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Deep-trench excavation supported by slurry has become a widely used technique for the
construction of diaphragm walls. It has been proved by numbers of ®eld tests, scale model
tests and numerical analyses that the supporting eect of the slurry in the trench will provide sucient stability for the deep-trench excavations. However, there is still neither a generally accepted theory of the failure mechanisms of the slurry trench, nor a widely used design method. This paper gives suggestions for the practical design on the stability of the slurry trench based on the elasto-plastic ®nite-element method (FEM) analysis, which consists of two parts. The ®rst part is concerned with the evaluation of slurry trench stability in terms of safety factor. The safety factor was calculated using the shear strength reduction technique in the FEM and veri®ed by comparison with centrifuge tests. The second part suggests a method for choosing the preliminary slurry parameters, i.e. the height of slurry ®lling and slurry density, based on the active earth pressure FEM

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elasto-plastic FEM

Pavol Oblozinsky

a

, Keizo Ugai

a,

*, Masaaki Katagiri

b

,

Kunio Saitoh

b

, Takeshi Ishii

b

, Toru Masuda

c

,

Kiyoshi Kuwabara

c

a

Department of Civil Engineering, Gunma University, Japan

b

Nikken Sekkei Nakase Geotechnical Institute, Kawasaki, Japan

c

East Japan Railway Co.Ltd, Tokyo, Japan

Abstract

Deep-trench excavation supported by slurry has become a widely used technique for the

construction of diaphragm walls. It has been proved by numbers of eld tests, scale model

tests and numerical analyses that the supporting eect of the slurry in the trench will provide

sucient stability for the deep-trench excavations. However, there is still neither a generally

accepted theory of the failure mechanisms of the slurry trench, nor a widely used design

method. This paper gives suggestions for the practical design on the stability of the slurry

trench based on the elasto-plastic nite-element method (FEM) analysis, which consists of

two parts. The rst part is concerned with the evaluation of slurry trench stability in terms of

safety factor. The safety factor was calculated using the shear strength reduction technique in

the FEM and veried by comparison with centrifuge tests. The second part suggests a method

for choosing the preliminary slurry parameters, i.e. the height of slurry lling and slurry den-

sity, based on the active earth pressure FEM. # 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All

rights reserved.

Keywords: Slurry trench; Shear strength reduction method; Stability

Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159

www.elsevier.com/locate/compgeo

0266-352X/01/$ - see front matter # 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

PI I : S0266- 352X( 00) 00028- 8

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +81-277-30-1620; fax: +81-277-30-1601.

E-mail address: ugai@civil.ce.gunma- u.ac.jp (K. Ugai).

1. Introduction

The construction of the deep opening for a foundation or underground structure

very often involves constructing a diaphragm wall, especially in urbanized areas

where space around the building site is limited. If a concrete diaphragm wall is used,

the wall will be composed of segments, the length of which usually varies from a few

meters to about 10 m. To construct the concrete segment, it is necessary to excavate the

trench (schematically shown in Fig. 1) and provide its stability during the excavation

process. Stability is usually achieved by slurry suspension being poured into the

trench. The pressure developed in the slurry suspension partly replaces the in-situ

pressure of the excavated soil and acts as a support for the trench wall. It is under-

standable that the highest probability of failure is during the period when the trench

is supported by the slurry suspension, before it is lled up with the dense concrete

suspension. From this point of view, it is essential to choose the slurry properties

correctly, the minimum height of slurry lling and the minimum density of the

slurry. The aim of this study is to employ the nite-element method (FEM) as a

design-oriented method for evaluating the stability of the slurry trench, in which (a)

the safety factor is assessed by the shear strength reduction (SSR) technique incor-

porated in the FEM (SSR-FEM), and (b) the preliminary height of slurry lling and

slurry density is chosen based on the active earth pressure FEM analysis.

The reliability of the calculated values of safety factors (by SSR-FEM) was veried

by comparison with the centrifuge experiments. This suggested a minimum safety

factor for design purposes.

The active pressure FEM analysis of the trench is shown here to be a helpful

method for choosing the preliminary parameters of slurry, the height of slurry lling

and slurry density. Then the safety factor can be evaluated by the SSR-FEM analysis,

or by some other method.

Fig. 1. Slurry trench in sandy ground.

