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Geotechnical Engineer, PhD; 7-9 Gavriilidou Str., Athens, 11141, Greece (formerly: PhD Student, Purdue University, School of Civil Engineering); firstname.lastname@example.org 2 Assoc. Professor; Purdue University, School of Civil Engineering, 550 Stadium Mall Dr., West Lafayette, IN, 47907-2051, USA; email@example.com
ABSTRACT: A probabilistic model is developed in order to assess the reliability of the internal stability of MSE walls. Geotechnical uncertainty is explicitly considered by modeling shear strength properties of reinforced, retained, and foundation soil as random variables following beta distributions. The model is developed in two steps. First, an in-series configuration addresses the reliability per reinforcement layer and provides a profile of reliability with depth. Second, an r-out-of-m configuration is used to model the inherent redundancy of MSE structures. Reliability analyses are performed using Monte Carlo simulations and propagation of failure is modeled using transition probabilities and Markov stochastic processes. As an illustration, a case example of an MSE wall used as direct bridge abutment is analyzed in the context of the developed model. INTRODUCTION Reliability analysis of mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls requires consideration of several failure mechanisms and how these are affected by various sources of uncertainty. In conventional design methods, the reinforced soil mass is assumed to behave as a rigid body in terms of external stability and safety assessment is performed with respect to sliding, bearing capacity, and excessive eccentricity. In terms of internal stability, MSE walls are analyzed with respect to tensile and pull out resistance of the reinforcement elements (Elias et al. 2001; AASHTO 2002). Particularly with respect to internal stability, MSE walls are inherently redundant systems. This means that if a reinforcement element fails, the remaining elements are expected to assume additional responsibility so that the system is still in a position to continue its operation, even if not as initially intended. So, the reliability of the internal stability of an MSE wall is a function of its redundancy, although commonly accepted simplifications ignore this aspect. Provided some modeling simplifications are accepted, stochastic models offer the framework to determine not only the
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but also the updated reliability given that one or more layers have already failed. FY is the tensile strength of the reinforcement elements. The probability of ⎦ ⎣ ⎦ ⎣ occurrence of the failure ( PF .210. Tmax. the probability of failure (PF) for any mechanism is given: PF = P [ SR < 1] for any mechanism (3) Assessment of reliability Each reinforcement layer is modeled as an in-series system. The framework for consideration of redundancy and propagation of failure is formulated based on transition probabilities and Markov stochastic processes. Tmax.org . Internal stability is approached in two steps using Monte Carlo simulations.i is the pull out resistance of each reinforcement layer i. This means that if the layer fails either in tension or in pull out. then that specific layer does not contribute anymore to the internal stability of the structure. safety ratios with respect to tensile and pull out failure of each reinforcement layer i. As an illustration.i is the maximum tensile force applied on each reinforcement layer i.126. sources of uncertainty are characterized and explicitly accounted for in the computation of reliability. see http://www. So. as Safety Ratios (SR).i for i = 1. are expressed by: FY ⎡ SRTi ⎤ = ⎣ ⎦ Tmax. Redistribution subject to ASCE license or copyright. In order to represent limit states of equilibrium.i for i = 1. FORMULATION OF THE PROBABILISTIC MODEL Performance functions In contrast to deterministic approaches. Definitions of FY. AASHTO 2002). [SRTi] and [SRPOi] respectively. 2001. So.i are provided in specifications and guidelines (Elias et al. it is convenient to define performance functions by analogy with safety factors. in probabilistic analysis of MSE walls. Then. and PR. m (1) PR . INTi = P ⎡ SRTi < 1 ∪ SRPOi < 1 ⎤ ⎣ ⎦ ( ) ( ) (4) Copyright ASCE 2008 GeoCongress 2008 Downloaded 15 Nov 2008 to 128. failure of an individual layer i is the event in which ⎡ SRTi < 1⎤ and/or ⎡ SRPOi < 1⎤ occurs. an example case of an MSE wall used as direct bridge abutment is analyzed in the context of the developed model. INTi ) is given by the union of these two events: PF . the development of such a model is described. m (2) where m is the number of reinforcement layers. Failure is defined as the case where the corresponding SR is less than one.i and PR. In this paper. 2. … .199.1180 GEOCONGRESS 2008: GEOSUSTAINABILITY AND GEOHAZARD MITIGATION original reliability per layer of reinforcement of an MSE wall.i ⎡ SRPOi ⎤ = ⎣ ⎦ Tmax.ascelibrary. … . 2.
Ti N nF . r of which must be operable for the system to survive (Ang and Tang 1984. see http://www. it is of interest to determine not only the original reliability per layer of reinforcement. Such a profile would indicate which reinforcement layers are subjected to higher risk of failure.P ⎡ SRTi < 1 ∩ SRPOi < 1 ⎤ ⎣ ⎦ ⎣ ⎦ ⎣ ⎦ The components of the above equation are given by: P ⎡ SRTi < 1⎤ = ⎣ ⎦ P ⎡ SRPOi < 1⎤ = ⎣ ⎦ ( ) ( ) (5) nF . and N is the total number of Monte Carlo realizations.126. POi are the number of Monte Carlo realizations in which the safety ratio of the respective mode is less than one. In the case of an MSE wall. Since ⎤ ⎡ the events ⎡ SRTi < 1⎤ and ⎣ SRPOi < 1⎦ are not mutually exclusive (nor independent).ascelibrary. Harr 1987).210. m is the total number of reinforcement layers and r is the number of reinforcement layers that shall not fail in order for the structure to remain in operation.Ti .GEOCONGRESS 2008: GEOSUSTAINABILITY AND GEOHAZARD MITIGATION 1181 where P [ − ] denotes the probability of the event indicated within the brackets. Markov processes are stochastic processes that can be used in probabilistic modeling of systems that satisfy the following criterion: the transition of the system from one state to another depends only on the current state of the system and not on the previous states.org . nF . An appropriate model for doing so would be an r-out-of-m system. Once the probabilities of failure per layer ( PF . MSE walls are characterized by redundancy. Redistribution subject to ASCE license or copyright. and will be denoted herein as pi→j.Ti and nF . CONSIDERATION OF REDUNDANCY As already explained in the introduction. but also the reliability of a layer given that another layer has already failed. This model refers to a system of m components. the probability of transition from one state i to another state j is called transition probability. INTi = P ⎡ SRTi < 1⎤ + P ⎡ SRPOi < 1⎤ . INTi ) have been found for all layers. Copyright ASCE 2008 GeoCongress 2008 Downloaded 15 Nov 2008 to 128. POi N (6) (7) P ⎡ SRTi < 1 ∩ SRPOi < 1 ⎤ = ⎣ ⎦ ( ) ( ) nF . Therefore.POi N (8) where nF . then a profile of probability of failure with depth can be obtained. The updated profile of reliability with depth will be assessed using transition probabilities and Markov stochastic models.Ti − POi is the number of times in which the two safety ratios are simultaneously less than one. In Markovian models.199. ⎣ ⎦ the above can be written as following: PF .
. . .. called transition probability matrix Π.. If the system remains in its present state. p1→1 .. see http://www.... it may or may not propagate to a following state j. Taking into consideration the nature of an MSE structure.. .. i-2.. Ang and Tang 1984. the system cannot return to i-1.. . the following states (herein called “states of failure”) are defined: State of failure 0 State of failure 1 State of failure 2 … State of failure i … State of failure m-1 State of failure m All layers are intact One layer has already failed Two layers have already failed … i layers have already failed … m-1 layers have already failed All layers have failed where states of failure 0 and m are the original and final states.. respectively. . the following statements can be made for the model: · The model does not allow for reverse of failure.. . · The model is free from restrictions of continuous propagation of failure.. with ( m + 2 ) ( m + 1) 2 non-zero elements.. In other words.. Details about the theory of Markov models can be found in classical textbooks (Benjamin and Cornell 1970. the array of all transition probabilities can be written in the form of an (m+1)×(m+1) matrix..org . . having reached a certain state i. during its lifetime. Harr 1987). Redistribution subject to ASCE license or copyright..126. then this is called an absorbing state..... p0→ j p1→ j pi → j p j→ j 0 ..210.. So. and towards to. .. … states.ascelibrary. . The transition probability matrix takes the following form (Zevgolis 2007): ⎡ p0→0 ⎢ 0 ⎢ ⎢ ⎢ 0 Π = ⎢ ⎢ ⎢ ⎢ 0 ⎢ ⎢ ⎢ 0 ⎣ p0→1 . The following equations hold true for this matrix: 0 ≤ pi → j ≤ 1 for any i and j (10) Copyright ASCE 2008 GeoCongress 2008 Downloaded 15 Nov 2008 to 128. . it may do so to any of the remaining states.1182 GEOCONGRESS 2008: GEOSUSTAINABILITY AND GEOHAZARD MITIGATION For a system that has (m+1) possible states. p0→m ⎤ p1→m ⎥ ⎥ ⎥ ⎥ pi →m ⎥ ⎥ ⎥ p j →m ⎥ ⎥ ⎥ 1 ⎥ ⎦ (9) The above is an upper triangular matrix. p0→i p1→i pi →i 0 0 .. This means that when failure propagates..... 0 0 0 .199. a fundamental step in Markovian models is to clearly define all possible states that the system can move from. · When failure occurs at a certain state i. Considering an MSE structure with m reinforcement layers.
