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Volume II

Proceedings of the Conference on


Analysis and Design in
GBOTECRIICAL
EIGIIEERIIG
June 9-12, 1974
University of Texas Austin, Texas
Jointly sponsored by
University of Texas College of Engineering
Texas Section ASCE
Geotechnical Engineering Division ASCE
Published by
American Society of Civil Engineers
345 East 47th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017
$10.00
ANALYSIS AND DESIGN RELA'TING TO EMBANKMENT'S
By Stanley J. Johnson
1
UiTRODUCTIOH
General
As a basis for subsequent discussions, it is appropr.iflte +>o first
direct attcntJon to three .fine state-of-the-art talks nnd pnpcrs on
embankment design. One was given by John Lowe (29) in 1966 at the
ASCE Slope Stability Conference at Berkeley on "Stability Analysis of
Embankments." The second was given by Laurits Bjerrum (10) in 1972 at
the ASCE Purdue Conference on "Embankments on Soft Ground." The third
was given by Sl<emptcm and Hutchinson (51) at Mcx i "'" Ci i.y in I C)(,l) '"'
"fJLabLl.Lty ur NuLun.d Utld Enlbu.nkrncnL !1
should also be made to the excellent paper by Bishop and Bjerrum (9)
at the ASCE Boulder Shear Conference in 1960. The subject is covered
extremely well by these papers, permitting discussion of only certain
aspects in this paper.
A review of analysis and design relating to embankments seems ap-
propriate at this time because the computer age has been with us long
enough so that we are realizing economic benefits, in terms of cost,
time, and labor saving, and are beginning to comprehend what technical
benefits can be achieved. New computer-oriented techniques such as
the finite element method have been with us long enough so that we are
beginning to realize their potential and utility. The widespread
availability of computers makes it possible to use practically a.ny
conventional method for stability analysis that we desire. In addi-
tion, we can now begin to predict the deformation behavior of founda-
tions and embankments in a way that was hardly dreamed of even a
decade ago. An incidental benefit of the use of computer-oriented
techniques is their role in defining instru.rnentation requirements for
reco,:ding embanJc.ment and foundation behavior.
Tl;i s seems, therefore, like a good time to examine our perspec-
tive and to (a) a.ssess recent developments, both theoretical, computa-
b.cnaJ., and laboratoocy; (b) identify what aspects need prindpal
1
Special Assistant, Soils and PavemE:r..ts I:o.boratory, U. S. Army
Engineer Wat,erways :2:xperiment Station, CE, Vicksburg, Miss., F'ello1<,
ASCE.
2 GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
emphasis; and (c) determine when and if refined investigations and
analyses are worthwhile or essential and when procedures normally
used are adequate.
There is another aspect. This concerns problems for which pres-
ent methods of design cannot be expected to be adequate. While it may
be almost heresy in this computer age, some problems still are only
slightly ammenable to state-of-the-art design techniques and must be
solved by engineering judgment and adequate safety factors.
Experience and Safety Factors
Local experience in constructing embankments should, of course,
be ascertained before site explorations are made and in many cases be-
fore a site is selected. At this stage, engineering geologists have
special value. While many engineers properly stress the variability
in subsoils that occurs from site to site, it seems equally appropri-
ate to stress the similarity of certain geologic formations over wide
areas. This often makes it possible to utilize embankment design and
construction experiences from larger areas. While generalizations are
dangerous, it may be equally dangerous to fail to make generalizations
where they can reasonably be made.
While it is impracticable to discuss embankment design in detail,
it seems appropriate to review the relationship of design factors to
safety factors. First, let us assume that a good engineering geology
investigation has been made, local embankment construction experience
has been evaluated, and appropriate subsurface explorations have been
completed. Embankment design factors, see Table 1, include items
which we choose to ignore when making conventional analyses and using
moderate safety factors, such as 1.5 or higher.a The widespread
availability of computers has made it practicable to use complex sta-
bility analyses that satisfy static equilibrium requirements. Also,
techniques have been developed for compensating for sample distur-
bance, provided the samples are not excessively disturbed. Such de-
velopments, and others, may appear to justify lower safety factors.
This is not necessarily true, however, because when one portion of an
integrated and interdependent design chain is refined, one is forced
to look at the need for considering additional factors and for refin-
ing others. A safety factor is a working component of a design pro-
cess; it is not idle, waiting to be called upon only in emergencies.
We can overwork our safety factors.
At the 1960 ASCE Conference on Shear Strength of Cohesive Soils,
Peck (40) presented an interesting plot relating safety factors
a Table 1 implies that low safety factors are justified or result
if refined analyses are made and that conventional analyses require
higher safety factors. This generalization has many exceptions; i.e.,
a refined analysis for an embankment on soft clay may result in higher
safety factors than used for conventional analyses. Similarly, a sand
embankment and conventional analyses do not require high safety
factors.
EMBANKMENTS 3
TABLE 1.--EMBANKMENT DESIGN FACTORS
Factor
(1)
Corrections for slight sample disturbance
Rate of straining in laboratory tests
Creep tests at constant load
Effect of anisotropic consolidation
stresses
Effect of failure plane orientation in
laboratory tests, i.e. material
anisotropy
Types of shear test equipment:
Triaxial compression
Triaxial extension
Direct simple shear
Plane strain compression
Plane strain extension
Residual shear
Stability analyses
Refined
Analyses -
Low Safety
Factors
(2)
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Conventional
Analyses and
Safety Factors
(3)
X
X
X
Creep and creep-rupture analyses X
Deformation analyses, end of construction X
Settlement analyses
Progressive failure
X
X
X
computed from undrained analyses, where failures had occurred, with
the liquidity index, see Fig. 1. This figure illustrates the impor-
tance of experience and is a useful empirical guide for determining if
one should expect success in predicting the stability of an embankment
and its foundation using conventional approaches.
The state of our current design ca-
pabilities, meaning conventional testing
and analysis, seems to be about as shown
in Table 2. While our ability to under-
stand and explain failures has improved
enormously, our predictive capability is
still in process of development. This
table indicates that our design capabil-
ities are deficient in some areas; nev-
ertheless, good engineering judgment is
generally able to compensate for our de-
sign limitations.
FIG. 1.--FACTOR OF SAFETY
VERSUS LIQUIDITY INDEX FOR
FAILED SLOPES (AFTER PECK,
REFERENCE 40)
WnoT- We
WQ.- vJf
\-...) MIJ - W f-
p..,-
4
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
TABLE 2.--EMBANKMENT DESIGN CAPABILITIES
Design Aspect
(1)
Embankments on soft foundations:
1. Overall stability
2. Deformations at end of construction
3. Creep deformations--postconstruction
Embankments on intact, overconsolidated
clay foundations:
1. Overall stability
2. Deformations
Embankments on highly overconsolidated
clay shales:
1. Overall stability
2. Pore pressure development
3. Deformations
Behavior Prediction
Capability
Good
Fair
(2)
Being developed
Good
Generally not
important
Poor
Poor
Poor
CONVENTIONAL SLOPE STABILITY ANALYSES
General
Techniques for making slope stability analyses of the conven-
tional or limiting equilibrium types have been highly developed and
are well described in various references. Wright (63) has recently
made an especially comprehensive study of methods of current interest
and has compared their merits and shortcomings.
It is convenient to classify conventional stability analyses into
circular arc and sliding wedge types of failure modes, but some are
capable of handling both types of failure mechanisms. Circular arc
and other procedures for making stability analyses can be grouped
broadly into three classes as illustrated in Table 3. The various
methods differ principally in the equilibrium requirements they sat-
isfy (Table 4) and in the manner in which they handle interslice
forces (see Fig. 2). Wright discusses equilibrium conditions satis-
fied by 21 different analysis procedures.a
The general characteristics of some currently used procedures for
making stability analyses are listed in Table 5, according to Wright.
Some of the newer more detailed procedures can accommodate any type of
a See Reference 63, Table 2.3, page 79.
EMBANKMENTS 5
TABLE 3.--CLASSIFICATION OF STABILITY ANALYSES PROCEDURES
Class Description
(1) (2)
I Approximate procedures: (as good as rigorous procedures for
small or zero) :
Ordinary method of slices (61)
II Intermediate procedures (generally work well for design
purposes):
Simplified Bishop (6,8)
(55,29)
Taylor--U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (CE) (55,61,60)
III Rigorous procedures:
Morgenstern and Price (34)
Janbu (23)
Spencer (52)
Sarma (43)
TABLE 4.--STATIC EQUILIBRIUM REQUIREMENTS
General Requirements
(l)
Moment equilibrium
Vertical and horizontal force
equilibrium
Point of application of inter-
slice forces
Magnitude of interslice shear
forces
Detailed Requirements
(2)
1. Overall moment equilibrium
2. Individual slice equilibrium
1. Overall equilibrium
2. Individual slice equilibrium
1. Must be reasonable; many ac-
ceptable solutions
1. Must not exceed available shear
resistance; should be checked
6
Q)
;.;

Q) rl
()
0
;.;
P-<
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
m m m
w 00 00 w 00 00 00 00

0
g;
0
0\ \0
C\J
" rl
l1"\ \0
l1"\
Q)
C\J "'
l1"\
l1"\
l1"\ 0 1'1
,_;j u (Y")
I I
H I I
QJ H ;.;
u o o m
c rl rl

(I]
Q)
(I]
m
()

0
(I]
EMBANKMENTS
R
FIG. 2.--FORCES IN METHOD OF SLICES
sliding surface but require a computer.
the various procedures is shown in Table
depend largely upon personal familiarity
availability of computer programs.
Circular Arc Analyses
A subjective evaluation of
6, but ratings of this type
with the methods and local
7
Ordinary Method of Slices.--The ordinary method of slices, see
Table 7, for circular failure surfaces is generally considered crude,
but Wright and others have shown that this is not the case where 0
is zero or small. For such cases normal stresses on the base of the
failure surface do not influence the available shear strength, and the
ordinary method of slices is no more conservative than more detailed
methods.
Where 0 is appreciably more than
slices is overly conservative and there
its use except for quick checks and for
ous experiences.
zero, the ordinary method of ll
seems little justification for .
comparing designs with previ-
Some engineers reason that the conservatism of the ordinary
method of slices makes it unnecessary to consider progressive failure,
creep, and other aspects of soil behavior not accounted for in normal
design. As pointed out by Duncan (15), in a lecture at the U. S. Army
Engineer Waterways Experiment Station (WES), such material behavior is
demonstrated most strongly when the soil has a low friction angle in
undrained shear, and this is when the ordinary method of slices is ap-
proximately correct and gives about the same result as more detailed
methods.
Simplified Bishop.--The Simplified Bishop analysis occupies a
special place in engineering practice because of its wide adoption
and long usage. For evaluation purposes, it can be considered as the
most suitable procedure for routine purposes despite its failure to
satisfy all equilibrium requirements (see Table 5). Numerous compari-
sons between it and more involved procedures that satisfy more equi-
librium requirements indicate that about the same results are achieved.
The justification for using the Bishop analysis is largely empirical,
in the sense that comparisons show that it is almost invariably
8 GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
TABLE 6.--EVALUATION OF STABILITY ANALYSES PROCEDURES
Characteristic
(l)
1. Results achieved
2. Practicality of hand
computation
3. General suitability for
most purposes with
circular surfaces and
computer solution
4. For evaluating proposed
methods
Remarks
(2)
(a) For c large and small:
All methods give about same result, in-
cluding ordinary method of slices,
except that Taylor-Lowe and Taylor-
CE occasionally give slightly high
safety factors
(b) For c small and large:
Ordinary methods of slices are too con-
servative. Others give about same
results
(c) For circles extending beyond toe:
Taylor-Lowe give slightly high safety
factors; Taylor-CE must assume hori-
zontal interslice forces beyond toe
Approximate order of preference:
Ordinary method of slices; Simplified
Bishop, Taylor-Lowe, or Taylor-CE
Approximate order of preference:
Use any method except ordinary method
of slices; Simplified Bishop, Taylor-
Lowe, or Taylor-CE are suitable
Use Morgenstern-Price, but recent pro-
gram improvements make it suitable
for routine use if desired
TABLE T.--ORDINARY METHOD OF SLICES--CIRCULAR FAILURE SURFACE
l. Satisfactory for = 0 or small :
a. Use for clay foundations and embankments
b. Use for clay foundations and embankments with i 0 if circular arc
is used only in clay (see Navy Manual, DM-7, Reference 14)
2. Unsatisfactory for > 0 , yields too low safety factors
a. Do not use for sand foundations
b. Do not use for sand embankments
3. For = 0 or small materials, method is no more conservative than
"correct" methods
EMBANKMENTS 9
satisfactory, seldom being more than a few percent different than more
rigorous procedures. The ordinary method of slices can be easily ex-
tended to the Simplified Bishop analysis if hand solutions are made;
computer programs are also available.
Force Equilibrium Methods.--Taylor's force equilibrium method (55)
has been extended by Lowe (29) for shear strengths corresponding to
anisotropic consolidation stresses. Lowe assumes interslice forces
that have an inclination equal to the average of the slope of the
failure surface and of the overlying ground surface. This assumption
gives results close to other more detailed methods (63) but gives in-
consistent interslice force directions in the central part of the
embankment.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers adopted Taylor's method (60,61),
as one alternative procedure, suggesting interslice force inclinations
equal to the average embankment slope after comparative checks dis-
closed that horizontal interslice force inclinations near the center
line beneath the crest had little effect. (The computer program, un-
published, developed by the Corps can use any desired interslice force
inclination for all slices.) The Corps' program gives about the same
result as the Taylor-Lowe procedure, but interslice force directions
for circles emerging beyond the toe should be assumed as horizontal
beyond the toe to avoid excessive passive resistance resulting from
downward directed interslice forces. This is in accordance with the
Corps' usage although not discussed in Reference 60.
Rigorous Methods.--A number of procedures have been developed
that satisfy practically all static equilibrium requirements (see
Table 5). These methods are sometimes referred to as accurate methods,
but this is misleading in the sense that safety factors they produce
are not necessarily accurate. It is difficult to characterize these
methods, but the term rigorous may be appropriate from the standpoint
that they satisfy static equilibrium requirements (see Tables 5 and 8).
Nevertheless, even these procedures, which are somewhat more difficult
to use and require a computer, oftentime3 are not carried sufficiently
TABLE 8.--RIGOROUS METHODS FOR STABILITY ANALYSISa
1. Satisfy static equilibrium requirements
2. Difficult to simultaneously satisfy all requirements for magnitude,
direction, and location of interslice forces
3. Must be considered approximate--do not consider soil stress-strain
characteristics
4. Use for research and comparing other methods
a
Morgenstern-Price (34), Janbu (23), Spencer (52), and Sarma (43).
10 GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
far to satisfy all static requirements for interslice forces. These
more detailed methods give results so close to the Simplified Bishop
analysis, and generally to the force equilibrium method of Taylor,
that they cannot be considered superior for practical design pur-
poses (62).
Sliding Wedge Analyses
There are many cases where a wide berm, upstream blanket, flat
slopes, or a confined, thin layer of soft soil in the foundation indi-
cates that a sliding wedge is more appropriate than a circular arc
failure surface. One of the earliest references (1944) to sliding
wedge analyses relates to the Pendleton levee failure (20,32,56) and
contains a graphic description of the mechanism of failure and result-
ing movements (see especially the discussion by Terzaghi (56)). Nu-
merous procedures are available for making translational or sliding-
wedge analyses (see Table 9). The newer, more detailed types of anal-
yses, such as Morgenstern-Price, etc. (see Table 5), are capable of
accommodating either circular arc, sliding wedge, or combinations of
circular arcs or other failure surfaces with plane sections. A sim-
plified version of a sliding wedge analysis was developed for use in
the Lower Mississippi Valley Division (LMVD) of the Corps of Engi-
neers in which the definition of the safety factor was made to cor-
respond as closely as possible to that used in conventional circular
arc analyses. This procedure, Reference 59, is also presented in the
Navy Design Manual DM-7 (Reference 14).
Selection of Method of Analysis
The geometry of a situation governs whether a circular arc, a
sliding wedge, or a composite failure surface of curved and plane seg-
ments should be selected. This is a first requirement and determines
TABLE 9.--TRANSLATIONAL OR SLIDING WEDGE STABILITY ANALYSES
Procedure Reference No.
(1) (2)
CE 1944 20
CE 1952 61
CE 1961 59, 14
CE 1970 60
Morgenstern-Price 34
Janbu 23
Spencer 52
Seed and Sultan 44, 53
Sarma 43
EMBANKMENTS 11
which types of stability analysis procedure should be considered.
Since even the most detailed of the conventional or limiting
equilibrium methods is relatively crude and neglects stress-strain
properties of embankment and foundation materials, the simplest suit-
able procedure should be adopted. Under limited conditions, i.e.,
0 = 0 , the ordinary method of slices is appropriate, but in general
the Simplified Bishop, the Taylor procedure with somewhat smaller side
force inclinations than used by the Corps of Engineers, and Spencer's
procedures seem more satisfactory for practical purposes. However, it
is essential that a method be used that the engineer has carefully re-
viewed and understands, and this is perhaps more important than other
requirements. Since computers are routinely used on large projects
and running times are low, it is practicable to use several methods,
rather than only one.
Credibility of Computer Solutions
The widespread use of computer programs requires understanding
and agreement about their potential credibility. As a basis for using
computers, the following is suggested:
a. The engineer is responsible for establishing the credibility
of computer solutions.
b. Assume that a computer program (1) written by a competent
programmer, (2) carefully checked out on check problems whose
answers are known, and (3) used successfully on a variety of
problems may still give an unreliable answer. Reasons for
this are the difficulty of completely "debugging" large pro-
grams and changes in subroutines that are made periodically
in the computer itself.
c. Establish the credibility of computer output by: (1) Criti-
cally examining the results to determine if they look reason-
able. (2) Use two or more entirely independent computer
programs, i.e. force equilibrium, Simplified Bishop, etc.
General
(3) Make a hand solution for the critical circle. This re-
quires the Simplified Bishop, Taylor's force equilibrium, or
other procedures. This should be required for dams. (4) Use
charts and approximate solutions.
PORE PRESSURES AND SHEAR STRENGTHS
While conventional procedures for performing stability analyses
produce generally comparable results, with the exception of the ordi-
nary method of slices for a c,rf; material, this refers only to the
technique for performing the analysis. The use of total stress versus
effective stress analyses and the various ways in which design shear
strengths can be selected produce a wide range of safety factors and
12
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
are more important than the method for analyzing stability.
The importance of shear strengths used for design and of effec-
tive versus total stress analyses is illustrated in Table 10 for Test
Section No. 2 constructed by the New Orleans District, Corps of Engi-
neers. This and other test sections (24) were analyzed extensively by
Ladd and his colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) (27,18) for the District. Table 10 shows that the end of con-
struction safety factor varied from 1.0 to 1.9, depending upon shear
strengths assumed. This range far exceeds differences resulting
solely from stability analyses techniques.
Field Vane Tests
Field vane tests sometimes indicate shear strengths that check
closely values determined by sampling and testing and correlation
with actual failures. In other cases, vane strengths may be too
large, by as much as 100 percent. Bjerrum's correction factors (10)
were utilized by MIT in a Simplified Bishop stability analysis, as
were uncorrected field vane shear strengths, with results as shown in
Table 10. It appears likely, on the basis of the various analyses and
especially from the behavior of the test section, which underwent
TABLE 10.--LEVEE TEST SECTION NO. 2--NEW ORLEANS DISTRICT, CE
End-of-Construction Stability Analyses
Method of Analysis
(l)
Simplified Bishop
CE sliding wedge
Simplified Bishop
Morgenstern-Price
Simplified Bishop
Interpretation of
slope indicators
Simplified Bishop
Simplified Bishop
Shear Strengths
(2)
SHANSEPa--MIT (2i)
CE--design approach (27)
MIT--creep report (18)
Wedge--MIT strengths (21)
Field vane--with Bjerrum's
correction (21)
Comparison of laboratory
direct simple shear (Geonor)
shear stress-shear strain
data and field shear strains
Effective stress analysis (21)
Field vane (21)
Safety Factors
(3)
0.97
1.05
1.15
1.15
l. 30
1.3
l. 56
1.92
a Stress history and normalized soil engineering properties.
EMBANKMENTS
large creep deformations finally resulting in cracking but not fail-
ure, that the safety factor at the end of construction was probably
not much more than 1.1 to 1.3.
Uncorrected field vane strengths are obviously inapplicable.
13
Since correction factors of the type proposed by Bjerrum vary for dif-
ferent soil types, it appears necessary to conclude that field vane
strengths should be used with the utmost discretion, if used at all,
as the only basis for designing embankments. While field vane
strengths are not always dependable, such tests have value_ for
mining differences in subsoil conditions because the vane lS sensltlve
to rapid and minor changes in subsurface conditions. It also is use-
ful for determining strength increases from consolidation during stage
construction.
Compression, Simple
Shear, and Extension Tests
Almost all practical design stability analyses utilize results
from triaxial compression tests. This has generally been satisfactory
where conventional safety factors have been used but may not be satis-
factory when attempts are made to use low safety factors or when a re-
fined analysis is desired that corresponds as closely as possible to
field conditions.
The simplified field con-
ditions shown in Fig. 3 illus-
trate that the soil may fail by
compression, simple shear, and
extension. Further, compres-
sion and extension tests can be
performed using triaxial or
plane strain equipment. Dif-
ferences between the results of
EXTENSION__.... \
it_SIMPt..E SHEAR
LABORATORY TEST CONDITIONS
RELATIVE TO FIELD CONDITIONS
FIG. 3.--LABORATORY TEST CONDITIONS
RELATIVE TO FIELD CONDITIONS
triaxial compression and extension tests are illustrated in Fig. 4,
prepared from data cited by Bjerrum (10) and_Ladd,_et al .. (27). As-
suming that the average of triaxial compresslon, dlrect Slmple shear,
J:
0>-
1.4
J:z
1.2
Z<n
l:iz 1.0

a:ti'J 0.8


------;
LEGEND
X --, /
.,.. ..... X ','<...--tl/ --TRIAXIAL COMPRESSION, TC
--- DIRECT SIMPLE SHEAR+ TC
UNDRAINED {GEONOR)
X :: (OSS + TC + TE) X !/3
TC
--TRIAXIAL EXTENSIQN-;-TC