146 P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159

2. FEM mesh and soil properties

The advantage of the trench symmetry along two axes was taken into account in

the mesh geometry. As indicated in Fig. 2, only the soil behind the trench face was

considered. The soil beyond the ends of the trench was ignored for simplicity. It will

be shown later that this simplication has a minor inuence on values of the safety

factors calculated using the SSR-FEM. The boundary conditions are as follows:

Nodes at the bottom of the mesh are fully xed. Nodes on the axis of symmetry

perpendicular to the trench length are prevented from movement in the direction

perpendicular to this axis but free in the other two directions. Nodes on the mesh

vertical boundaries are prevented from movement in the horizontal plane but are

free to move vertically. The water table was at the ground surface. The load dis-

tribution due to the slurry pressure acting on the trench face (shown in Fig. 2) was

converted into equivalent nodal forces in the FEM analyses. The mesh was built up

from 20 nodded isoparametric brick elements. An elasto-perfectly-plastic soil model

was employed, in which failure was governed by the MohrCoulomb criterion and

the plastic potential obeyed the DruckerPrager equation [1].

The soil parameters given in Table 1 were determined from the triaxial compres-

sion test conducted on the sand sample, which was used for the centrifuge tests.

These values were used throughout the FEM analyses. The value of the dilatancy

angle was assumed to be equal to the frictional angle 0. Since this value appears to

be too high, the analyses were carried out for two values of the dilatancy angle, 2 =

39

and 2 = 0 30

= 9

analyses to the dilatancy.

Fig. 2. Trench supported by slurry in FEM idealization.

P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159 147

3. Shear strength reduction technique

The shear strength reduction technique has developed remarkably over recent

decades and has come to be used for evaluating the safety factor, especially in

methods like the FEM and FDM. With the development of fast desktop computers,

these methods have become widely available not only for research purposes but also for

practical design. The shear strength reduction technique was used to evaluate the safety

factor of slopes as early as 1975 by Zienkiewicz [2], later applied by Naylor [3] and

Matsui and San [4]. The validity of the shear strength reduction technique was dis-

cussed and demonstrated by Ugai and Leshchinsky [5], who compared the stability of a

simple 3Dvertical cut analyzed by FEMand limited equilibriummethod. Dawson et al.

[6] made a comparison between the SSR applied in the FDM and the LEM solution

for the stability of a 2D embankment. In both cases similar results were reported.

The essence of the SSR technique is the reduction of the soil strength parameters

until the soil fails. The soil strength parameters used in FEM procedures are dened

as follows:

c

F

=

c

F

Y 0

F

= tn

1

tn0

F

(I)

in which F is a parameter which reduces the soil strengths and c and 0 are the soil

strength parameters.

In the case of analyses on the slurry trench stability, the load due to the stabilising

pressure of the slurry was applied as a single increment in the rst step of the cal-

culation in which the value of F was equal to 0.01. A small value of the parameter F

gives high values of the strength parameters and the domain will be in the elastic

condition. The parameter F is then incrementally increased by 0.01 and the soil

strength is correspondingly reduced. This is repeated until failure occurs. At this

instant, the value of the parameter, F, comes to be the global minimal safety factor,

F

The moment when global failure occurs is found with the help of the number of

the NewtonRaphson iterations. The convergence criterion is satised if the dis-

placement increment between two successive steps, F

i

and F

i1

, divided by the total

displacement is less than 10

5

within 1000 iterations. If this is not achieved, it is

assumed that the solution diverges and the system has collapsed.

Table 1

Soil properties for FEM

Soil properties

Submerged unit weight

/

= 8X7 kN m

3

Friction angle 0

/

= 39

Dilatancy angle 2

/

= 39

Cohesion c = 0 kN m

2

Young modulus E = 20X000 kN m

2

Poisson ratio # = 0X3

148 P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159

4. LEM in slurry trenching and advantages of FEM over LEM

Conventionally, the safety factor of slopes and vertical cuts is evaluated by LEM.

The LEM approach has also been applied to the slurry trench stability problem by

many researchers and numbers of methods have been suggested and developed.

