Comparison of various FEM approaches in analysis of passive earth pressures

  • Miroslav Pecník Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava
  • Viktor Borzovic Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava


Passive earth pressure is an important element in integral bridge design. Due to the integral connection between bridge deck and abutments, the integral bridge expansion and contraction under temperature action causes abutments to move together with the deck.With temperature varying in time, this also causes varying earth pressures acting on the abutments. Abutments are generally being designed to withstand passive earth pressure because it is significantly higher than active earth pressure. However, by using the controlled yielding technique, these pressures can be considerably lowered. For this purpose, a few-centimeters-thick layer of easily compressible material is placed behind abutment, which provides a means to potential material saving. In this article, results from 2D and 3D FEM models of integral abutment are presented. Internal forces obtained in 2D and 3D analysis are compared between themselves, and influence of compressible layer thickness on internal forces is also presented.


abutment, earth pressure, integral bridge, polystyrene,


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[2] SOFiSTiK AG. SOFiSTiK Structural Desktop see
[3] E.G. Scott. Passive Force on Bridged Abutments and Geofoam Inclusions with Large-Scale Test. Master thesis, Brigham Young University, 2015.
[4] K.M. Rollins, E. Scott, A. Marsh. Geofoam inclusions for reducing passive force on bridge abutments based on large-scale test. Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 GSP 279, pp. 59–68, 2017.
Jun 11, 2018
How to Cite
PECNÍK, Miroslav; BORZOVIC, Viktor. Comparison of various FEM approaches in analysis of passive earth pressures. Computer Assisted Methods in Engineering and Science, [S.l.], v. 24, n. 4, p. 253–258, june 2018. ISSN 2299-3649. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 26 jan. 2022. doi: