrying out such 3D analyses pressures from both sides of the ERSS to maintain the
covering all the cases of wall stiness, properties of the force equilibrium in the system and thus stabilises the
soil layers, friction between retaining wall panels in ERSS.
the case of diaphragm wall, soil arching eect due to In order to carry out the plane strain analysis, the
the deection of the retaining wall etc. is very time equivalent stiness of the strut supporting system is
consuming. In the conventional design approach for needed in the 2D numerical analysis. This equivalent
OSF using two-dimensional (2D) plane strain analysis, stiness can be obtained as two springs in series as
the whole layer of failing strut is removed and thus shown in Figure 2 and can be derived as follows:
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provides paths to distribute the forces in the vertical When two springs are serially connected, the total
direction only. This usually leads to more conservative spring displacement due a given load is the sum of the
design with heavier struts sections. In this paper, a individual spring deections while subjected to the
procedure to rationally idealise the OSF case from a same loading. In other words,
3D analysis to a 2D plane strain analysis is presented.
This approach will be more practical for practising
deqvt dw ds 1
engineers to arrive at a more ecient design without
the need for rigorous 3D analysis. The results of this
approach are compared with the conventional ap- where d represents the deections and the suxes
proach and results incorporating appropriate strut eqvt,w and s represent equivalent, waler and struts,
stiness from 3D analysis of OSF. respectively.

Figure 1. Strut layout of a typical ERSS for deep excavation projects.


168 K.F. Pong et al.

Figure 2. Simplied model of strut-waler support system for retaining wall in deep excavation.

Re-writing the spring displacements in terms of modelling approach. The load combination factors for
spring stiness, the following equation in terms of limit states design of the structural elements are shown
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spring stiness is obtained in Table 3 of Clause 3.10.2 of TR26. These require-


ments of design of temporary supports accommodat-
1 1 1
2 ing possible OSF cases can be complied with using the
Keqvt Kw Ks following two approaches:

where K represents the stiness. (1) The rst approach is to consider removal of
Generally, in normal case, walers are supported by one row of struts in the geotechnical modelling
struts and splays which leads to a very short span of 2 using computer software (such as PLAXIS). In
2.5 m for the walers and thus the term Kw becomes too this case, the contribution of struts in the same
large and therefore, the rst term on the right hand layer as the failed strut in the horizontal
side of Equation (2) becomes negligible. Therefore, soil direction is totally ignored and the force from
and water pressures on the retaining wall are partly the failed strut can only be distributed vertically
transferred to the struts through the walers and the rest to the adjacent layers of struts. This conven-
to the soil support below the excavation level, tional approach may lead to a more conserva-
Equation (2) can be simplied as: tive design with higher reinforcement for walls
In normal case, and heavier sections for the struts.
(2) The second approach is to consider failure of a
Keqvt Ks : 3a single strut within a layer of struts in the
horizontal direction. The force of the failed strut
In OSF case, will be transferred both vertically and horizon-
tally. However, the waler at the level of the failed
Ks  Kw
Keqvt : 3b strut has to be designed to transfer the load
Ks Kw horizontally. As such the span of the waler for
design would be increased compared with the
3. Modelling with one-strut failure (OSF) normal span. This is a more realistic approach.
The requirement of design for deep excavation to
accommodate possible failure of any individual strut, A case study based on the second approach using the
tie rod, ground anchor is stated in Clause 3.7.4 of analysis of a cross-over cut-and-cover tunnel from the
TR26. A similar clause is stated in BS 8002 (1994) as Downtown Line Stage 3 (DTL 3) Project was carried
well. For projects of Singapore Land Transport out. The objective was to assess that the second
Authority (LTA), consideration of OSF is a design approach is not too conservative for both the wall and
requirement stated in the LTA Civil Design Criteria the strutting system but yet remain robust. Two-
(2010). One-strut failure (OSF) is a 3D problem and it specic aspects were investigated:
will not be an easy task to model the problem using 3D
modelling every time a design of ERSS is carried out. (1) Reduced stiness of the failed strut to be
Therefore, it is necessary to idealise OSF in 2D analysis adopted in the geotechnical nite-element
to obtain a solution that is comparable to the 3D modelling.
The IES Journal Part A: Civil & Structural Engineering 169