0.2
o:::= 0
CASES CITED BY BJERRUM {10) LADD ET AL.(27)
FIG. 4.--COMPARISON OF TRIAXIAL COMPRESSION AND
EXTENSION TESTS AND DIRECT SIMPLE SHEAR TESTS,
NORMALLY CONSOLIDATED CLAYS
14
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
and triaxial extension tests approximates the average st-rength along a
railure surrace, the conventional use or triaxial compression tests
ror the entire railure surrace may result in average shear strengths
that are 20-30 percent too high. The suggestion is sometimes made
(Ladd) that direct simple shear tests represent a suitable average ror
an entire typical railure surrace. As illustrated in Fig. 4, this may
be reasonably valid, but it does not seem practicable to rely only on
direct simple shear tests.
Typical railure conditions are plane strain rather than triaxial,
although this is not always the case. Plane strain tests generally
give about 5 percent larger strengths than triaxial compressions tests.
This discussion or the inrluence of test conditions is intended
to illustrate the uncertainity that exists in determining the shear
strength or soils, considering only test type and equipment. Unless
these efrects are evaluated, it is evident that the sarety ractor must
compensate for tangible and possibly substantial uncertainties.
Back-Pressure Saturation Errects
The use or back pressure to secure saturation in triaxial com-
pression tests was presented by Lowe in 1960 (30) and again in
1967 (29). His ideas met ready acceptance and probably by about 1965
most, but not all, laboratories were using back pressure to achieve
saturation and hence,they believed, more conservative test results
that better represented ultimate rield conditions.
When using back-pressure saturation, Kaufman and Weaver (unpub-
lished data), in the LMVD of the CE, found much higher strengths at
low stresses than had previously been obtained ror some materials when
only seepage saturation was used. Further, the shear strength at low
stresses, producing a high cohesion intercept value, was much greater
than developed under rield conditions. While such results were dis-
counted in design, an investigation of the effect of back-pressure
saturation was made at the WES. Consolidated-undrained triaxial com-
pression tests were perrormed on both compacted and undisturbed mate-
rials. The results ror a compacted ML silt (see Fig. 5) show that the
maximum deviator stress for high back pressures was nearly twice that
developed when no back pressure was used. Similarly, an undisturbed
silt (ML) tested at a conrining stress or 1 tsr in triaxial compres-
sion had a deviator stress under 80-psi back pressure that was 46 per-
cent larger than ror a back pressure of 40 psi.
A high back pressure prevents pore water cavitation, which would
otherwise occur at low stresses on compacted soils and on overcon-
solidated in situ materials tested at stresses less than their pre-
consolidation stress. The shear strength is greater than the drained
strength because tension, in erfect, is permitted to develop in the
pore water. This excess shear strength at low normal stresses should
not be used in design, according to Lowe (29), but this restriction
has not been consistently observed. Its errect will be discussed
subsequently.
EMBANKMENTS
ISr---------------------------------------------,

w
0:
t-
10

- 100
- 90
- 83
t-
z
w
... v

a
-
::;.:: 5
:>
::;
x
<
::;

o zs so 75 roo rzs rso 175
BACK PRESSURE, P.S I
0.
FIG. 5.--EFFECT OF BACK PRESSURE ON DEVIATOR STRESS
Plotting and Use of
Consolidated-Undrained Test Data
15
When isotropically consolidated-undrained triaxial compression
tests are performed, the usual practice ror presenting the test data
is to construct a Mohr circle for failure conditions with a cr
3
cor-
responding to the chamber or consolidation pressure and a cr
1
equal
to the chamber pressure plus the deviator stress at railure. An en-
velope is constructed tangent to the various stress circles or joining
the points on the stress circles representing the shear strength de-
veloped on the failure plane. The latter is normally preferred (see
Fig. 6), but a tangent envelope is orten used, especially for undis-
turbed specimens as a means of compensating ror sampling disturbance.
This is a total stress method ror presenting the test data, and en-
velopes constructed in this manner are routinely used in design.
According to the usual test envelope, the shear strength corre-
sponds to point B for a specimen isotropically consolidated under a
stress indicated by point A in Fig. 6. A peculiar situation has de-
veloped, however, in which the test envelope is used by designers in a. ..
manner inconsistent with the way the envelope was prepared. Designers ..


w
:: 2

0:
"'
w
I
<nl
LAB SHEAR STRENGTH
DESIGN SHEAR
0 L_ ____ L_ ____ L_ ____ L_ __
0 2 3 4 5
DEVIATOR STRESS AT FAILURE
FIG. 6.--CONSOLIDATED-UNDRAINED TEST ENVELOPE,
ISOTROPIC CONSOLIDATION
16 GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
use the test envelope as a relationship between shear strength and ef-
fective normal or consolidation stress on the failure plane prior to
undrained shear. Thus, the designer uses a shear strength correspond-
ing to point C. Obviously, the designer and the laboratory should
both agree that the shear strength corresponds to point B. The latter
strength is 15-20 percent more than the strength actually used in de-
sign, as 0cu or R is often equal to one-hal
The inconsistency between the laboratory and the designer can be
simply resolved by plotting test data as proposed by Taylor (54) in
which the shear strength at failure on the plane of failure, as
45 + 0'/2, is plotted versus the effective normal consolidation
stress (see Fig. 7) on the failure plane. This procedure has been
3
l- DESIGN SHEAR
R
ENVELOPE
DEVIATOR STRESS AT FAILURE
FIG. 7.--CONSOLIDATED-UNDRAINED TEST ENVELOPE,
ISOTROPIC CONSOLIDATION
strongly advocated by Lowe (29). While not frequently done, it seems
reasonable that this method of plotting should be used to avoid a com-
mon but unsupportable inconsistency, but further discussion is de-
ferred until the effect of using isotropically consolidated tests for
design is considered.
Effect of Anisotropic Consolidation
on Consolidated-Undrained Strengths
Conventional laboratory testing procedures utilize isotropically ...
consolidated triaxial compression tests for determining undrained
shear strengths, i.e. consolidated-undrained, CU , or R tests. As
pointed out by Lowe (31) and others (28), anisotropically consolidated
specimens conform better to probable field conditions and are claimed
to yield somewhat higher shear strengths. It may be practicable on a
few large projects to perform anisotropically consolidated tests, but
this is generally impracticable. Fortunately, possible effects of
anisotropic consolidation can be examined in several approximate and
preliminary ways even if only isotropic consolidation was used.
EMBANKMENTS 17
A procedure was developed by Taylor, described in detail by
Lowe (31), to approximate the effects of anisotropic consolidation
from isotropically consolidated-undrained tests with pore pressure
measurements, i.e. R tests. The procedure assumes that the ratio of
principal effective stresses at any point during undrained
shear represents the starting for a test consolidated to
that ratio of principal effective stresses. The results of using this
approach, by the WES, is shown in Table ll for two materials. It ap-
pears from this and other data that Taylor's approximation is slightly
conservative but probably useful as a means for estimating effects of
anisotropic consolidation, as a basis for determining if anisotropic-
ally consolidated tests should be performed.
A second alternative for estimating anisotropically consolidated
shear strengths is to compute them, after Skempton and Bishop, Refer-
ence 50, from results of isotropically consolidated tests. This al-
ternative uses Skempton's pore pressure parameter at failure, A ,
for isotropically consolidated tests and the appropriate values 0'
and consolidation stress ratio, Kc , where Kc =

. This al-
ternative for saturated soils; i.e. B = l , is given in Fig. 8 for
c' assumed negligible and can be modified for c' > 0 . The value of
TABLE 11.--MEASURED AND COMPUTED TOTAL STRESS ENVELOPE ANGLES
ANISOTROPICALLY CONSOLIDATED TRIAXIAL COMPRESSION TESTS
Envelope Angle for Total
Stresses for Consolidation
Principal Effective Stress
Ratio of
Material '1.0 1.5 2.0
(l) (2) (3) (4)
Normally consolidated "buckshot" clay:
(l) Test value 16.2 19.3 23.9
(2) Values computed from isotropic-
ally consolidated tests using
Taylor's method 16.2 18.5 22.3
Normally consolidated EABPLa clay:
(l) Test value l3.7o 16.4 20.8
(2) Values computed from isotropic-
ally consolidated tests using
Taylor's method 13.7 16.0 19.7
a East Atchafalaya Basin Protection Levee, Louisiana
18
i
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
-- -+(1--)A
1"1 SIN 41' COS 41' [ I I J
O:c- lt(2A(I)SIN ill' Kc Kc f
FIG. 8.--EFFECT OF ANISO-
TROPIC CONSOLIDATION CU
(OR R) TESTS (c' AS-
SUMED NEGLIGIBLE OR ZERO)
Af can be readily computed if pore
pressures during shear are measured.
Transducers provide a simple means for
doing this in routine testing. If
pore pressures were not measured they
can be estimated if 0' has been de-
termined, see Fig. 9. Drained direct
shear tests provide a simple means for
determining c' and 0' .
Still another alternative for es-
timating anisotropically consolidated-
undrained shear strengths is based
upon the frequently used c/p ratios.
The use of c/p ratios or s /p
ratios for estimating shear sreXgths
of normally consolidated and overcon-
solidated clays implies that the shear
strength depends only on o
1
c and is
independent of Kc . If this assump-
tion is made, it is easy to prepare
plots of shear strength versus consol-
idation stress on the failure plane
for various ratios of principal effec-
tive stresses during consolidation.
This approach, in effect, stipulates a
specific stress path, but this may not be the same as achieved in lab-
oratory testing or in field behavior.
Embankment Strengths.--In analyzing embankment stability using
consolidated-undrained tests, it is important to note that the de-
signer normally uses laboratory test envelopes for isotropically con-
solidated triaxial compression tests as a relationship between shear
strength on the failure plane and the effective normal stress on the
failure plane at the start of undrained shear. The influence of
anisotropic consolidation stresses is generally not considered but is
illustrated in Fig. 10, which was computed according to Fig. 8. These
effects can be summarized about as follows: (a) if large positive
pore pressures are developed during shear, isotropic consolidation is
conservative, i.e. gives smaller shear strengths than for ,rsotropic ..(-- 1
consolidation hrc < 'AcJ; (b) if small positive or negative pore
1
pressures are developed during shear, isotropic consolidation ls un-
conservative (-rrc > 'AC ; and (c) isotropic consolidation can be con-
servative or unconservatlve dependlng upon the effectlve stress path
and varies with consolidation stress a;;;ro}c .
These remarks can also be stated as follows: If Skempton's pore
pressure parameter at failure, Af , is more than 1/2(1 - sin 0') ,
isotropic consolidation is conservative (-rrc < !c), but lf less than
thls value lSotroplc consoildatlon ls unconser vo. Ive ( trc > LAC) .
This dividing value for Af is 1/4 for 0' 30 and_I/3
0' = 20 . Compacted materials often develop small positive or
tive pore pressures in-consolidated-undrained testsL-i.e. Ar is
small or negative. For such cases, isotropically consolidated tests
EMBANKMENTS
A =__A_!!__
f (IT
1
-IT
3
)
1
liU I
1::=1/7
ill' FROM DRAINED TEST

l.i'J3c=cr,c=crc
FIG. 9.--ESTIMATING Af FOR CU )OR R) TESTS
IN WHICH PORE PRESSURES ARE NOT MEASURED
(ISOTROPIC CONSOLIDATION)
1.5
At= I
t
I. C. CONSERVATIVE
ILC.< IA.C.
At=O
I.e. UNCONSERVATIVE
ILC. > IA.C.
o.5L--------_j_ _______ ---L------'-----:!
2
5
1.0 1.5 -
FIG. 10.--EFFECT OF ANISTROPIC CONSOLIDATION ON
-rf/crfc , CU (OR R) TESTS
19
20 GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
give substantially too high shear s_:tre.ngths _and. are. unc.onser_vati ve for
embankment design.
If the designer were to select embankment shear strengths from
plots of Tff versus o
1
, instead of using plots of Tff versus
of as commonly done, is8tropic consolidation would give too high
sfigar strengths for Af < 1.0 , see Fig. 11. The various considera-
tions discussed are summarized in Table 12. Anisotropic consolidation

