Seismic testing program for large-scale MSE retaining walls at UCSD

Andrew C. Sander, Patrick J. Fox, Ahmed Elgamal, Daniel E. Pradel, Daniel Isaacs, Matthew Stone, Simon Wong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining walls have steadily grown in popularity due to their low cost, ease of construction, and excellent performance record. Observations from post-earthquake reconnaissance efforts have also indicated that these retaining wall systems exhibit excellent performance under seismic loading, often exceeding the performance of conventional rigid and semi-rigid walls. However, significant questions remain with regard to seismic design procedures for MSE walls, due in part to lack of sufficient test data under dynamic loading. The objective of this paper is to describe a new research program at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) to conduct dynamic tests of large-scale (5 to 7 m tall) MSE retaining walls using a large outdoor shake table. The advantage of this approach is that test specimens can be constructed using realistic materials and methods, and yet still be shaken to accelerations approaching 0.7g. The research program is expected to provide benchmark data that researchers can use to develop improved design methods for MSE walls and to refine numerical models for assessment of their seismic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeoCongress 2013
Subtitle of host publicationStability and Performance of Slopes and Embankments III - Proceedings of the 2013 Congress
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages8
Edition231 GSP
ISBN (Print)9780784412787
StatePublished - 2013
Event2013 Congress on Stability and Performance of Slopes and Embankments III, Geo-Congress 2013 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 3 2013Mar 7 2013

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
Number231 GSP
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


Other2013 Congress on Stability and Performance of Slopes and Embankments III, Geo-Congress 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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