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Slope Stability

updated June 7, 2007

Haryo Dwito Armono, M.Eng, Ph.D

Types of Slope Failures

Falls Topless Slides Spreads Flows

Falls Slope failures consisting p g of soil or rock fragments that droprapidly down a slope l Most often occur in steep rock slopes Usually triggered by water pressure or seismic activity

Topless Similar to a fall, except that it begins with a mass of rock of stiff clay rotating away from a l t ti f vertical joint

Slides Slope failures that p involve one ore more blocks of earth that move d downslope b l by shearing along well defined surfaces or thin shear zones

Spreads Similar to translational slides except that the block separate and move apart as they also t th l move outward Can be very destructive

Flows Downslope movement of p earth where earth resembles a viscous fluid fl id Mudflow can start with a snow avalanche, or be in avalanche conjuction with flooding

Types of Slides Rotational slides

Most often occur in homogeneous materials such as fills or soft clays

Translational slides
Move along planar shear surfaces

Compound slides Complex and composite slides

The driving force (g g (gravity) overcomes the y) resistance derived from the shear strength of the soil along the rupture surface g p

Slope stability analysis

Calculation to check the safety of natural slopes, slopes of excavations and of compacted embankments. t d b k t The check involves determining and comparing the shear stress de eloped developed along the most likely rupture surface to the shear strength of soil.

Factor of Safety
Fs =

f d

Fs = factor of safety with respect to strength f = average shear strength of the soil

d = average s ea st ess de e oped a o g t e potential failure su ace a e age shear stress developed along the pote t a a u e surface f = c + tan
c = cohesion = angle of friction

= average normal stress on the potential failure surface


d = cd + tan d
subscript 'd' refer to p p potential failure surface c + tan cd + tan d

Fs =

when Fs = 1, the slope is in a state of impending of failure. In general Fs > 1.5 is acceptable

Stability of Slope
Infinite slope without seepage Infinite slope with seepage Finite slope with Plane Failure Surface (Cullman s (Cullman's Method) Finite slope with Circular Failure Surface (Method of Slices)

Infinite slope
L d a Na F H b Tr A N r R Ta c F W B

Fs =

H cos2 tan

tan tan

For granular soils, c=0 Fs is independent soils c 0, of height H, and the slope is stable as long as <

L d a Na Ta H T b r A N r R c W B
Direction of seepage

Fs F =

c ' tan + sat H cos2 tan sat tan

Finite slope with Plane Failure Surface



cr =

+ d
2 4c sin cos 1 cos( ) (


f = c + tan
unit weight of soil =


Hcr =

Finite slope with Circular Failure Surface

Slope Failure

Shallow Slope Failure

Toe Circle Firm Base O

Base Failure

Slope Circle Firm Base Firm Base

Midpoint circle

Slopes in Homogeneous Clay (=0)

For equilibrium, resisting and driving moment about O: MR = Md c dr 2 = W1l1 W2 l 2 cd W l W l = 11 2 2 2 r

f = cu


Radius = r l2 F A cd B W2 E cd Nr (normal reaction) l1 W1 cd H

Fs =


cu cd

critical when Fs is minimum, trials to find critical plane solved analitically by Fellenius (1927) and Taylor (1937)

Hcr =

cu m presented graphically by Terzaghi &Peck, 1967 in Fig 11.9 Braja m is stability number

Swedish Slip Circle Method

Slopes in Homogeneous Clay (>0)

f = c + tan

c d = H f ( , , , ) c = f ( , , , ) = m Hcr where m is stability number

Method of Slices
For equilibrium Nr = Wn cos n

Fs =

( c L
n =1

+ Wn cos n tan )


n =1

sin n


bn where b is the width of nth slice cos n

Bishop Method
Bishop (1955) refine solution to the previous method of slices. In his method, the effect of forces on the sides of each slice are accounted for some degree .

Fs =

( cb
n =1

+ Wn tan )

1 m ( n )


n =1

sin n

where m ( n ) = cos n + tan sin n Fs

The ordinary method of slices is presented as learning tools. It is rarely used because is too tools conservative

Computer Programs

Holtz, R.D and Kovacs, W.D., An Introduction to Geotechnical An Engineering Das, B.M., Soil Mechanics Das, B.M., Advanced Soil Mechanics