io
"'CH II Cf.fc.
...,
>

5 roc(
"
8
:z -
:::>1-
0
-'
FIG. 11.--EFFECT OF ANISOTROPIC CONSOLIDATION
ON Tf/Olc CU (OR R) TESTS
effects on embankment shear strength merits considerably more study
than has been given them. Until such studies are made, it seems ad-
visable, if isotropically consolidated tests are performed, to retain
our present inconsistent method of plotting and using test data to
offset, at least partially, unconservatism in the use of isotropic
consolidation. A better procedure would be to plot and use test data
in a consistent manner and to perform isotropically and anisotropi-
cally consolidated tests.
Foundation Shear Strengths.--The preceding remarks apply also
in principle to foundation shear strengths. However, foundation
strengths are often determined using c/p ratios, especially for soft
clay foundation soils. The shear strength on the failure plane for
both normally consolidated and overconsolidated soils can be plaited
versus o
1
, the maximum consolidation stress, normally taken as the
vertical effective stress, p . For test data plotted in this manner,
the effect of anisotropic consolidation stresses is illustrated in
Fig. 11, for results computed according.to Fig. 8. It is obvious that
the c/p approach in conjunction with isotropically consolidated R
or CU test data is satisfactory only lf hlgh pore pressures are de-
veloped, i.e. for Af = l . These considerations are summarized in
Table 12.
The c/p concepts are used in SHANSEP (27) and similar tech-
niques as a means of correcting for disturbance of undisturbed samples.
This is done by consolidating test specimens to sufficiently large
stresses to overcome disturbance effects and normalizing the shear
strengths with respect to major principal consolidation stress. It
is evident that isotropic consolidation is satisfactory if Af = 1.0
but anisotropic consolidation is evidently required for smaller values
U)
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EMBANKMENTS
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21
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22 GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
of Af . Isotropically consolidated tests, with corrections to relate
them to in situ anisotropic conditions, shou],_ll_q_t __p_e__ used in lieu of
anisotropic consolidations unless no other alternative is available.
Anisotropic Material Behavior
In addition to the effect of anisotropic consolidation stresses
on undrained shear strength, the soil may itself exhibit anisotropic
characteristics in which the shear strength varies with the direction
of the failure plane (51) . tJJ ke.o , \2_,\l,. ,
Where low safety factors are sought for economic reasons and the
consequences of failure permit increased risks, tt is necessary to
consider the effects of anisotropic material behavior, as distinct
from effects of anisotropic consolidation stresses. This requires
trimming specimens at various inclinations to obtain shear planes at
different angles, This is burdensome and is rarely done. Some field
failures have been ascribed to anisotropic material behavior that was
not anticipated, Even relatively uniform soils may have shear
strengths' on horizontal failure planes that are 10 percent less than
that for usual test conditions. For some soils, the reduction may be
far greater, as much as 4o percent of the usual triaxial compressive
strength. Since this aspect of material behavior is rarely investi-
gated in practical work, safety factors must be adequate to compensate
for this effect.
Effect of Strain Rate
It is impossible to perform undrained laboratory tests slow
enough to simulate field loading. Nevertheless, we routinely use
tests performed at relatively rapid strain rates for stability analy-
ses. Obviously we depend on adequate safety factors to cover a de-
ficiency in testing. Many materials are sensitive to strain rate
effects (51), as shown in Fig. 12 for tests made at MIT on specimens
0.36
DATA FROM LADD ET AU27) REPORT TO C E.
-" 0.32
b'
!=t [ti'
"' :0
J:lit3'
0.24
0.20
0.5 5
STRAIN RATE
0
/o / HR
FIG. 12.--EFFECT OF STRAIN RATE ON SHEAR STRENGTH TRIAXIAL
COMPRESSION TESTS, NORMALLY CONSOLIDATED CLAY
EMBANKMENTS
from the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana. This plot shows that if a
specimen were to reach peak deviator stress at 5 percent strain in
15 minutes, it would be 20 percent stronger than a specimen reaching
failure in 10 hours. The effect of strain rate is obviously of much
importance, particularly where low safety factors are used.
For San Francisco Bay mud, Duncan and Buchignani (16) state
23
"For loads maintained a week or longer, the shearing resistance is
only about 70 percent of the value measured in conventional triaxial
tests." Much other data (51) corroborates these findings. While the
Bay mud and Louisiana clays are typical of only some soils, the ef-
fects of strain rate on them is typical. Obviously usual testing
times leave much to be covered by safety factors.
Tensile Testing
for Cracking Studies
Cracking, as distinct from shear displacement, implies that the
tensile strength of the embankment material has been exceeded. Obvi-
ously tensile strength and stress-strain characteristics of major
importance in cracking studies.
Finite element studies (11,13,19) of development of tensile
zones in embankment dams generally utilize moduli of deformation in
tension that are much less than corresponding moduli in compression.
The moduli in tension have to be assumed because adequate test infor-
mation has not been available. Tests at the WES (1,2) show that
moduli of deformation in tension, using a hollow cylinder device, were
larger than moduli in compression using unconfined compression tests
for comparably compacted soil specimens. This surprising result was
also found at Cambridge University (Parry, Reference 38) using both
beams and uniaxial compression tests with deformations measured by
x-radiographic techniques with lead-shot markers.
Failure conditions in which one principal stress is tensile while
the others are compression correspond to field conditions of cracking
in dams but have not been studied to any significant degree under con-
trolled laboratory conditions. Limited tests at the WES (1) show that
when one principal stress was tension, its value increased when the
magnitude of the other principal stresses, which were compressive,
increased. While this result, which is rather surprising, appears in-
consistent with conventional failure theories, it may reflect the im-
portance of the mean or octahedral normal stress on the tensile
strength of soils. The octahedral normal stress can be positive even
though one principal stress is negative and an increase in the com-
pressive principal stresses may permit the principal stress in tension
to be larger. It is obvious that the subject of cracking requires ex-
panded laboratory research of the behavior of soils under various com-
bined stress conditions.
24
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
APPLICATIONS OF STABILITY ANALYSES
General
Stability analyses are generally made for limiting conditions
such as (a) end of construction, (b) sudden drawdown and steady seep-
age for embankment dams, and (c) long-term conditions. Where founda-
tion materials are highly overconsolidated, they may contain joints,
faults, and other weakened surfaces along which only residual or mod-
erately higher shear strengths may be realized. For such conditions,
selection of appropriate shear strengths and pore water pressures may
be so difficult that stability analyses are of marginal value. This
difficulty may be partially overcome by field in place tests and by
testing large specimens, but the substantial cost of such tests gen-
erally precludes definitive investigations.
End-of-Construction Stability
Stability at the end of construction is a minor factor for low
embankments on good foundations but is of major importance for high
embankments, such as dams, and for all embankments on soft foundations.
The practice at the present time is to use either total stress or ef-
fective stress approaches, with shear strength bases as summarized-in
Table 13.
Total Stress Analyses.--The total stress approach uses a shear
strength determined from unconsolidated-undrained tests. Compacted
materials are tested at a range of placement densities and moisture
contents to determine placement requirements consistent with available
borrow materials and climatic environment. No drainage during con-
struction is usually assumed. Where embankment materials are of a
cohesive nature, the shear strength envelope has a substantial cohe-
sion intercept and a relatively low friction angle, as illustrated in
Fig. 13. If such an envelope is used for design, the shear strength
corresponding to low normal stresses is partially developed from ten-
sion in the pore water. The result is that a portion of the embank-
ment (see Fig. 14) is, in effect, assumed to develop negative pore
pressures while the remainder develops positive pore pressures. Field
observations on conventional piezometers (12,48) generally show negli-
gible positive pore pressures to significant depths below the embank-
ment surface, implying negative pore pressures at higher elevations.
It may not be conservative to rely upon negative pore water pressures
because of the effect of adverse climatic conditions, especially if
construction requires several years. Quite possibly, some cases where
the rate of fill placement had to be decreased because of excessive
movements during construction should be attributable to a design con-
cept that partially relies upon negative pore water pressures, rather
than to a deviation of placement moisture contents from design values.
This would, of course, depend on climatic conditions.
While there is much evidence to suggest rather strongly that end-
of-construction stability can be satlsfactorily determlned ln the
usual manner using UU or Q envelopes, lt-a:_ppearsd.esirahl.:enot'-to
G-<
0 "'
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EMBANKMENTS
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25
26
':
"'3
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>-
"'
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
2 3
" [2_!CL.O M LA 0'1 i) t () tr
FA-1 L-v.,rti:

//
SHEAR STRENGTH USING Q ENVELOPE
4 5 6
NORMAL STRESS
1
cr.-
FIG. 13--UNCONSOLIDATED-UNDRAINED OR Q TEST ENVELOPE
END OF CONSTRUCTION CONDITION
FIG. 14.--DESIGN FOR CONSTRUCTION CONDITION
Q STRENGTH
lower safety factors below l. 5 and certainly not less than abont 1 3
unless the possibility of decreased shear strength at low stresses is
carefully considered.
Sudden Drawdown
Stability Analyses
In total stress procedures for analyzing partial or complete sud-
den drawdown, the assumption is usually made that the effective normal
stress on the failure surface after drawdown is the same as the effec-
tive normal stress prior to drawdown (29,60). This is basically equiv-
alent to the procedure suggested by Bishop (5-8). Both procedures
neglect the effect of pore pressures associated with shear during un-
drained load reduction, which is conservative according to Bishop (6).
The mechanics of pore pressure and stress changes during sudden draw-
down (6) are sometimes misunderstood. These changes involve a de-
crease in total stresses, cr
1
and cr
3
. Since cr
3
decreases more
rapidly than crl , shear stresses increase. External water pressfres
decrease as a consequence of drawdown, thereby increasing the over-
turning forces tending to cause loss of equilibrium. Conventional
approaches are generally rather conservative (4,39,41) because dissi-
pation of pore water pressures as drawdown occurs is neglected.
EMBANKMENTS 27
The total stress approach for sudden drawdown formerly used the
envelope for consolidated-undrained tests (see Fig. 15), even at low
confining stresses. This envelope is still sometimes used, although
it results in a substantial shear resistance at low confining stresses
from tension in the pore water. The current practice of the Corps of
Engineers and of others is to use a combined envelope, normally
ferred to as an S R envelo e to avoid reliance on she - )
sociated with negative pore water pressures. l.\J /T.:>II't l..
"'
"'
"'
a:
>-
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a:
;:'i
J:
"'
j'
-c__u- r2-
ENVELOPE .
COMBINED
EFFECTIVE STRESS ENVELOPE
NORMAL STRESS , {y
FIG. 15.--SHEAR STRENGTH RESULTING FROM NEGATIVE PORE
PRESSURES IN UNDRAINED SHEAR
The need for an S-R combined envelope is avoided if an effective
stress analysis is used, since shear strengths associated with nega-
tive pore pressures are automatically excluded because the effective
stress envelope is used in association with positive effective normal
stresses.
The use of a combined S-R envelope for sudden drawdown analyses
introduces special problems when the upstream slope consists of rela-
tively impervious soils. Where this occurs, the critical sliding sur-
face becomes shallow, and the analysis approximates drawdown for an
infinite slope. This results in relatively flat slopes, although the
safety factors for interior sliding surfaces that would affect the
safety of the embankment would be large. This poses the following
question: Should the embankment be designed to permit shallow slides
that involve small quantities of material or only for deep interior
sliding surfaces that affect the safety of the embankment? In con-
sidering this question, it is, perhaps, relevant that sudden drawdown
and an infinite slope analysis correspond closely to a steady seepage
condition out of the upstream slope, as occurs following drawdown.
Engineering judgment is an essential element in selecting design
criteria for the conditions described since the cost of effecting re-
pairs is significant. Even shallow slides of an upstream slope dis-
rupt the riprap and require repairs under adverse conditions. The
reservoir may rise and interfere with the work. Also, riprap may be
key paper on defining strength envelope
28
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
difficult to obtain and expensive in the small quantities required.
Some engineers faced with repair of shallow upstream slides have con-
cluded that embankment design should be based on shallow failure sur-
faces if analyses show them to be critical. While other engineers
conclude that shallow slides should not be taken this seriously, and
constitute an acceptable maintenance problem, the differing views il-
lustrate the advantages of using a zone of free-draining material
beneath the outer slope if it is available. A pervious zone in only
the upper part of an embankment is advantageous where drawdown is re-
stricted to the upper part of the reservoir. The most severe drawdown
conditions probably occur at pumped storage projects.
Effective Stress Analyses for
Nonfailure (Design) Conditions
Effective and total stress analyses of failures should both be
made where practicable. Effective stress analyses contribute greatly
to an understanding of embankment and foundation behavior and have
much to recommend them as supplements to total stress analyses, or
vice versa according to one's viewpoint.
While effective stress analyses of failure conditions are valu-
able and straightforward, the manner in which they should be used for
nonfailure conditions is not so obvious. Effective stress analyses in
conjunction with pore pressures measured in piezometers or computed
from undrained one-dimensional compression or other analyses assume
the stress path to failure is along vertical line OB in Fig. 16. As
pointed out by Barron (3), other stress paths are possible, such as OA
and OC, and is not logical nor necessarily safe to assume that the >-
fective stress path is OB. This was previously stated by Gould in
Navy DM-7 (14) in the following way: "Where ... pore pressures are de-
veloped during shear ... utilize pore pressures ... in effective stress
analysis with strength c and 121 from CU tests." Also, "In mate-
rials where no (large) pore pressures are developed during shear ...
evaluate pore pressures ... and apply them in effective stress analysis
with c' and 121' strengths." This approach considers measured pore
pressures in determining the effective normal stress prior to shear.
Pore pressures developed during shear are accounted for by using c
"'
"'
w
a:
1-
"'
a:
<
w
:r
"'
EFFECTIVE STRESS PATH USED
IN EFFECTIVE STRESS ANALYSES /
Ar=l/2 Q-SIN ')(STRESS PATH OB) :}?/POSSIBLE STRESS
' At A PATHS
20 0.33 ...._ /
25 o. 29