Nash and Jones [7] proposed a 2D method for analyzing the slurry trench stability

problem, which was extended by Morgenstern and Amir-Tahmasseb [8]. Elson [9]

investigated the slurry trench stability in a model and summarized the main stabi-

lizing factors. Piaskowski and Kowalewski [10] introduced an idealized shape of the

3D sliding wedge in their pioneering work on investigation of slurry trench stability

under 3D conditions. In this analysis, the horizontal pressure developed in the slurry

lling was compared with the lateral earth pressure acting along the trench face

computed from the 3D sliding wedge, the shape of which was idealized with regard

to the arching eect. Washbourne [11] suggested the shape of the 3D sliding wedge

for the deep and shallow slurry trenches and analyzed the stability of the wedge in

the same manner as the Coulomb wedge was analyzed in the 2D retaining wall

problem. The safety factor was dened as the ratio of the horizontal force due to

slurry pressure to the active thrust of the 3D wedge. Tsai and Chang [12] presented

an improved 3D LEM method for slurry trench analysis in cohesionless soil in

which the shell-shaped sliding surface is found using the MohrCoulomb criterion.

The vertical stress acting on the soil element was calculated using Huder's formula

[13], which takes into account the horizontal arching eect introduced by Terzaghi

[14]. The safety factor was determined as the ratio of the stabilizing force of the

slurry to the horizontal driving force of the sliding wedge.

The essence of any LEM is in dividing the area above the critical sliding surface

into a number of columns and determining the vertical stress acting on the bottom

of each column. The vertical stress is de-composed into the normal and tangential

components, which are essential for obtaining the forces required for the evaluation

of either force or moment equilibrium. In the 3D analyses, the vertical stress acting

at the bottom of the column should be calculated with regard to the horizontal

arching in the soil. The method introduced by Tsai and Chang [12], which appears

to be the most sophisticated, oers a procedure for searching for the critical 3D

sliding surface. The horizontal stress component '

y

(parallel to the trench) was held

constant while '

x

(perpendicular to the trench) was changed from the `at rest' state

to the active state assuming that the movement was perpendicular to the trench wall.

However, the method does not consider the inuence of the slurry pressure when

searching for the critical sliding surface or when calculating the pressures acting on

the bottom of the soil column. The pressure in the slurry partly replaces the in-situ

stress in the soil, and this replacement will activate the stress redistribution behind

the trench face. It can be expected that the slurry pressure would aect the vertical

stress acting on the critical sliding surface, which also would have an inuence on

the horizontal arching in soil. Thus, the slurry density will have a great inuence on

the stress redistribution behind the trench face, on the failure pattern and on the

shape of critical sliding surface. This assumption is supported by Figs. 3 and 4,

which show the vertical stress in normalized form '

/

v

a'

/

vo

('

/

v

eective vertical stress,

P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159 149

'

/

vo

eective overburden stress) and the maximum shear strain increment on a section

through the centre of and normal to the trench wall as calculated by the SSR-FEM

at failure, i.e. when the soil strength is fully mobilized. The unit weight of the slurry

was 10.5 kN m

3

in Fig. 3, and 12.0 kN m

3

in Fig. 4. The soil parameters are given

in Table 1, the trench depth was 15 m, the length 6 m and the groundwater level was

Fig. 3. (a) Normalized vertical stress behind the trench wall at failure; (b) maximum shear strain incre-

ment.

Fig. 4. (a) Normalized vertical stress behind the trench wall at failure; (b) maximum shear strain incre-

ment.

150 P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159

at the ground surface. As can be seen from Figs. 3a and 4a, which show the nor-

malized vertical stress, '

/

v

a'

/

vo

, the gradient of reduction of vertical stress is higher

when the slurry density is lower; this reects the smaller supporting eect of the

slurry pressure in Fig. 3a. The critical sliding wedge can be estimated from the pic-

tures of maximum shear strain distribution obtained from the SSR-FEM solution,

as shown in Figs. 3b and 4b. Comparison of Figs. 3 and 4 highlights that dierent

densities of slurry (thus dierent pressures acting on the trench wall) will cause dif-

ferent failure patterns.

The main advantage of the SSR-FEM is its ability to calculate the stress state in

the soil, taking into account both, the arching eect and the slurry pressure in the

trench, while in the LEM it is necessary to adopt complicated assumptions to

account for the 3D eect. The advantages, which the 3D SSR-FEM oers over the

LEM, should be taken into account in the assessment of the slurry trench stability

and the prediction of safety factors in practical design.

5. Finite element analysis on centrifuge test

The slurry trench stability analyses were carried out using the mesh shown in Fig. 2

to investigate the capability of the shear strength reduction technique in slurry

trench problems and to examine the reliability of the calculated safety factor.

