Three-dimensional effects for supported excavations in clay

Richard J. Finno*, J. Tanner Blackburn, Jill F. Roboski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


This paper presents the results of 150 finite-element simulations conducted to define the effects of excavation geometry, i.e., length, width, and depth of excavation, wall system stiffness, and factor of safety against basal heave on the three-dimensional ground movements caused by excavation through clays. The results of the analyses are represented by the plane strain ratio (PSR), defined as the maximum movement in the center of an excavation wall computed by three-dimensional analyses normalized by that computed by a plane strain simulation. A simple equation for PSR is presented based on excavation geometry, wall system stiffness, and factor of safety against basal heave. This PSR equation reasonably represents trends in results of the 150 simulations as well as those simulations reported in literature. When the excavated length normalized by the excavated depth of an excavation wall is greater than 6, results of plane strain simulations yield the same displacements in the center of that wall as those computed by a three-dimensional simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-36
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Clays
  • Excavation
  • Geometry
  • Stiffness
  • Three-dimensional analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Environmental Science(all)

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