(2) Waler span for the design of waler due to tion in the wall-waler-strut system. The structural
OSF. analysis was carried out using STAAD Pro program
and the geotechnical modelling was carried out using
PLAXIS program.
4. Methodology For the structural analysis, the actual strut and
Both structural and geotechnical modelling were waler stinesses were modelled with four dierent wall
carried out in an attempt to study the force distribu- stinesses as shown in Table 1, to study the waler span
for the design of waler due to OSF. This has been done
to determine the load distribution pattern for various
Table 1. Cases for dierent wall stiness to study eect on types of ERSS system.
waler span. For the geotechnical modelling, cases as indicate in
Cases Wall Table 2, e.g. removal of one layer of strut and dierent
strut stinesses were modelled in an attempt to study
1 Seventy per cent stiness of diaphragm wall of the force distribution in the wall-strut system. The
1200 mm
2 Seventy percent of CBP wall 800 mm diameter example chosen in this paper aims to compare the
3 Sheet Pile Wall KSP IV results of analyses from PLAXIS 2D model and
4 One hundred per cent stiness of diaphragm STAAD Pro 3D model. However, one should note
wall 1200 mm that it may not be necessary to check all combinations
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of OSF. As there are six struts in the example, the


critical cases to analyse are the case where OSF occurs
Table 2. Geotechnical modelling with dierent strut sti- at S6 after the excavation reached the nal excavation
ness. level, the case where OSF occurs at S4 after the
Cases Description excavation reached the S5 level but before installing
S5, etc.
1 Removal of one row of struts
2 Removal of one strut stiness at the particular
layer was reduced (Lwaler 2L; Sstrut 2L)
3 Removal of one strut stiness at the particular 5. 3D Analyses with structural models
layer was taken as that from 3D STAAD Pro Figures 312 illustrate the models of 3D structural
Analysis analyses using the STAAD Pro structural nite-
4 Removal of one strut stiness at the particular
layer was reduced to Kstrut/1.5 (or 1.5 element program. The objective of the 3D analyses
reduction factor) carried out using the structural program is to verify the
5 Removal of one strut stiness at the particular eect due to the removal of a single strut and compare
layer was reduced (Lwaler 2L; Sstrut 1.5L)
with 2D PLAXIS plane strain analyses results.

Figure 3. Structural model of a space frame with soil spring and releases between plate elements.
170 K.F. Pong et al.
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Figure 4. Illustration of strut-waler connection adopted in the structural model.

Figure 5. Loading onto the wall.

As shown in Figure 3, the retaining wall was the calculation of the lateral earth pressure are shown
modelled with plate elements with release between in Figure 5. Figure 6 shows the area of the study for
plate elements to simulate the joints between the the eect of removing a single strut from the level S4
retaining wall such as contiguous bored piles wall, struts.
secant bored piles wall and diaphragm wall. Soil Figure 7 shows the deection mode of the
springs were modelled to simulate the presence of temporary work system and Figure 8 shows the
passive soil resistance. The soil spring constants were deection of waler at level S4 in normal case and
derived using Vesics equation from Vesic (1975). OSF case.
Figure 4 shows the struts and walers sizes and Figures 919 show the bending moment result of
connections adopted in the structural models. waler with dierent wall stiness for both normal case
Figure 5 shows the application of earth lateral and OSF case. Figure 9 shows the eects of the
pressure on the retaining wall. The soil parameters for removal of a single strut at S4 level on the bending
The IES Journal Part A: Civil & Structural Engineering 171

moment induced in the waler at S4 level for Case 1, Figure 10 shows the eects of the removal of a
where the wall is a 1.2 m thick diaphragm wall and single strut at S4 level on the bending moment induced
cracked section properties (70% of full stiness) in the waler at S4 level for Case 2 where the wall is a
are used for the stiness of the wall. As shown in 0.8 m diameter contiguous bored pile wall and cracked
Figure 9, the maximum bending moment at the mid
span and support of the waler increases to about 1.5
times of the bending moment in normal condition
without OSF.
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Figure 6. Area of study for the 3D structural analyses. Figure 7. Deection mode of the temporary work system.

Figure 8. Deection of waler at level S4 with and without one-strut failure.


172 K.F. Pong et al.
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Figure 9. Waler bending moment with and without one-strut failure (Case 1: 70% stiness of 1200 mm thick diaphragm wall).

Figure 10. Waler bending moment with and without one-strut failure (Case 2: 70% of CBP wall 800 mm diameter).
The IES Journal Part A: Civil & Structural Engineering 173
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Figure 11. Waler bending moment with and without one-strut failure (Case 3: Sheet Pile Wall KSP IV).

