Effects of frictional forces acting on sidewalls of buried box culverts

Junsuk Kang, Frazier Parker, Young J. Kang, Chai H. Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of frictional forces acting on the sidewalls of buried box culverts are presented as determined with finite element method (FEM) and detailed soil modelling. The possibility of reducing earth pressure on deeply buried concrete box culverts by the imperfect trench installation (ITI) method has been contemplated during the last several decades. There have been limited research results published primarily regarding the qualitative aspect of load reduction in ITIs. It was found during the course of this study that significant frictional forces develop along the sidewalls of box culverts and adjacent sidefills in ITIs. Current American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials provisions do not consider these frictional forces, but they cannot be neglected in ITIs, as their effect is dominant. An optimum geometry for the soft zone in ITIs is presented to maximize earth load reductions. The soil-structure interaction at the box culvert-soil interface was found to have a significant effect on total earth pressure acting on the bottom slab. Predictor equations for earth load reduction rates were formulated for ITIs incorporating the optimum soft zone geometry based on the FEM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-306
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Feb 25


  • Box culverts
  • Embankment
  • Finite element method
  • Frictional force
  • Imperfect trench
  • Soil-structure interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • General Materials Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanics of Materials


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