SITU STRESSES
30 0.25 :
NORMAL STRESS
I
I
I
J CfN=ON-J.L
FIG. 16.--EFFECTIVE STRESS ANALYSES
EMBANKMENTS 29
and 121 from undrained tests. This is reasonable. The effective
stress principle as presented by Terzaghi (57) requires that shear
stress, pore water pressure, and effective normal to_
conditions at failure. The shear strength may be too hlgh lf posslble
pore pressure increases resulting from shear are (58).
Effective stress analyses are often used to evaluate stability of
unfailed embankments during or after construction, using pore water
pressures measured by piezometers to compute effective .
stresses, and this is frequently considered one of the maJor beneflts
from installing piezometers. Effective stress analyses assume that
the stress path to failure from point 0, Fig. 16, corresponds to
path OB, which has an Af value of 1/2(1- sin 121'! . This may not
coincide with actual Af values developed in undralned shear.
The ratio of the shear strength normally assumed in effective
stress analyses to the actual strength available is in
Fig. 17, using computational procedures given in Fig. 8. It lS
2.0
1.5 2.0
A{-
T
l.__r;____,._.. (} fc
Ts IS NORMALLY USED IN
EFFECTIVE STRESS ANALYSES
2.5
K - iJ, c
c- U3c
3.0
Ts (UNCONSERVATIVE), 'Ys>'YA
Ar=l/2 (I-SIN')
T8 (cONSERVATIVE), 'Y
8
< "l'A
3.5 4.0
FIG. 17.--SHEAR STRENGTH ALTERNATIVE--EFFECTIVE
STRESS STABILITY ANALYSES
apparent that the usual effective stress approach lower shear
strengths than will actually develop if or pore pres-
sures are developed during undrained shear, l.e., lf Af _values_are
less than about 1/4 to 1/3 Af 1/2(1 - sin 121') for lsotroplcally
consolidated tests. However, if substantial pore pressures are de-
veloped during shear (Af > l/4 to 1/3), the usual
approach gives too high shear strengths. This may result ln excesslve
computed safety factors, especially for embankments on soft
foundations.
The effect of using the conventional effective stress approach is
further illustrated by the effective stress path shown in Fig. 18 for
a laboratory test having Af about 0.8. Points A, B, and C
spond to possible field shear and effective comblna-
tions, while point D gives the shear strength lf undralned shear
30
"'

0:
....
"'
0:

I
en
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
'
NORMAL STRESS CYt
11
EFFECTIVE STRESS
11
ANALYSIS
SAFETY FACTOR, SAFETY FACTOR,
C', 'STRENGTHS CU STRENGTHS
A
B
c
D
3.37
1.89
1.40
1.00
EFFECTIVE STRESS PATH
2.02
1.31
1.13
1.00
FIG. 18.--EFFECT OF STRENGTH ASSUMPTIONS ON
SAFETY FACTOR
were to develop. The safety factors for conventional effec-
tJ.ve__,nd_iotal stress approaches summarized on this figure indicate
that the conventional effective stress approach gives much too high
safety factors _
. data presented suggests that the usual effective stress anal-
ysJ.s J.s conservative for well-compacted embankments, but this probably
depends on embankment height. T_hese data also suggest that the
usual effectJ.ve stress approach is unconservative, i.e. computed
safety factors are_too high, for embankments constructed of wet clay
or on soft foundatJ.ons. This shortcoming of effective stress analyses
for nonfailure conditions can be overcome by explicitly including pore
pressure developed during shear.
may be argued that the difference between total and usual
effectJ.ve stress approaches results from a difference in the defini-
tion of"the safety However, both approaches define the safety
factor :.as the of the available shear strength of the soil to
that requJ.red to maJ.ntain equilibrium," Bishop (6,8). It appears,
therefore, that total and usual effective stress analyses for nonfail-
ure conditions have different concepts of available shear strength.
appears that many effective stress analyses do not relate suf-
fJ.cJ.ently closely to soil behavior during undrained shear.
SPECIAL PROBLEMS
Creep Movement
Slope indicator measurements show that substantial lateral move-
ments in embankments and foundations occur more frequently than had
been expected. This is especially the case where consolidation occurs
slowly, as where clay foundations are thick without intermediate
drainage layers. As previously mentioned, such conditions caused tfie
Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, to construct various test
sections (24,27) to determine reasons for adverse field behavior.
Slope indicator observations indicated lateral movements of as much as
3 ft, resulting in substantial vertical subsidence of levee crown.
These lateral movements occurred with only a small amount of

EMBANKMENTS 31
consolidation, indicating that
the problem of lateral defor-
mations was important and
long-continuing.
An empirical relationship
between safety factors and
lateral deformations of the
test sections is illustrated
in Fig. 19 relating lateral
movements from slope indica-
tors and design safety factors
computed by a sliding wedge
analysis by the New Orleans
District for the initial or
as-constructed condition. As
a result of the type of in-
formation shown in Fig. 19,
the safety factor for new
levees constructed on thick,
soft clay foundations was in-
creased to 1.4 and more re-
cently to 1. 5.
40
SIDE
:i MAl?
1
.:
30 2
X l!, LANDSIDE
z
' "'
][, FLOODWAY SIDE X\
::1
w
>
20 0
::1
.J In,LANDSIDE X
<
0:
"' .... 10
<
NOTE' LATERAL MOVEMENTS
.J
MEASURED AT El-20, 55' FROM
'f.

1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 I. 4 1.5
FACTOR OF SAFETY
FIG. 19.--LATERAL MOVEMENTS VERSUS
SAFETY FACTOR, WEST ATCHAFALAYA
BASIN PROTECTION LEVEES, TEST SEC-
TIONS II AND III (NEW ORLEANS DIS-
TRICT, CE)
Because of the large. creep deformations observed in the test sec-
tions, the New Orleans District sponsored extensive research, being
done under Ladd at MIT, to determine if creep can be predicted. This
work (18,21,27), and additional creep studies performed by Palmer-
ton (36) at the WES using finite element analyses, are still in the re-
search stage. Nevertheless, experimental techniques and finite ele-
ment and other computational procedures being developed now permit
creep deformations under undrained shear loadings to at least be esti-
mated. The results are promJ.sJ.ng, but empirical observations such as
illustrated in Fig. 19 may be more reliable for some time.
While only postconstruction creep deformations have been dis-
cussed, excessive deformations may occur during construction even
though conventional safety factors may be adequate. Nevertheless,
postconstruction creep deformations may be more important.
Clay Shale Foundations
Clay shale foundations have been especially troublesome and con-
ventional testing and analyses may have little value. Large-diameter
test shafts are about the best means for interpreting subsurface con-
ditions. While preconsolidated clays develop low pore pressures for
loadings less than their preconsolidation stress, this is not true for
clay shales. Some, but not all, clay shales develop high pore pres-
sures on loading and consolidate extremely slowly. The high pore
pressures combined with preexisting weakened surfaces have caused many
construction difficulties.
Some engineers are convinced that horizontal and other drains are
effective, but drainage may be difficult to achieve since abnormally
32
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
high pore pressure gradients near drainage faces are often found,
making it difficult to relieve pore pressures at moderate distances
from drainage faces.
While testing and analyses have their place, final design may
have to be based on empirical observations of similar materials.
Clay Shale Embankments
. Shale has been used successfully in embankments, but an increas-
lng number of such embankments are giving serious problems. The
Federal Highway Administration is studying problems with shale embank-
ments and has much unpublished data available. Until the results of
this study are complete, shale should be used with caution and it
seems advisable to place and compact clay shale as soil and not as un-
compacted rock fill.
Dispersive Clays
Some clays erode, disperse, or deflocculate in a remarkable and
unexpected manner. This behavioral characteristic was discussed by
Sherard, et al., at the 1972 ASCE specialty conference held at Purdue
University (45,46) and by others (47). While this behavior is still
being studied, principally by the Soil Conservation Service and more
recently by the Corps of Engineers, it appears of sufficient impor-
tance to use the simple criteria and soil test developed by the Soil
Conservation Service and Sherard. It is not yet clear how widespread
or serious dispersive clay problems are, nor if they can be modified
by placing on the wet side or through use of admixtures. Mitchell and
Woodward (33) investigated the possibility that dispersive clays were
involved in California landslides but only 5 of 16 slides were pos-
sibly of this category.
Embankments on Soft Foundations
The construction of embankments on soft foundations (10) presents
a of special problems including (a) stability, (b) strength
galn durlng construction, (c) benefits of incremental construction
with a consolidation phase between increments, (d) possible use of low
safety factors (e) creep deformations and crrep
rupture, (f) two-dlmenslonal consolldation effects, and (g) means for
treating or replacing soft foundations. The Highway Research Board is
concerned with embankments on soft foundations and will soon a
report on this subject.
The importance of embankments on soft foundations was evidenced
at the Austin ASCE Specialty Conference, June 1974, by the workshop
sessions and by the papers on (a) "Finite Difference Analyses for Sand
Drain Problems," by Olson et al. ( 35); (b) "Precompression Analysis
for Highway Embankments," by Krizak and Krugmann (25); and (c) "Design
of Embankments on Peat," by Raymond (42).
EMBANKMENTS 33
FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSES
The rapid development of the finite element method (15,17,21,22,
26,37) is making it possible to estimate stresses and deformations in
embankments and their foundations using nonlinear stress-strain prop-
erties and variable Poisson's ratios to account for soil volume
changes. While finite element analyses are expensive and somewhat
time consuming for most purposes, the acceptance of seismic design
procedures, incorporating as an initial step a static finite element
analyses of an embankment and foundation, makes it practicable to uti-
lize finite element analyses for both dynamic and static design for
many projects. However, the technique has probably advanced beyond
our knowledge of soil behavior.
Finite element analyses can be used to compute distributions of
shear stresses, major and minor principal stresses, ratios of princi-
pal stresses, and deformations. This makes it possible to determine
if limiting equilibrium analyses are reasonable, and this approach has
been used to evaluate limiting equilibrium methods by Wright,- Kulhawy,
and Duncan (64). While finite element analyses are probably not
needed or justified for most embankment design problems, their utility
is great and they probably should be performed for the final section
of major embankments such as high or critical dams. The cost of per-
forming static finite element analyses is not large if adequate com-
puters and experienced personnel are available.
APPRAISAL OF CURRENT TECHNIQUES
Because of the numerous factors that affect final evaluation of
the stability of an embankment and its foundation, embankment analysis
" and design must be regarded as partially an empirical process. The
empiricism involved can be reduced, or at least better understood, by
studying the influence of individual factors involved. Duncan and
Buchignani (16) did this in connection with an investigation of a
slope failure and more efforts of this type are needed. Their evalua-
tion for soft San Francisco Bay mud, summarized in Table 14, is that
usual laboratory tests indicate shear strengths 20 to 30 percent
higher than in situ values, although laboratory strengths determined
in the usual manner were only 15 percent higher than strengths back-
figured from failure conditions. Progressive failure was not con-
sidered significant for these soils.
Evaluations of the type shown in Table 14 can be extended to
cover additional factors for embankment design. Admittedly, such ef-
forts are extremely subjective and hardly defensible; nevertheless,
they appear worthwhile if only to focus attention on factors involved;
see Table 15. An effort of this type suggests the following: For
well-compacted embankments on good foundations, safety factors from
conventional total stress analyses may be about 5 percent low to
15 percent too large; if Taylor's method of plotting R test data is
used, safety factors may be 10 to 30 percent too high. Effective
34
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
TABLE 14.--FACTORS AFFECTING STABILITY ANALYSES
(After Duncan and Buchignani, Reference 16)
Effect is to:
Factor
(l)
Sample disturbance
Used rough caps and bases in
triaxial compression tests,
too much end restraint
Used vertically oriented test
specimens, neglecting an-
isotropic material behavior
and lower shear strengths
for other failure plane
orientations
Used triaxial instead of
plane strain equipment
Laboratory triaxial tests
performed too fast (usual
practice)
Underestimate
In Situ Strength
Percent
(2)
10-20
5
Summation
15-25
Net effect