Results of analyses were veried by comparison with the available results of the

centrifuge experiments reported by Katagiri et al [15,16]. The trench length in the

FEM analysis varied from 1.5m to o(2D), the depth was 15 m and the groundwater

level was at the ground surface. The model soil was fully saturated and the analysis

was carried out in the terms of eective stress and drain condition was assumed. The

horizontal eective stress due to the slurry pressure acting on the trench face, as

indicated in Fig. 2 (unit weight of slurry

s1

= 10X5 kN m

3

), was replaced by the

equivalent nodal forces. The soil parameters are given in Table 1.

The aim of the centrifuge experiments on slurry trench stability [15,16] in fully

saturated sandy ground was to investigate and observe the failure mechanism during

the process of lowering the slurry level in the trench. The container set up is shown

schematically in Fig. 5. The experiments were conducted at a working acceleration

of 60G, at which the modelled trench lengths were 3, 6, 12 m and o (2D) and the

depth was 15 m in prototype scale. Since the problem was symmetrical along two

axes, thus only one quarter of the trench was modelled in the centrifuge tests. The

slurry, which was kept in a rubber bag with the shape of the trench, was modelled

using salt water of unit weight

s1

= 10X5 kN m

3

. The failure of the trench was

achieved by lowering the slurry level in the trench (the slurry was released from

the trench into the lower tank). The results are summarised in Table 2, in which

H is the height of the slurry level in the trench above the ground surface at

the instant when the ground settlement started to increase signicantly due to

lowering of the slurry level, i.e. the trench was on the edge of stability. The

calculated safety factors for the values of H obtained from the centrifuge tests,

given in Table 2, are around 1.00, in the range 0.961.19. This comparison

P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159 151

suggests that if F

= 1X2 had been chosen as the minimum value for the design,

the trench wall would be stable.

The comparison between the SSR-FEM and centrifuge experiments is shown in

Fig. 6. In this case the H, which was obtained from the centrifuge tests, is com-

pared with the prediction of the SSR-FEM analyses. It was assumed that the value

of the safety factor 1.00 indicates the limit of stability. The graphical comparison in

Fig. 6 shows that the relationship between the trench length and the minimum

height of the slurry lling from the FEM analyses is almost linear while the rela-

tionship obtained from the centrifuge test is not linear. This is an interesting nding

since from the nature of the 3D analyses it could be expected that the relationship

would be non-linear.

As was mentioned before, the angle of dilatancy 2 = 39

(Table 1) appears to be

too high, therefore an additional set of calculations was carried out in which the

dilatancy 2 = 0 30

= 9

As can be seen, the smaller angle of dilatancy resulted in a slight increase of the

height of the slurry lling needed to prevent failure. The sensitivity of the SSR-FEM

to dilatancy does not appear to be signicant in the MohrCoulomb soil model used

here. The dierence is less than 2%.

Table 2

Predicted safety factor

Trench length (m) H (m) (from centrifuge experiment) F

(predicted by SSR-FEM)

3 0.18 1.03

6 0.54 1.19

12 0.92 1.18

2D 1.03 0.96

Fig. 5. Model of slurry trench in centrifuge container.

152 P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159

In the FEM analyses of the centrifuge tests described so far, the slurry trench was

modelled as shown in Fig. 2. This simplied idealisation has considered only the soil

behind the trench wall, but the soil beyond the ends of the trench was neglected. Aset of

analyses was carried out in order to investigate the error caused by such simplication.

The two meshes used for the comparison are schematically shown in Fig. 7. Case a is

the simplied idealisation of the trench, in which there is a rigid boundary at the

ends of the trench. Case b includes the soil beyond the ends of the trench. The trench

depth was 15 m in both cases, the length was 6 m and the width 1 m (in Case b). The

soil parameters are given in Table 1. Fig. 8 shows the safety factor obtained from the

SSR-FEM for the height of slurry lling, H, which varies from 0.0 to 0.75 m above

the ground level. At F

Fig. 6. Prediction of the height of slurry above the ground surface at which the soil fails.

Fig. 7. Geometry of two meshes.

