What are retaining walls?

Retaining walls are independent structures in the form or walls or elongated parietal pillars with a straight, step or chamfered inner side. They are made of concrete or reinforced concrete and also from concrete blocks, bricks, stones, hollow blocks or gabions. They are structural components that transfer the load of the secured structure to the ground.
The simplest retaining walls have the form of a wall driven to the proper depth directly into the ground. However, this is not a very efficient solution, since the pressure of, e.g., soil in the embankment, may be much too high for such a structure. A much better solution is to use a retaining wall with a sloped outer wall or equipped in a special perpendicular base fixed to the ground. Such a structure transfers loads much more efficiently.
Retaining walls are used primarily in transport and road construction, where they are a very important component of embankments and also ramps, viaducts or subways. Furthermore, they are used to stabilise faults in the ground or the subsoil – e.g. for bridge construction.
We should also remember about other uses for this type of structures. They are used to secure dykes and regulate river beds, and also to reinforce military fortifications or walls in churches. They are also used at ramps to underground car parks or in warehouses and to create storage bunkers. Furthermore, retaining walls are finding more and more use in landscape development, e.g. in gardens, where they fulfil the role of protection for artificial elevations.


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