In Situ Strength
Percent
(3)
5
10
30
45
20-3.Q
(Lab strength
too high)
stress analyses for compacted embankments may give factors that
are about 5 percent low for Af less than l/4 to l/3 and 50 percent
high for Af more than these values. The latter might occur only for
very high embankments and would probably be unusual. When the
approach was tried for clay embankments for soft foundations, the
safety factor from total stress analyses was 20 percent too high to
20 percent too low while the safety factor from effective stress anal-
yses was up to 40 percent too high. The total stress approach seems
preferable for this case.
Evaluations of this type have little meaning unless they are done
for a specific site and conditions, but even then required data are
not usually available to permit reliable conclusions. Nevertheless,
such efforts have value if their primary purpose is to suggest that
I
I
f
EMBANKMENTS 35
TABLE 15 .--FACTORS INFLUENCING DESIGN SHEAR
Factor
(1)
Sample disturbance of foun-
dation materials
Effect of fissures in clays,
especially highly overcon-
solidated clays and clay
shales--effects not reflec-
ted in tests on small
samples
Rough caps and bases in lab-
oratory tests
Triaxial compression instead
of compression, simple
shear, and extension tests
Triaxial instead of plane
strain tests
Back-pressure saturation
Conventional plotting of
R or CU test data, as
total stress envelopes
Isotropic, instead of
anisotropic, consolida-
tion in R or CU triaxial
compression tests
(a) Af > 1/4 to 1/3
(b) Af < 1/4 to 1/3
Anisotropic material
behavior--use of verti-
cal instead of inclined
test specimens
Conventional rates of shear
in laboratory testing
Progressive failure
Conventional effective
Stress design shear
strengths
(a) Af < 1/4 to
1/3 ; i.e. embanlunent
(b) Af > 1/4 to
1/3 ; i.e. soft
foundations
Influence, percenta
(2)
-(5-20)b
+(25-1000)
+5
+(20-30)
-(5-8)
Depends on embankment
height (significant)
-(l5-20)
-(0-30)
+(0-20)
+(10-40)
+(5-200)
+(0-20)
-(0-30)
+(0-50)
Effect: + = unconservati ve; causes too high strength; -
strength.
b For relatively good undisturbed samples.
Remarks
(3)
Remolding may increase strength
of slickensided specimens.
Disturbance is greatest for
deep borings and soft soils
Generally a factor only for
highly overconsolidated
soils
Especially important for
foundation soils
May cause grossly excessive
strengths in R tests at low
confining stresses; conser-
vative at high confining
stresses
Does not apply for Taylor
plotting
Values shown assume test enve-
lopes for isotropic consoli-
dation interpreted as 'f
versus Ore ; i.e. as used by
designers in stability
analyses
Effect depends on rate of test-
ing, soil type, rate of con-
solidation in field, etc.
Depends--on soil; mainly a fac-
tor for foundation soils
May be more serious than
shown for some soils
Values shown are for non-
failure or design conditions
only; not for failure
conditions
conservative; causes too low
36
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
usual safety factors are working and not reserve elements of embank-
ment design. Such efforts suggest that the common experience that
2resent embankment design procedures are satisfactory for safety fac-
tors around l. 5 is quite reasonable. __ However ...
are used_, ___ .<l<O_qll!i.i;_S.j;ability and deforll)g_j;_:h_
0
_rl,'Lcann_oj; __bg ____ _
taken for granted and the effect of individual factors should be
ev-;;:Iliated-:- -------- ---
It is perhaps remarkable that usual embankment design procedures
succeed as well as they do. For an embankment on a soft foundation,
for example, the practical design procedures of the New Orleans Dis-
trict of the Corps of Engineers were about as satisfactory as highly
sophisticated state-of-the-art procedures, as illustrated in Table 10.
This statement refers to total stress analyses only. The usual type
of effective stress analysis was disappointing. This is probably be-
cause usual effective stress analyses represent an extension of effec-
tive stress principles to nonfailure conditions without considerin&
ore pressures associated with undrained shear. This shortcoming does
not apply a to failure conditions, b where pore pressures used in
effective stress analyses are estimated for failure conditions, or
(c) where effective stress analyses are used with consolidated-
undrained strength parameters, as suggested by Gould (14).
Since we must regard design procedures as partially empirical, it
may be well to recall past design practices and changes that have
gradually been made in them. This is especially important in evaluat-
ing proposed changes in embankment design practice. Design experience
seems to be about as follows. Between about 1940 and 1960 or 1965,
total stress embankment design used (a) the ordinary method of slices,
(b) consolidated-undrained strength envelopes with seepage saturation,
and (c) the full CU orR test envelope. Effective stress analyses
(where used) neglected pore pressures resulting from undrained shear
to failure. Changes have been and are being made in some or all of
these aspects (see Table 16) making it somewhat difficult to relate
current design practices with experiences gained during the period
1940 to 1965 or 1970. It is quite apparent that some of the changes
are unconservative while other changes, back-pressure saturation for
tests at high confining stresses and S-R combined envelopes, are con-
servative. On balance, total streqs design changes probably-are-con-
servative and have reduced computed safety factors while effective
stress design changes are unconservative and are increasing apparent,
but not actual, safety factors.
While we sometimes sanctify our procedures by relating them to
previous experience, this table shows that we are gradually
the base of our experience. Changes made, and changes to be made,
strongly suggest that we need to evaluate as part of design, the role
of individual factors affecting embankment analysis and design. Theo-
retical studies have progressed enormously rapidly and have left our
understanding of soil shear strength and deformation behavior far be-
hind. It seems timely to urge that we devote more effort to experi-
mental investigations of soil behavior, considering creep, anisotropy,
rate of strain, and other factors.
EMBANKMENTS 37
TABLE 16.--EMBANKMENT DESIGN CHANGES
Factor
Approximate
Date of Changes
(l)
Stability analysis method:
(a) Ordinary method of slices
(b) Improved methods giving higher safety factors
Laboratory testing:
(a) Seepage saturation of consolidated-undrained
tests
(b) Back-pressure saturation
Design shear strengths:
(a) CU or R test envelopes for drawdown analyses
(b) Combined S-R envelopes for drawdown analyses
SUMMARY AND CONDLUSIONS
General
(2)
To 1960-1968
After 1960-1968
To 1960-1965
After 1965
To 1968
After 1968
Analysis and design procedures relating to embankments need
em hasize improved understanding of the effect of variables whose ln-
fl;ence is compensated by safety factors. The use of .
bility analyses made possible by computers does not constltutedJUStl-
fication for considering the results to_be
their use constitute a reason_for lowerlng sa strengths.
sis is not nearly as lmportant as selec lon o
of compensate for the influence of relevant factors that
explicitly considered in normal design procedures. Safety
are have alwa s been and currently are, working elements of em-
design constitute more than a reserve of unused strength.
Conventional Stability Analyses
Conventional or limiting equilibrium types
te and even the most advanced lS relatlvely cru e,
are all approxlma , f t t equi-
k rkably well. These procedures satls Y sa lC.
yet they wor rema . l"f assumptlons
librium requirements to varying Slmp Ylng
but none satisfy stress-strain compatlblllty requlrements.
l h
P
robably been developed Conventional stability ana yses ave
f needed. Even the most about as far as practicable, or as ar as
38
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
advanced are not normally carried sufficiently far to satisfy all
static equilibrium requirements, but the consequences are negligible.
The ordinary method of slices satisfies moment equilibrium and
assumes that the resultant of forces on the sides of a slice are par-
allel to the base. It gives about the same result as the most ad-
vanced techniques for 0 = 0 or 0 small. Hence, for these cases
the ordlnary method of slices is appropriate and does not compensate
for aspects not explicitly considered, such as creep and other fac-
tors .. For 0 large, t?e method of slices is not logical,
especlally for steeply lnCllned portions of the failure surface. For
c '. 0 materials with 0 substantial, there is no reason to use the
ordlnary method of slices for final design. It can be used for com-
parative purposes and should be used when relating.current techniques
to design procedures previously in use.
F?r c , 0 materials and circular failure surfaces the Simpli-
fied Blshop procedure is attractive because it gives about the same
results as more complex procedures and is simple to use in manual com-
putations. It is only slightly more time consuming than the ordinary
of slices. Taylor's force equilibrium procedure does not sat-
lsfy moment but generally checks closely more complete
methods that satlsfy both moment and force equilibrium requirements.
The inclination of interslice forces can be assumed too large for some
conditions, giving somewhat high safety factors; hence, this method
should be used with caution.
_T?e availability of computers means that virtually any
stablllty analysls technique desired is practicable, even Morgenstern
and Price, which is widely considered to be the most advanced. How-
ever, Simplified Bishop and Spencer's methods seem the simplest, but
of common methods can be used in accordance with the subjec-
tlve deslres of the designer and the availability of appropriate com-
puter programs. Fortunately, computer programs for all methods have
been developed. Also, computer running times are small for all
programs.
Sliding wedge analyses probably should be used more widely than
presently done. Simple wedge analyses or more advanced programs such
as the Morgenstern-Price, Janbu, Spencer, Taylor, Sarma, etc., can be
used.
Credibility of Computer Solutions
The use of computers requires understanding and agree-
ment about thelr potential credibility. The user of a program,
its developer, is responsible for establishing the credibility of com-
puter solutions. The user should assume that a computer program
(a) written by a competent programmer, (b) carefully checked out on
check problems whose answers are known, and (c) used successfully