Assembling the row matrices Π0. ….0→i N for i = 0. corresponds to state of failure 1.ascelibrary..GEOCONGRESS 2008: GEOSUSTAINABILITY AND GEOHAZARD MITIGATION 1183 ∑p j =1 m i→ j = 1 for any i if i > j (11) (12) (13) pi → j = 0 pm→m = 1 In order to determine the transition probabilities that compose the matrix Π. In the first iteration.126. the number of realizations where simultaneous failures of different layers occur. Redistribution subject to ASCE license or copyright. Then the probability of transition from state of failure 0 to state of failure i (p0→i) is given by: p0→i = nF . Π1 is obtained) . gives us the transition probability matrix of equation 9. Π1. …. The array of transition probabilities of equation 14 can now be written in the form of a 1×(m+1) row matrix Π0 as following: Π0 = [ p0→0 p0→1 . Every time the failing layer is assumed to be the most critical one. The iterative process is repeated m+1 times in total. PF . In the second iteration. an iterative process is followed (Zevgolis 2007). Finally. Monte Carlo simulation is performed considering that all reinforcement layers are in place. In addition. corresponds to state of failure m. corresponds to state of failure 0. CASE EXAMPLE A case example of an MSE wall used as direct bridge abutment is analyzed as an illustration of the developed model (Figure 1). The number of realizations of simultaneous failure of 0 out of m layers. Copyright ASCE 2008 GeoCongress 2008 Downloaded 15 Nov 2008 to 128.0→i is the number of realizations of simultaneous failures of i out of m layers. and so on. this time considering that one reinforcement layer has already failed (so. m (14) where nF. is counted.199.. see http://www. the number of realizations of simultaneous failure of m out of m layers. p0→ m ] (15) The subscript 0 means that Π 0 refers to the state of failure 0 as the initial state for this simulation.. and the corresponding profile of probability of failure is obtained. Πm into one matrix.. 1. the number of realizations of simultaneous failure of 1 out of m layers. This is the state of failure 0. p0→i .org . INTi is calculated based on equations 5 to 8.210. and N is the total number of realizations in the Monte Carlo simulation. 2. Monte Carlo simulation is performed again.
4 47. Redistribution subject to ASCE license or copyright.10 20.20 4 36 40 0.ascelibrary. σ[SRT] and σ[SRPO]. This implies that SRPO is subjected to higher degree of uncertainty compared to SRT. while the variation of σ[SRT] is relatively constant.V.6 30 0.) and the minimum and maximum value.30 0 88 Figure 2 illustrates the variation of the computed standard deviations. Schematic representation of the analyzed case example The present model includes four random variables (Table 1). As shown in the Figure.3m 5. Min Max 34 0.199.3m 6m γREINF = 20 kN/m3 0. see http://www. based on the principle of maximum entropy. All other properties (such as unit weights. Each one is represented by the first two order moments (mean value μ and coefficient of variation C. and loading conditions) are considered deterministic variables with values shown in Figure 1. it is shown that the uncertainty of SRPO increases with depth.6m 7m γF = 17 kN/m3 Figure 1. Therefore.org . this is not the case for σ[SRPO].25 kN/m γRET = 20 kN/m3 8.O. with depth.15 12 48 20 0.V. Note that perfect autocorrelation is assumed over the volume of interest for all four random variables. which demonstrates a continuous increase with depth.210.126. Probabilistic parameters of random variables Soil property Friction angle of reinforced backfill Friction angle of retained backfill Friction angle of foundation soil Cohesion of foundation soil Notation φREINF (o) φRET (o) φF (o) cF (kN/m2) μ C. This simplifying assumption should slightly affect the analysis numerical results but without loss of general validity. In addition. Harr 1987). the random variables are modeled using beta distributions (Oboni and Bourdeau 1985.1184 GEOCONGRESS 2008: GEOSUSTAINABILITY AND GEOHAZARD MITIGATION 2m 265 kN/m 10 kN/m2 2. Table 1. Copyright ASCE 2008 GeoCongress 2008 Downloaded 15 Nov 2008 to 128.O. reinforcement characteristics.
