Effects of nonlinear strength parameters on stability of 3D soil slopes


Actual slope stability problems have three-dimensional (3D) characteristics and the soils of slopes have curved failure envelopes. This incorporates a power-law nonlinear failure criterion into the kinematic approach of limit analysis to conduct the evaluation of the stability of 3D slopes. A tangential technique is adopted to simplify the nonlinear failure criterion in the form of equivalent Mohr-Coulomb strength parameters. A class of 3D admissible rotational failure mechanisms is selected for soil slopes including three types of failure mechanisms: face failure, base failure, and toe failure. The upper-bound solutions and corresponding critical slip surfaces can be obtained by an efficient optimization method. The results indicate that the nonlinear parameters have significant influences on the assessment of slope stability, especially on the type of failure mechanism. The effects of nonlinear parameters appear to be pronounced for gentle slopes constrained to a narrow width. Compared with the solutions derived from plane-strain analysis, the 3D solutions are more sensitive to the values of nonlinear parameters.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yu-feng Gao 高玉峰.

Additional information

Foundation item: Project(201501035-03) supported by the Public Service Sector R&D Project of Ministry of Water Resource of China; Project (2015CB057901) supported by Basic Research Program of China; Projects(51278382, 51479050, 51508160) supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China; Project(B13024) supported by the 111 Project; Projects(2014B06814, B15020060, 2014B33414) supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China; Project(YK913004) supported by the Open Foundation of Key Laboratory of Failure Mechanism and Safety Control Techniques of Earth-rock Dam of the Ministry of Water Resources, China; Project(KYZZ_0143) supported by the Graduate Education Innovation Project of Jiangsu Province of China

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Gao, Y., Wu, D., Zhang, F. et al. Effects of nonlinear strength parameters on stability of 3D soil slopes. J. Cent. South Univ. 23, 2354–2363 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11771-016-3294-7

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Key words

  • three-dimensional slope
  • nonlinear failure criterion
  • limit analysis
  • stability
  • critical slip surface