a
variety of problems may still give an unreliable answer. Reasons for
this are the difficulty of completely "debugging" large programs and
changes in subroutines that are made periodically in the computer
itself.
EMBANKMENTS
The credibility of computer output can be established by:
a.
b.
Careful examination of results to determine if they look
reasonable.
Using two or more entirely independent computer programs,
i.e. force equilibrium, Simplified Bishop, Spencer,
Morgenstern-Price, etc.
39
c. Making a hand solution of the critical circle. This requires
use of the Simplified Bishop, Taylor's force equilibrium, or
other procedures. This should be required for dams.
d. Using charts and approximate solutions.
Pore Pressures and Shear Strengths
Selection of appropriate design shear strengths is more variable
and is more important than differences in currently used techniques
for making stability analyses.
Triaxial compression tests are commonly used for determining the
design shear strength along the entire failure surface. Shear condi-
tions along different segments of the failure surface normally corre-
spond to compression, simple shear, and extension tests. The use of
triaxial compression tests to represent average shear strengths along
the failure surface may result in design strengths that may be as much
as 20-30 percent too large.
This effect is partially offset because plane strain better ap-
plies to most field conditions than does triaxial compression. In
this aspect, triaxial compression is conservative by perhaps 5 percent.
Back pressure saturation can result in too high shear strengths
at low normal stresses in R or CU tests. For some materials, i.e.
"--.those that dilate during shear, the results can be grossly in error.
This is avoided if S-R or CD-CU combined test envelopes, or effective
stress analyses, are used.
Conventional plotting of R or CU test data is inconsistent with
the way designers use test envelopes. The effect is that design
strengths are 15-20 percent too low. This inconsistency is avoided by
plotting test data as suggested by Taylor, also by Lowe.
Isotropic consolidation stresses are normally used in R or
consolidated-undrained triaxial compression tests, even though field
conditions correspond to anisotropic consolidation stresses. Taylor's
method can be used to evaluate approximately this effect, or computa-
tions for anisotropic strengths can be made using Skempton's A and
B parameters at failure (49).
For embankments, and occasionally for foundations, designers use
laboratory test envelopes as a relationship between shear strength and
effective normal consolidation stress on the failure surface. If
40
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
Skempton's Af value for saturated soils is larger than
l/2(1 -.sin 0') , isotropic consolidation gives lower shear strengths
than anlsotropic consolidation for the same normal consolidation
stress. However, if Af is smaller than l/2(1- sin 0') , isotropic
consolidation gives too high shear strengths and is unconservative.
This dividing value for Af is l/4 for 0' = 30 and l/3 for
0' = 20 .
If laboratory test data are regarded as a relationship between
shear strength and effective major principal consolidation stress as
done in SHANSEP (27) and c/p concepts, shear strengths for isot;opic
and anisotropic consolidation are the same if Af = 1.0 . However,
for smaller values of Af , isotropic consolidation gives too high
shear strengths if the soils in situ are anisotropically consolidated.
This was pointed out by Skempton and Bishop in 1954 (50).
Anisotropic material behavior may cause the shear strength of in-
clined specimens to be 10 to 40 percent less than for conventional
vertically oriented specimens.
The rate of shear or strain in conventional
far too rapid to correspond to field conditions.
strengths to be 5 to 200 percent too high.
Application of Stability Analyses
laboratory testing is
This may cause shear
Conventional analyses have limited or no value for designing em-
bankments on clay shale and similar foundations containing fissures
slickensides, faults, and other geologic defects unless these featU:es
are explicitly considered.
End-of-construction stability using total stress methods normally
rely on a shear strength at low normal stresses that is associated
with pore water tension. This is generally satisfactory but may not
always be conservative.
Sudden-drawdown stability using total stress methods should use
S-R or CD-CU test envelopes to avoid reliance on pore water tension.
A possible alternative is to use seepage saturation (4 days or longer)
without back pressure for tests at low normal stresses.
Effective Stress Analyses
\
Effective stress analyses for nonfailure (desi n) as
normally made assume a vertical effective stress path correspo ding to
a value for Af of l/2(1 - sin 0') . Actual stress paths may yield
higher or lower shear strengths.
If Af is less than l/2(1 - sin 0') , effective stress analyses
as normally made are conservative; if Af is more than this value,
such analyses are unconservative and give excessive safety factors.
Alternatively, if Af is less than l/4(0' = 30) or l/3(0' = 20) ,
effective stress analyses are conservative, but if Af
ls more than l/4 or l/3 they are unconservative.
EMBANKMENTS 41
Approximately, effective stress analyses are conservative or sat-
isfactory for well-compacted embankments but not for soft foundations.
and possibly not for high or wet embankments, for which Af may be
larger than l/4 to l/3.
Effective stress analyses for failure conditions are satisfactory
and beneficial.
Safety Factors
In conventional embankment design the safety factor must compen-
sate for many factors not explicitly considered. Consequently, safety
factors are working elements of the design process and do not consti-
tute a reserve of unused strength.
While adequate stability can often be achieved at low safety fac-
tors, excessive deformations may occur for safety factors less than
about 1.5. This depends upon the rate of foundation consolidation.
If analyses yield high safety factors, such as 2, 3, or more,
Peck's 1960 safety factor chart should be reviewed (40). It may sug-
gest that field conditions may be more complex than assumed and that
unsuspected geologic weaknesses may be present.
Evaluation of Current
Embankment Analysis and Design
Presently used embankment analysis and design procedures work re-
markably well when safety factors of about 1.5 or more are used. When
safety factors are less, the influence of relevant factors that are
commonly ignored should be considered, not only as they affect sta-
bility but also as they influence deformations.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
It is a pleasure to acknowledge the many benefits of stimulating
discussions with Reginald A. Barron, George E. Bertram and John
Lowe III. Special appreciation is owed Mr. Bertram for reviewing the
paper and making many constructive comments. The same appreciation is
due the writer's colleagues at the U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Ex-
periment Station, CE, especially Messers. Don Banks, Walter Sherman,
and Willian Strohm.
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
APPENDIX I.--REFERENCES
l.
Al-H:'ssaini, M. M. and Townsend, F. C., "Investigation of' Tensile
TestJ.ng of' Compacted Soils," Miscellaneous Paper S-74-10
Jun 1974, U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment CE
Vicksburg, Miss. ' '
2.
M. M. To;;nsend, F. C., "Tensile Testing of'
SoJ.ls, A VJ.ew, Miscellaneous Paper S-73-24, May 1973,
U. S. Army EngJ.neer Waterways Experiment Station, CE, Vicksburg,
Miss.
3.
4.
5.
Barron, R. A., Discussion of' paper by Bishop and Morgenstern
"Stability for Earth Slopes," (Geotechnique 10:4:
129-150), GeotechnJ.que, Vol XIV, No. 4, Dec 1964, pp 360-261.
Bazett, D. G., Discussion, Proceedings of Conference on Pore
Pressure and Suction in Soils, Butterworths, 1961, pp 134-135.
Bishop, A. W., "Some Factors Controlling the Pore Pressures Set
Up the Construction of Earth Dams," Proceedings, Fourth
InternatJ.onal Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engi-
neering, Vol II, London, 1957, pp
Bishop, A. W., "The Stability of' Earth Dams " Ph. D. thesis sub-
mitted to the Imperial College, University London, May 1952.
Bishop, A. W., "The Use of Pore-Pressure Coefficients in Prac-
tice," Geotechnigue, Vol IV, No. 4, Dec 1954, pp 143-147.
Bishop, A. W., "The Use of the Slip Circle in the Stability
Analysis of' Slopes," Geotechnigue, Vol V, No. l, Mar 1955,
PP 7-17.
Bishop, A. W. and Bjerrum, L., "The Relevance of the Triaxial
Test to the Solution of Stability Problems," Proceedings of ASCE
Research Conference on Shear Strength of Cohesive Soils, Boulder,
Colo., Jun 1960, pp 437-501,
Bjerrum, L., "Embankments on
ence on Performance of' Earth
ASCE, Vol II, 1972, pp l-54.
Soft Ground, " Proceedings, Confer-
and Earth-Supported Structures,
Casagrande, A. and Covarrubias, S. W., "Cracking of Earth and
Rockf'ill Dams: Tension Zones in Embankments Caused by Conduits
and_Cutoff Walls," Contract Report S-70-7, Jul 1970, U. s. Army
EngJ.neer Waterways Experiment Station, CE, Vicksburg, Miss.
Clough, G. W. and Snyder, J. W., "Embankment Pore Pressures
During Technical Report No. 3-772, May 1966, U. s.
Army EngJ.neer Waterways Experiment Station, CE, Vicksburg, Miss.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
EMBANKMENTS 43
Covarrubias, S. W. , "Cracking of' Earth and Rockf'ill Dams: A
Theoretical Investigation by Means of the Finite Element Method,"
Contract Report S-69-5, Apr 1969, U. S. Army Engineer Waterways
Experiment Station, CE, Vicksburg, Miss.
Department of the Navy, Bureau of Yards and Docks, "Soil Me-
chanics, Foundations and Earth Structures," NAVDOCK Design Manual
DM-7, 1961.
Duncan, J. M., "Finite Element Analyses of' Stresses and Movements
in Dams Excavations and Slopes, State-of-the-Art," Applications
of the Finite Element Method in Geotechnical Engineering, Pro-
ceedings of a Symposium held by the U. S. Army Engineer Waterways
Experiment Station, 1-4 May 1972, C. S. Desai, ed., Sep 1972,
pp 267-326.
Duncan, J. M. and Buchignani, A. L., "Failure of Underwater Slope
in San Francisco Bay," Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation
Division, ASCE, Vol 99, No, SM9, Sep 1973, pp 687-703.
Duncan, J. M. and Chang, Chin-Yung, "Nonlinear Analysis of' Stress
and Strain in Soils," Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation
Division, ASCE, Vol 97, No. SMll, Nov 1971, pp 1597-1615.
L., Ladd, C. C., and Christiani, J. T., "Undrained Creep
of' Atchafalaya Levee Foundation Clays, Vols I and II, Research
Report No. R73-16, Soil Pub. 319, Feb 1973, to U. S. Army Corps
of Engineers.
Eisenstein, z., Krishnayya, A. V. G., and Morgenstern, N. R., "An
Analysis of Cracking in Earth Dams," Applications of the Finite
Element Method in Geotechnical Engineering, Proceedings of a
Symposium held by the U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment
Station, l-4 May 1972, C. ed., Sep 1972, pp 431-455.
Fields, K. E. and Wells, W. L. , "Pendleton Levee Failure," Trans-
actions, ASCE, Vol 109, 1944, pp 1400-1413.
Foott, R. and Ladd, C. C., "The Behavior of' Atchafalaya Test Em-
bankments During Construction," Research Report R73-27, Soils
Pub. 322, May 1973, to U. S. Army Corps of' Engineers.
Hoeg, K., "Finite Element Analysis of Strain-Softening Clay,"
Journal of' Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division, ASCE, Vol 98,
No. SMl, Jan 1972, pp 43-58.
Janbu, N. , "Slope Stability Computations," Embankment-Dam Engi-
neering, Casagrande Volume, Wiley, 1972, PP 47-86.
