Performance-based Optimal Design of Cantilever Retaining Walls

  • Mohsen Kalateh-Ahani

    University of Torbat-Heydarieh

  • Arman Sarani

    Islamic Azad University, Torbat-Heydarieh Branch


Modern buildings should provide some degree of safety against severe earthquakes. However, it is not economically feasible to construct buildings that withstand extreme loads without avoiding damage. In performance-based design, structural engineers and owners work together to achieve the best possible balance between construction cost and seismic performance. In this study, by employing a metaheuristic optimization, we have tried to extend the concept of performance-based design to retaining wall structures. According to the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, permanent displacement of retaining structures are tolerable, as long as the movement does not lead to unacceptable damage to the structure or facilities located in or near the moving earth. The decision on performance expectations needs to be made by owners with structural engineers providing a realistic assessment of the cost of designing to avoid the movement. To make this assessment possible, we developed a multi-objective optimization framework for simultaneous minimization of the construction cost and the permanent displacement of cantilever retaining walls. The effectiveness of the proposed framework was evaluated in the design of a typical cantilever retaining wall of 8 meters in height, once with both a toe and heel slab and once with either of them. The results indicated that obtaining the Pareto front of optimal solutions for these objectives, provides useful information that helps owners to select a solution that is the most economical in a trade-off between the construction cost and performance expectation.

Keywords: retaining walls, performance-based design, optimization, construction cost, permanent displacement
Published online
How to Cite
Kalateh-Ahani, M., Sarani, A. “Performance-based Optimal Design of Cantilever Retaining Walls”, Periodica Polytechnica Civil Engineering, 63(2), pp. 660-673, 2019.
Technical Notes