P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159 153

lling with H = 32X5 cm. At F

the height of lling in case a is H = 54X2 cm and in case b H = 50X0 cm, i.e. 4.2

cm less. Therefore, the authors are of the opinion that the modelling of slurry trench

by case a is satisfactory enough for the practical design purposes, since there is no

signicant dierence between cases a and b. The agreement achieved between the

centrifuge experiments and FEM analysis (case a) is reasonably good, the generation

of the mesh is quite simple and also the requirement for the computing time is not as

great as in case b.

6. Determination of the density and height of the slurry lling

The density of the supporting slurry and the height of the slurry lling are the

major agents stabilising a deep trench excavation, therefore the selection of these

parameters is the basic engineering task in the slurry trenching industry. The slurry

unit weight and/or the height of lling can be found from an active earth pressure

FEM analysis.

The FEM analyses were performed in the following fashion: The face of the

excavation was subjected to a prescribed uniform displacement at a constant rate

directed into the excavation opening. However, the nodes on the trench face

boundary and the next row of nodes inside the boundary were not subjected to the

prescribed displacement. The horizontal stress behind the trench wall was reduced, as the

displacement proceeded, from the initial (K

0

) state to the active state. A displacement

Fig. 8. Safety factor against the height of slurry ling.

154 P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159

about 5 cm was sucient to achieve this. Soil properties are given in Table 1. The

`at-rest' coecient was taken as K

0

= 0X33. Fig. 9 shows the development of active

earth pressure in the middle of the trench, where the maximum horizontal (bulk)

deformation might be expected and thus, the requirement for the support is the

highest. The analyses were performed for trench lengths of 3, 6 and 9 m.

To provide the stability of the trench, the horizontal pressure acting on the face of the

excavation from the slurry side must be equal to or higher than the active earth pressure

acting fromthe soil side. The dash-dotted line in Fig. 9 represents the horizontal pressure

developed in the slurry reduced by the water pressure, p

sl

= H

sl

w

( ), (

sl

unit

weight of slurry,

w

unit weight of water). The unit weight of the slurry was

sl

=

10X5 kNm

3

. If we draw a line parallel with the dash-dotted line and tangent to the

curve of the active pressure, the intersection of the tangent and the x-axis gives us

the magnitude of pressure, p, which needs to be supplied by the slurry at the ground

surface. Knowing this value we can determine the required height of the slurry lling

from the equation p =

sl

H, in which H is the height of the slurry above the

ground surface and

sl

is the unit weight of the slurry.

If we need to obtain the density of the slurry for a prescribed height of lling, H,

we can determinate the density of the slurry using the same graph in similar fashion.

First we draw a tangent to the curve of active pressure representing the horizontal

pressure in the slurry reduced by the water pressure, p

sl

= H

sl

w

( ). The inclination

Fig. 9. Active earth pressure acting on the excavation face in the middle of the trench; length 3, 6 and 9 m

(all pressures are reduced by the water pressure).

P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159 155

of the line will reveal the slurry density. The intersection of the tangent and x-axis

gives us the required pressure, p, which needs to be supplied by the slurry at ground

level. Knowing the given height of the lling, H, we can nd such inclination of the

tangent (or

sl

) and the pressure in the slurry at the ground level, p, for which the

equation p =

sl

H holds. It should be noticed that the p

sl

refers to the pressure

due to the eective horizontal stress in the slurry acting on the trench face, while p

refers to the pressure which is supplied by the slurry at the ground surface due to the

slurry level held above the ground surface.

Table 3 shows the height of the slurry lling, H, predicted by the SSR-FEM

when the safety factor, F

sl

= 10X5 kN

m

3

. The second row of Table 3 shows the height of the slurry lling, H, predicted

by the active earth pressure FEM analysis described above and the safety factor

which was calculated by the SSR-FEM for the H obtained from the active earth

pressure FEM analysis. The safety factor for the slurry trench with the height of

slurry lling suggested by the active earth pressure analysis is in the range 0.981.10.

If an engineer chooses this method for determining the preliminary parameters of

the slurry (the unit weight and/or the height of lling), it may be expected that the

safety factor would be around 1.00. Then, the slurry parameters should be adjusted

in accordance with the required minimum safety factor.

7. Consideration of the guide wall in design via FEM

Guide walls are often constructed when excavating deep trenches, especially in

sandy ground, and usually improve the overall stability of the trench. This may also

be taken into account by designers. A set of FEM analyses was carried out to

investigate the inuence of the guide wall on the trench stability. In these analyses,

the trench was 6m long and 15 m deep and the height of the guide wall was 1.5 m.