Kaufman, R. I. and Weaver, F. J., "Stability of Atchafalaya
Levees " Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division,
ASCE, Vol 93, No. SM4, Jul 1967, pp 157-176.
44
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
25.
JC;izak, R. J. and P. K., "Precompression Analysis for
HJ.ghwa;: : Proceedings, Specialty Conference on
AnalysJ.s and DesJ.gn J.n Geotechnical Engineering ASCE A t
Tex, 9-12 Jun 1974. ' , us J.n,
26.
F. H;, and Duncan, J. M., "Stresses and Movements in
OrovJ.lle Dam, Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division
27.
28.
29.
30.
3l.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
ASCE, Vol 98, No. SM7, Jul 1972, pp 653-666. '
Ladd, C. C. et al., "Engineering Properties of Soft Foundation
Clays Two South Louisiana Levee Sites," Research Report R72-
26, SoJ.ls Pub. 304, Dec 1972, to U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Lee? K. L. and Morrison, R. A., "Strength of Anisotropical 'y Con-
?ompacted Clay," Journal of Soil Mechanics and
tJ.on DJ.VJ.sJ.on, ASCE, Vol 96, No. SM6, Nov 1970, pp 2025-20h3.
Lowe, John, III, "Stability Analysis of Embankments " Journal of
Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division, ASCE, Vol 93 No. SM4,
Jul 1967, pp l-34. '
Lowe, John, III, and Johnson, T. C., "Use of Back Pressure to
Degree of Saturation of Triaxial Test Specimens," Pro-
ce:dJ.ngs, Research Conference on Shear Strength of
SoJ.ls, ASCE, Boulder, Colo., Jun 1960, pp 819-836.
In-
Low:, J?hn, III, and Karafiath, L., "Effect of Anisotropic Con-
solJ.datJ.on on the Undrained Shear Strength of Compacted Claj's "
Pr?ceedings, Research Conference on Shear Strength of
SoJ.ls, ASCE, Boulder, Colo., Jun 1960, pp 837-858.
Middleb:;ooks, T. A., Discussion of "Pendleton Levee Failure" by
K. E. FJ.elds and W. L. Wells, Transactions, ASCE Vol 109 1944
PP 1421-1424. ' ' ,
Mitchell, J. K. and Woodward, R. J. "Clay Chemist and Slo-.:-e
Stb"l"t "J ' ry "
a J. J. y, ournal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division,
ASCE, Vol 99, No. SMlO, Oct 1973, pp 905-911.
Morgenstern, N. R .. and Price, V. E., "The Analysis of the Sta-
bility of General Slip Surfaces," Geotechnique, v l 15 N -
Mar 1965, pp 77-93. -
0
'
0
.L,
Olson, R. E., Daniel, D. E., and Liu, T. K., "Finite Differenc\
Analyses for Sand.Drain Proceedings, Specialty Con-
ference on AnalysJ.s and DesJ.gn in Geotechnical Engineering
Austin, Tex., 9-12 Jun 1974. '
B:, "Creep Analysis of Atchafalaya Levee Founda-
A?plJ.catJ.ons of the Finite Element Method in Geotechnical
Proceedings of a Symposium held by the u. s. Army
EngJ.neer Waterways Experiment Station, l-4 May 1972, c. s. Desai
ed., Sep 1972, pp 843-862. '
37.
38.
39.
4o.
4l.
42.
43.
44.
46.
EMBANKMENTS 45
Palmerton, J. B. and Lefebvre, G., "Three-Dimensional Behavior of
a Central Core Dam," Research Report S-72-l, Dec 1972, U. S. Army
Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, CE, Vicksburg, Miss.
Parry, R. H. G., Lecture at U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experi-
ment Station, CE, Vicksburg, Miss., 15 Mar 1974.
Paton, J. and Semple, N. G., "Investigation of the Stability of .
an Earth Dam Subject to Rapid Drawdown Including Details of Pore
Pressures Recorded During a Controlled Drawdown Test," Confer-
ence on Pore Pressure and Suction in Soils, Butterworths, 1961,
pp 85-90.
Peck, R. B. and Lowe, John, III, "Moderators' Report, Session 4-
Shear Strength of Undisturbed Cohesive Soils," Proceedings, Con-
ference on Shear Strength of Cohesive Soils, ASCE, Boulder,
Colo., 1960, pp ll37-ll40.
Pope, R. J. , "Evaluation of Cougar Dam Embankment Performance,"
Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division, ASCE, Vol 93,
No. SM4, Jul 1967, pp 231-250.
Raymond, G. P., "Design of Embankments on Peat," Proceedings,
Specialty Conference on Analysis and Design in Geotechnical Engi-
neering, ASCE, Austin, Tex., 9-12 Jun 1974.
Sarma, S. K., "Stability Analysis of Embankments and Slopes,"
Geotechnique, Vol XXIII, No. 3, Sep 1973, pp 423-433.
Seed, H. B. and Sultan, H. A., "Stability Analyses for a Sloping
Core Embankment," Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Divi-
sion, ASCE, Vol 93, No. SM4, Jul 1967, pp 69-84.
Sherard, J. L., Decker, R. S., and Ryker, N. L., "Hydraulic Frac-
turing in Low Dams of Dispersive Clay," Vol l, Part l, '!;roceed-
ings, Specialty Conference on Performance of Earth and Earth-
Supported Structures, Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division,
ASCE, Purdue University, Jun 1972, pp 653-689.
Sherard, J. L. , Decker, R. S. , and Ryker, N. L. , "Piping in Earth
Dams of Dispersive Clays," Vol l, Part l, Proceedings, Specialty
Conference on Performance of Earth and Earth-Supported Struc-
tures, Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division, ASCE, Purdue Uni-
versity, Jun 1972, pp 589-626.
Sherard, J. L. et al., Discussions of References 45 and 46,
Vol III, Proceedings, Specialty Conference on Performance of
Earth and Earth-Supported Structures, Soil Mechanics and Foun-
dation Division, ASCE, Purdue University, Jun 1972:
a. Edward D. Graf and Harpal S. Arvra, p 105.
b. Aldo R. Reginatto, p 107.
c. 0. G. Ingles, pp lll, 119.
d. Gordon R. Bell, p 127.
46 GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
e. R. A. Rallings, p 131.
f. Aurelio B. Vizcaino and Vicente C. Lattuade, p 135.
g. Authors' Closure, p 143.
48. Sherman, W. C. and Clough, G. W., "Embankment Pore Pressures
During Construction," Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation
Division, ASCE, Vol 94, No. SM2, Mar 1968 (see closing discus-
sion, Vol 95, No. SM6, Nov 1969, pp 1546-47).
49. Skempton, A. W., "The Pore-Pressure Coefficients A and B,"
Geotechnique, Vol IV, No. 4, Dec 1954, pp 143-147.
50. Skempton, A. W. and Bishop, A. W., "Soils," Chapter X, Building
Materials, Their Elasticity and Inelasticity, Edited by
M. Reiner, North-Holland Publishing Co., Amsterdam, 1954.
51. Skempton, A. W. and Hutchinson, J. N. J., "Stability of Natc.ral
Slopes and Embankment Foundations," Seventh International Confer-
ence on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, Mexico City,
1969, State-of-the-Art Volume, pp 291-340.
52. Spencer, E., "A Method of Analysis of the Stability of Embank-
ments Assuming Parallel Inter-Slice Forces," Geotechnique,
Vol 17, No. 1, Mar 1967, pp 11-26.
53. Sultan, H. A. and Seed, H. B., "Stability of Sloping Core Earth
Dams," Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division, ASCE,
Vol 93, No. SM4, Jul 1967, pp 45-68.
54. Taylor, D. W., Fundamentals of Soil Mechanics, Wiley, 1948.
55. Taylor, D. W., Paper presented at ASCE Convention, New York,
Jan 1949.
56. Terzaghi, K., Discussion of "Pendleton Levee Failure" by K. E.
Fields and W. L. Wells, Transactions, ASCE, Vol 109, 1944,
pp 1416-1421.
57. Terzaghi, K., Theoretical Soil Mechanics, Wiley, 1943.
58. Turnbull, w. J. and Hvorslev, M. J., "Special Problems in Slope
Stability," Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation i v i s i o n ~
ASCE, Vol 93, No. SM4, Jul 1967, pp 499-528.
,/59. U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, "Procedures for Foundation De-
sign of Buildings and Other Structures (Except Hydraulic Strc.c-
tures)," Engineering Manual EM 1110-345-147, 15 Aug 1961, U. S.
Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., p 59.
60. U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, "Stability of Earth and Rockfill
Dams," Engineering Manual EM 1110-2-1902, 1 Apr 1970, U. S.
Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C.
I
I
l
'
61.
62.
63.
64.
EMBANKMENTS
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tions," Engineering Manual for Civil Works Construction,
Part CXIX, Feb 1952, Reprinted as Technical Report No. 3-777,
Apr 1967, U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, CE,
Vicksburg, Miss.
Whitman, R. V. and Bailey, W. A., "Use of Computers for Slope
Stability Analyses," Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation
Division, ASCE, Vol 93, No. SM4, Jul 1967, pp 455-498.
Wright, S. G., "A Study of Slope Stability and the Undrained
Shear Strength of Clay Shales," Ph. D. thesis, University of
California, Berkeley, 1969.
47
Wright, S. G., KulhawY, F. H., and Duncan, J. M., "Accuracy of
Equilibrium Slope Stability Analyses," Journal of Soil Mechanics
and Foundation Division, ASCE, Vol 99, No. SMlO, Oct. 1973,
PP 783-792.
APPENDIX II.--NOTATION
The following symbols are used in this paper:
S-R
AC anisotropic consolidation;
Skempton's pore pressure parameters;
c = cohesion, total stresses;
c' cohesion, effective stresses;
cu
IC
K
c
ML
p
Q
R
R
s
u
envelope
uu
consolidated-undrained test;
isotropic consolidation;
consolidation stress ratio; Kc a
1
c!a
3
c
silt, Unified Soil Classification System;
effective vertical stress;
unconsolidated undrained test;
consolidated-undrained test;
consolidated-undrained test with pore pressure mea-
surements;
l/2(a
1
- a
3
) ;
combination of S-test envelope and R envelope such
that for any normal stress the lower of the S or R
strengths is used in design;
unconsolidated undrained test;
48
(Jl
01
(J3
(J3
Tf
TAC
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
major principal total stress;
major principal effective stress;
= minor principal total stress;
minor principal effective stress;
shear stress on the failure plane at failure;
shear strength on failure plane, anisotropically
consolidated test;
shear strength on failure plane, isotropically con-
solidated test;
angle of internal friction, total stresses;
angle of internal friction, effective stresses;
angle of internal friction from consolidated-
undrained tests; and
angle of internal friction from consolidated-
undrained tests.
ANALYSIS AND DESIGN OF LIGHTLY-LOADED FOUNDATIONS
by
George F. Sowers, F., ASCE*
1 . INTRODUCTION
1.1 Foundation Engineering Overview
The narrow strip of land lying between Egypt on the south and
Syria and Lebanon on the north has been the source of two contradictory
cultural attributes for at least four milleniums: warfare and wisdom.
The first has been almost continuous; the second climaxed nearly 2000
years ago, Although foundation engineering emerged only recently in
technical literature of the region, it must have been on men's minds
as they wandered across the sandy waste lands long ago because the
following two quotations have come down to us from that past:
"A wise man bu i 1 t his house upon the rocks and the
rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew
and beat upon that house, but it did not fall
because it had been founded on the rock. The
foolish man built his house upon (loose) sand and
the rain fell and the floods came and the winds
blew and beat against that house and it fell and
great was the fall of it."
Jesus of Nazareth as related by Matthew, 7:24
"Which of you desiring to build a tower does not
first sit down and count the cost, whether he has
enough to complete it. Otherwise, when he has
laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all
who see it will begin to mock him ... "
Jesus of Nazareth as related by Luke, 14:28-30
These two quotations capsul ize foundation engineering. First, are
the technical requirements of resistance to all the forces acting on
the structure; if the foundation fai Is, all else fails with it.
Second, is the impact on the total cost; until the foundation cost has
been determined (and it may be a major part of the uncertainties
facing a bui Jder) the cost of the structure cannot be properly eval-
uated. Foundation engineering consists of reconciling these two con-
*Chairman of the Board/Consultant, Law Engineering Testing Company
Regents Professor of Civil Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
49