Retaining wall

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Retaining wall
Ex retaining wall.png
author Leif Roschier
pdf File:Ex retaining wall.pdf

Theory and background

Classic example of nomograph found in Ref [1] is the formula connecting the proportions of retaining walls according to picture.

Retaining illustrated.png

The picture can be scaled horizontally and vertically so that the wall cross-section is in general a rectangle as illustrated. The nomograph calculates equal retaining walls: one having straight faces (texture in figure) and one with on sloping faces (blue color). The problem follows equation


that can be written as

[math] \begin{vmatrix} 2(L^2-1) & 3L(L+1) & -L(L-1) \\ 2(2p+1) & 3(p+1) & -(p+1)(2p+1) \\ h & 1 & -h^2 \end{vmatrix} =0, [/math]

where p is defines as (density of earth)/(density of masonry). Similar nomograph is also found in Ref.[2]


  1. H.J. Allcock, J.R. Jones and J.G.L. Michel, The Nomogram. Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd., 4nd Edition, 1952.
  2. d'Ocagne, Traité Nomographie, Gauthier-Villars (1899)

Construction of the nomograph

The underlying equation is expressed as determinant and type 9 has to be used. This equation has to be transformed so we use


Generated nomograph

Retaining wall
Ex retaining wall.png
Generated portable document file (pdf): File:Ex retaining wall.pdf

Source code

    Retaining wall.
          | 2*(u*u-1) | 3*u*(u+1) | -u*(u-1.0)    |
          |      v    |     1     |    -v*v       | = 0
          | 2*(2*w+1) | 3*(w+1)   |-(w+1)*(2*w+1) |
    Copyright (C) 2007-2008  Leif Roschier
    This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.
    This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    GNU General Public License for more details.
    You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    along with this program.  If not, see <>.
from pynomo.nomographer import *
        'f':lambda u:2*(u*u-1.0),
        'g':lambda u:3*u*(u+1.0),
        'h':lambda u:(-u*(u-1.0)),
        'f':lambda v:v,
        'g':lambda v:1.0,
        'h':lambda v:(-v*v),
        'f':lambda w:2.0*(2.0*w+1.0),
        'g':lambda w:3.0*(w+1.0),
        'h':lambda w:(-(w+1.0)*(2.0*w+1.0)),
              'transformations':[('scale paper',)]