A Beginner's Guide to ASCE 7-05

Chapter 4 - H: Soil Loads & Hydrostatic Pressure

2007, T. Bartlett Quimby

Pressure Computations


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Section 4.1

Pressure Computations

Last Revised: 11/04/2014

Loads computed from soil and/or hydrostatic pressure are designated as "H" in the load combination equations.

ASCE 7-05 3.2 treats both lateral soil loads and hydrostatic pressure similarly.  Both increase linearly with depth according to the equation

lateral pressure at h = g h


  • g = Equivalent Fluid Density (62.4 pcf for water; from ASCE 7-05 Table 3-1 for soils) and
  • h = the depth

For water, you must also consider the upward buoyancy force, gw hwmax, as well (see ASCE 7-05 3.2.2).

Figure 4.1.1 illustrates the application of the loads.

Figure 4.1.1
Soil Loads & Hydrostatic Pressure