The guide wall was modelled simply, the nodes representing the guide wall were

prevented from movement in the horizontal direction perpendicular to the trench

length, assuming that the idealised guide wall is a rigid body. The results are shown

in Fig. 10 as a plot of the dimensionless ratio HaL (trench depth/length) against H.

H is the height of the slurry lling above the ground surface when FEM predicts

F

= 1X00. As seen from Fig. 10, the guide wall increases the stability of the trench

noticeably up to about H = 40 cm above the ground surface. If the slurry lling,

Table 3

Comparison of designed height, H, of slurry lling,

sl

= 10X5 kN m

3

Length L = 3 m Length L = 6 m Length L = 9 m

H (cm) F

H (cm) F

H (cm) F

Prediction by active pressure approach 14.2 0.98 38.1 1.06 77.0 1.10

156 P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159

H, is higher than 40 cm, the supporting eect of the guide wall becomes smaller

and may almost be neglected at the higher H. The FEM analysis indicates that the

guide wall may also be used to improve the overall stability of trenches, especially

when the slurry lling is close to the ground surface. However it will be necessary to

perform a new set of centrifuge tests to conrm this.

8. Process of slurry trench stability design based on FEM

The design of the stability of the slurry trench should be performed in the fol-

lowing steps:

1. Preparing the idealised FEM mesh as shown in Fig. 2. The same mesh may be

used for the SSR-FEM analysis and the active earth pressure analysis with the

appropriate boundary condition and applied external load.

2. Performing the active earth pressure FEM analysis. Determination of the pre-

liminary height of slurry lling and/or density of the slurry from the obtained

curve of the active earth pressure development, as indicated in Fig. 9.

3. Choosing the design parameters of the slurry density and height of lling based

on the preliminary values given in Step 2 and performing the SSR-FEM analysis.

It is recommended that the safety factor of 1.2 or higher should be used for

design purposes.

4. In the case when the stability of the trench cannot be provided only by the

slurry suspension, which may occur especially when a surcharge is located close

to the trench, it will be necessary to provide the stability some other means, for

example, soil improvement.

5. The guide wall may also be considered as a means of improving the overall

stability of the slurry trench and increasing the safety factor. The contribution

of the guide wall to the stability can also be estimated by the SSR-FEM mod-

elling.

Fig. 10. The necessary height of the slurry lling against the H/L ratio.

P. Oblozinsky et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 28 (2001) 145159 157

9. Conclusions

In this paper, a method of assessing slurry trench stability by using the SSR-FEM

has been discussed for practical engineering application, which eventually may

replace the conventional LEM approach. FEM has a number of advantages over

LEM. The constitutive law employed in the FEM procedure enables us to model the

soil behaviour more realistically in many cases. The replacement of the in-situ pressure

in the trench with the slurry pressure will cause a reduction of the vertical stress behind

the trench face, which also will aect the arching eect. In other words, dierent

slurry pressures will result in dierent redistributions of stresses behind the trench

face and will cause dierent failure patterns. The SSR-FEM is capable of calculating

the redistribution of the stress behind the trench face incorporating the 3D eect and

also the slurry pressure, while in the LEM one needs to adopt often complicated

assumptions in order to account for the 3D eect. Another advantage is that the

critical sliding surface is found automatically. Additionally, the solution oers

information on the strain increment state at any Gaussian point when the soil fails.

A minimum value of safety factor of 1.2 has been suggested based on the com-

parison between the centrifuge experiments and the SSR-FEM analyses on slurry

trench stability, in which the soil was modelled as elasto-perfectly-plastic material

with the MohrCoulomb failure criterion and the DruckerPrager plastic potential.

The preliminary parameters of the slurry, H and

sl

, can be determined by the

active earth pressure analysis. It was shown that if the stability of the trench is

evaluated by the SSR-FEM for these preliminary parameters, a safety factor from

0.98 to 1.10 could be expected. Afterwards, the preliminary parameters of slurry can

be adjusted in accordance with the requirement of the minimum value of the safety

factor.

References

[1] Tanaka T, Ugai K, Kawamura M, Sakajo S, Ohtsu H. Three dimensional nite element method

analysis of elasto-plastic problems in soil mechanics. Maruzen, 1996 (in Japanese).

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