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What is the difference between free earth support method and fixed earth support method?

For free earth support method, the soils at the lower part of piling is incapable of inducing effective restraint so that it would not result in negative bending moments. In essence, the passive pressures in front of the sheet piles are insufficient to prevent lateral deflection and rotations at the lower end of piling. No passive resistance is developed on the backside of the piling below the line of excavation.


For fixed earth support method, the piling is driven deep enough so that the soil under the line of excavation provides the required restraint against deformations and rotations. In short, the lower end of piling is essentially fixed.

Free earth support method and fixed earth support method

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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