. .....00827 0...5 0. particularly in conventional (non-abutments) MSE walls.. . .. so the transition matrix is an (m+1)×(m+1) = 11×11 matrix.03195 0. . .3 0.92935 ⎢ 0 ⎢ ⎢ 0 ⎢ 0 ⎢ ⎢ 0 ⎢ 0 ⎢ ⎢ 0 ⎢ ⎢ 0 ⎢ 0 ⎢ ⎢ 0 ⎢ 0 ⎢ ⎣ 0..⎥ ⎥ 0 0 0 0 0 0 ..06423 0...11537 0. .. Variation of σ[SRT] and σ[SRPO] with depth Based on the computations...⎥ ⎥ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1⎥ ⎦ In this example.4 0. .ascelibrary. in terms of the transition probability matrix. z (m) 3 4 5 6 0 0..8 0..GEOCONGRESS 2008: GEOSUSTAINABILITY AND GEOHAZARD MITIGATION 1185 0 σ[SRT] 1 σ[SRPO] 2 Depth..00815 0. ..... .126.998 %.83458 0... failure was assumed to initiate from that one.. were obtained.. The probability that there will be Copyright ASCE 2008 GeoCongress 2008 Downloaded 15 Nov 2008 to 128.⎥ 0 0 0 0 0 ..54998 corresponds to the following transition probability: given that the top 2 layers have already failed (state of failure 2). ..12525 0.. .54998 0.1 0.00035 0 0 ⎥ ⎥ 0 0 . Redistribution subject to ASCE license or copyright... for the top two layers: ⎡0.00013 0. the element p3→3 = 0. These are shown below.⎥ 0 0 0 .. ..7 0.. .29860 0. and for the analyzed case example. So.. .. ... σ[−] Figure 2.⎥ ⎥ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 . ...2 0.00002 0.6 0. ... considering that this layer is located below the bridge seat. So for instance. .. This was reasonable. .... the probability that there will not be any further propagation of failure is 54...00008 0 0 ⎥ 0 0.01928 0. . This may not always be the case..00007 0. .210. . Following the iterative procedure that was described earlier.. .199.00028 0. .00560 0. the number of reinforcement layers is m = 10. .. the top layer of reinforcement was the most critical.org .. .⎥ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 . different profiles of probabilities of failure corresponding to different states of failure..00625 0.00033 0..9 1 Standard deviation of safety ratios.00145 0..⎥ ⎥ 0 0 0 0 .......00003 0 0 ⎤ ⎥ 0.00008 0... .. ... see http://www...00030 0..
Zevgolis. "Mechanically stabilized earth walls and reinforced soil slopes – Design & construction guidelines.ascelibrary. using an r-out-of-m configuration the proposed model is able to determine not only the original reliability per layer of reinforcement. 17th edition. CONCLUSIONS MSE walls are often characterized by redundancy. USA.. A. (1984). ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Financial support provided by the Empirikion Foundation to the first author during his doctoral studies is greatly appreciated. John Wiley & Sons.1186 GEOCONGRESS 2008: GEOSUSTAINABILITY AND GEOHAZARD MITIGATION propagation to the third from the top layer is 29. R. E. F. (2002).C. Benjamin. McGraw-Hill. R. the wall does not necessarily collapse." FHWANHI-00-043. Statistics. Ang. Purdue University. P. In this paper. Probability. USA. I. the transition probability matrix provides the probabilities of failure propagation for three different states of failure.. and Tang. J. (2007). but also the updated reliability given that one or more layers have already failed.537 % ( p3→5 = 0.C. (1970)." PhD Dissertation. Christopher.org . Elias.860 % ( p3→4 = 0.210. the results indicate that the mechanism subjected to higher risk of failure is the one in pull out. Federal Highway Administration. H. 3(1).11537 ). Volume II: Decision. Redistribution subject to ASCE license or copyright.. Reliability-Based Design in Civil Engineering. B. "Simplified use of the beta distribution and sensitivity to the bound locations. R. and so on.199. 63-66. So. W. To illustrate the developed methodology.-S. M. Washington D. "Numerical and Probabilistic Analysis of Reinforced Soil Structures.. because the remaining layers assume additional responsibility in terms of loads. Copyright ASCE 2008 GeoCongress 2008 Downloaded 15 Nov 2008 to 128. (1987). This means that in the event of failure of one or more layers of reinforcement." American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Risk and Reliability. Probability Concepts in Engineering Planning and Design. In addition. Oboni. V. L. REFERENCES AASHTO. Propagation from one state of failure to another were modeled using transition probabilities and Markov stochastic models. West Lafayette. a stochastic model was developed in order to assess the reliability of MSE walls with respect to their internal stability. McGraw-Hill. (2001). see http://www.29860 )..126. Washington D. a case example of an MSE wall used as direct bridge abutment was analyzed. H. A. Harr. and Decision for Civil Engineers. This is typically an aspect that is ignored by previous models. "Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges." Structural Safety. C. to the fourth from the top is 11. and Cornell. For this example. R. (1985).. E. USA.. taking into account the redundant nature of this type of structures. US Department of Transportation. and Bourdeau. IN. and Berg.
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