Figure 12. Waler bending moment with and without one-strut failure (Case 4: 100% stiness of diaphragm wall 1200 mm).
174 K.F. Pong et al.

section properties (70% of full stiness) are used for Figure 12 shows the eects of the removal of a
the stiness of the wall. As shown in Figure 10, the single strut at S4 level on the bending moment induced
maximum bending moment at the mid span and in the waler at S4 level for Case 4, where the wall is
support of the waler increases to about 1.8 times of 1.2 m thick diaphragm wall with full (100%) wall
the bending moment in normal condition without stiness. As shown in Figure 12, the maximum bending
OSF. moment at the mid span and support of the waler
Figure 11 shows the eects of the removal of a increases to about 2.6 times of the bending moment in
single strut at S4 level on the bending moment induced normal condition without OSF.
in the waler at S4 level for Case 3, where the wall is The comparison of bending moment ratio and span
KSP IV sheet pile wall. As shown in Figure 11, the length ratio for dierent wall stiness are presented in
maximum bending moment at the mid span and Figures 13 and 14, respectively. It is observed that the
support of the waler increases to about 2.2 times of ratio of maximum bending moment in OSF case to
the bending moment in normal condition without maximum bending moment in normal case without OSF
OSF. decreases when the retaining wall stiness increases.
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Figure 13. Graph showing the ratio of waler bending moment with OSF to Normal case.

Figure 14. Graph showing the ratio of waler span with OSF to Normal case.
The IES Journal Part A: Civil & Structural Engineering 175
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Figure 15. Geometry of the retaining wall and strutting system with details of strut and waler sizes.

6. Plaxis modelling total six layers of struts. Figure 17 shows a typical


A case study based on a cross-over cut-and-cover section, where a single layer of strut was considered for
tunnel from the DTL 3 Project was carried out using OSF case in the analysis.
PLAXIS program. The geometry of the retaining wall There were ve OSF analyses carried out as listed in
and strutting system of the cross-over cut-and-cover Table 2. For OSF Case 1, an entire layer of struts was
tunnel from DTL 3 Project is shown in Figure 15. completely removed. For OSF Case 2, the removal of
Figure 16 illustrates the model of geotechnical analysis one strut was simulated by reducing the stiness at the
modelled in PLAXIS program for the normal case strut. For OSF Case 3, the removal of one strut was
without OSF. simulated by using the stiness for the strut taken from
The various cases of geotechnical modelling carried 3D structural model analysis. For OSF Case 4, the
out are shown in Table 2. These various cases of removal of one strut was simulated by reducing the
analyses attempt to study the force distribution in the stiness for the strut to Kstrut/1.5, i.e. reduction
wall-strut system for the 2D PLAXIS model based on factor 1.5.
dierent input of strut stiness derived from dierent For each of the ve cases listed in Table 2, six
scenarios. In the PLAXIS 2D analyses, the eects of scenarios of OSF have been carried out. The rst case is
OSF on the ERSS were studied by the scenario of OSF for strut at level 1 (S1) when the excavation
failure of a single strut of the ERSS which consists of reaches strut at level 2 (S2) but before installing S2. The
176 K.F. Pong et al.
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Figure 16. Sectional view of the plain strain 2D model in PLAXIS program.

Figure 17. PLAXIS model showing the OSF for strut at level 4 (S4) for Cases 15.
The IES Journal Part A: Civil & Structural Engineering 177

second case is OSF for S2 when the excavation reaches Figure 13, which shows the comparison of waler
strut at level 3 (S3) but before installing S3. The third span length with dierent wall stiness, indicates that
case is OSF for S3 when the excavation reaches strut at the increase in span length due to OSF ranges from 1.6
level 4 (S4) but before installing S4. The fourth case is L to 1.2 L. Hence, it is reasonable to adopt 1.5 L for
OSF for S4 when the excavation reaches strut at level 5 waler design.
(S5) but before installing S5. The fth case is OSF for As shown Figure 20, in the comparison of dia-
S5 when the excavation reaches strut at level 6 (S6) but phragm wall bending moment with dierent strut
before installing S6. The sixth case is OSF for strut at stiness, the diaphragm wall design is generally gover-
level 6 (S6) when the excavation reaches the nal ned by normal case, though there are locations where
excavation level. removal of one layer of struts governs. However, it
The strut stiness comparisons for all the cases of may be too conservative to consider removal of one
analyses mentioned above are tabulated in Figure 18. layer of struts in geotechnical modelling, hence adop-
The results of strut forces for all the cases of analyses ting combined stiness as illustrated in Figure 21 was
mentioned above are tabulated in Figure 19. The strut found to be reasonable.
forces tabulated are based on the maximum strut It is also noted that the bending moment diagram
forces for each layer of the struts for the various of the diaphragm wall in Cases 3 and 4 analyses are
scenarios and sequence of OSF in each case of analysis very similar. This shows that the assumption of strut
with dierent approach of simulation of OSF analysed stiness equivalent to the original strut stiness
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using 2D PLAXIS model. multiplied by a reduction factor of 1.5 is a reason-


As shown in Figure 19, the results of strut forces able simplied assumption of the reduced strut
from analyses of Cases 3 and 4 are similar. This means stiness as a result of a single strut failure as
that the assumption of strut stiness equivalent to the compared to the OSF strut stiness derived from the
original strut stiness multiplied by a reduction factor 3D structural analysis. Based on the results shown in
of 1.5 is a reasonable simplied assumption of the the study, for modelling of OSF in PLAXIS, the
reduced strut stiness as a result of a single strut failure approach of using equivalent strut stiness for OSF
as compared to the strut stiness derived from the 3D as illustrated in Figure 21 is appropriate and can be
structural analysis. used.

Figure 18. Stiness comparison for dierent cases of analyses.


178 K.F. Pong et al.
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Figure 19. Comparison of strut forces (in kN/m) for Upper Changi cross-over cut-and-cover tunnel.

Thus, the following derivation shown in Equations where


(4) and (5) can be adopted for waler design:
Wreduced: Removed strut force (with reduced
2 stiness)
Mw1 1=8 Wreduced 1:5 L ! Factor 1:05 4
WOSF: OSF strut force
WOSF: OSF strut force accounting for removal of
Mw2 1=10 WOSF L2 ! Factor 1:05 5 strut above/below it.
The IES Journal Part A: Civil & Structural Engineering 179
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Figure 20. Comparison of diaphragm wall bending moment with dierent strut stiness.

Figure 21. Recommended approach for derivation of OSF strut stiness to be used in PLAXIS modelling.
180 K.F. Pong et al.

7. Conclusions bending moment with dierent strut stiness, the


In conclusion, analysis for OSF is actually a 3D diaphragm wall design is generally governed by normal
problem and carrying out such 3D analyses covering case, though there are locations where removal of one
all the cases of analyses considering the variability of row strut is governing. However, it may be too
the dierent parameters is very time consuming. In the conservative to consider removal of one row of strut
conventional approach for the analysis of OSF case in geotechnical modelling, hence adopting combined
using 2D plane strain analysis, the entire layer of stiness was found to be reasonable.
failing strut is removed and thus the forces are For design to accommodate possible OSF accord-
redistributed in the vertical direction only. This usually ing to Clause 3.10 of TR26, the results presented in this
leads to more conservative design with heavier strut paper show that the proposed approach of adopting a
sections. A procedure to rationally idealise OSF from a combined stiness and using a simplied method in
3D analysis to a 2D plane strain analysis which is a deriving the reduced equivalent strut stiness for
more practical approach for practising engineers has simulating OSF case in 2D numerical analysis is
been presented. The comparisons of results of various reasonable and appropriate.
cases have been carried out.
The results of strut forces and bending moment of
References
diaphragm wall from analyses of Cases 3 and 4 are
similar. This means that the assumption of strut BS 8002., 1994. Code of practice for earth retaining structures.
London, British Standards Institution.
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stiness equivalent to the original strut stiness multi- LTA Civil Design Criteria Revision A7 for Road and Rail
plied by a reduction factor of 1.5 is a reasonable Transit Systems, Land Transport Authority, 2010.
simplied assumption of the reduced strut stiness as a Puller, M., 2003. Deep excavations: a practical manual,
result of a single strut failure as compared to the strut 2nd ed. Thomas Telford Publishing.
stiness derived from the 3D structural analysis. The TR26: 2010. Technical reference for deep excavation, Spring
Singapore, Singapore.
increase in span length due to OSF ranges from 1.6 L Vesic, A.S., 1975. Foundation engineering handbook, 1st ed.
to 1.2 L. Hence, it is reasonable to adopt 1.5 L for Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, Chapter 14, Pile
waler design. In the comparison of diaphragm wall Foundation, 561563.