You are on page 1of 36









J. R. Carpenter


Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive


2011 with funding from

members and Sloan Foundation;

Indiana Department of Transportation




J. R. Carpenter



FINAL REPORT STABL5..: C-36-36L 6-14-12 Prepared as Part of an Investigation Conducted by Joint Highway Research Project Engineering Experiment Station Purdue University in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Highways Purdue University We s t La f aye 1 1 e Ind iana August 28. .. 1985 .: File No.THE SPENCER METHOD OF SLICES by J» R» Carpenter Graduate Instructor in Research Joint Highway Research Project Project No.

Miles P.A. Respectfully submitted.L. Lovell Research Engineer CWL:kr cc.L.Co Sinha JoRa Skinner Venable L» o Ao LoE„ Woods . W. W.THE SPENCER METHOD OF SLICES August 28. W." The work was performed by J. J.K.. R. The Spencer version of STABL will be designated as either STABL5 (mainframe) or PC STABL5 (micro-computer). L.FINAL REPORT STABL5. Satterly C. J.L. Carpenter under the direction of Professor C. Altschae ffl Bell Chen Dolch Eskew Fricker M. The IDOH is encouraged to test the new program against STABL4 before adopting it for routine use. Lovell. Hunter J. P. A. R.G. Director TO: Joint Highway Research Project File: C. McLaughlin R. Research Engineer Joint Highway Research Project FROM: 6-14-12 Project: C-36-36L The attached report is the final one for the JHRP project entitled "Incorporating Spencer's Method of Slices in Program STABL. Owens B. Lovell.F.F» Scholer K. Michael. W. Isenbarger J.R. The Spencer version of STABL is more rigorous than that previously available in STABL4 ..D. and accordingly requires more running time. C.M. Partridge G.D. 1985 H.T.W.

IV TABLE OF CONTENTS Page HIGHLIGHT SUMMARY v STABL5 AND PCSTABL5 1 Stability Equations STABL Method of Solution Method Line of Thrust Spencer Options in STABL 2 - Linear Approximation SUMMARY. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Summary and Conclusions Recommendations LIST OF REFERENCES References Cited 11 17 20 23 23 2A 25 25 .

Spencer's method distributes the force from a load such as a tieback between slices interslice side forces. Sharma and Lovell. only vertical satisfies Simplified Bishop method while the the in satisfies it with respect to moment and force equilibrium. the Simplified horizontal method Janbu equilibrium force satisfies and not and force equilibrium. of not easily horizontal solved and typically give conservative values for the FOS when compared the more to accurate methods of slices satisfying complete equilibrium such as the Spencer Morgenstern or Price and methods (Wright et. 1973.e. and equilibrium. al.. the interaction of the there is no need to use technique such as the Load Distribution Method to account . These only methods are vertical moment but equilibrium i. the STABL. equilibrium moment overall force In contrast. 1983). method Spencer's for handling loads since of horizontal the method slices or is especially well inclined loads such complete satisfies as suited tieback equilibrium. a through Therefore. Spencer's of slices been has method complete equilibrium of versatility the was chosen implemented since sliding mass.STABL5 AND PCSTABL5 order In increase to Spencer's method program.

inclined with the The LDM Simplified Bishop or Simplified Janbu methods which do no consider the interaction of the interslice side forces. forces Spencer leads to the inclined at (1973) a found that . for problems with horizontal or problem. addition The method Spencer's of complements the Simplified Janbu and Simplified Bishop methods existing STABL. to in Implementation of this method allows the STABL user search for critical surfaces failure potential using either the Simplified Janbu or Simplified Bishop methods and reanalyze any critical failure potential Spencer's method to obtain a surface with more accurate value of the FOS. Stability Equations Spencer (1967) developed a limiting equilibrium method of slices which satisfies complete equilibrium for failure surfaces assuming normal and shear forces. 9. Spencer's method simplified methods frequently as solution the is Spencer's simplified methods.presence of horizontal or for the was developed for use conjunction in loads. the as requires more computation it since convergence of and also loads. formation of parallel a circular constant ratio of the interslice This assumption interslice side constant angle. method more is time also often a However. on each slice. since used not is appropriate inclined than the Convergence problems have been avoided using the Linear Approximation Method of solution which will be described later.

sina AU„cos(a-e) - h - QFcos(a-e) AUaSin(a-0) + AQcos(a-5) - AW((l-k AQsin(a-6) - ) + - (1-k ATsin(a-i) sina - v = ) cosa) .cosa) ATcos(oi-i) = . As with 1. The interslice forces acting on both sides of each slice can be replaced with interslice single a force. are inclined from The interslice forces horizontal the at angle an and Z. 1969. (lb) k. . slice The interslice FOS can the for the in Spencer's method of slices are shown in Figure other limiting equilibrium methods. 1973). . statically acting QF. considered forces obtained by be The method was forces. fail to all For the load from one slice must be transmitted to the next slice through the interslice side forces. (la) . the factor of safety on each slice is assumed to be the same such that all slices of the sliding the slices of mass will sliding mass a simultaneously. failure (Wright. resultant equivalent through midpoint the base of the slice and inclined at an angle 6 the of 2). fail simultaneously. . . (Figure Summing the forces normal and tangential to the base of each slice provides two equations of force equilibrium: AN' - AS + + AU a + QFsin(o-9) + AW(k.a reasonably reliable value assuming parallel extended potential to irregular shape surfaces later general or derivation of of a Spencer. Z 1 r 9.

FS Slice Forces Considered for Spencer's Method of Slices .fca'-fAN'TANt^'l " FIGURE 1.

FS Slice Forces Considered in Derivation of Stability Equations for Spencer's Method of Slices .rCa'+AN'TANt^"] " FIGURE 2.

The expression effective normal the for force base of each slice may be obtained from equation AN' - AW((l-k )cosa + AQcos(a-6) k. expression into equation lb for the effective normal force resisting shear force at the and substituting the resulting yields the expression for the resultant of the interslice side forces on each slice: [Sj^/FS ^^ " cos(a-9)[l + S^] + S3/FS] ^^^ ... (2 resisting shear force at the base of a slice is given by: [C ' AN'tan*'] + ^ AS_ = FS r where: FS = Factor of safety: assumed equivalent on all slices ' = Cohesion force AN' = Effective normal force acting on the base of C 3 a ' = = slice Effective angle of shearing resistance Substituting equation into the c'»(dx)/cosa expression base of each slice for (Eqn. AU cos(a-8) ATsin(a-i) + on .sina) - - QFsin(a-e) - AU + The expression for the mobilized the la. 2 the 3).

sina) h AU-COS(a-8) + AQcos(a-6) AU-sin(a-6) + ' AW((l-k - AQsin(o-6) + ) AU a ATsin(a-i)] + sina - k. moments may be taken about a different axis for each . 1 c + S^ = ' a + tan(J)' ^ [AW( (1-k ' V ) cosa -k. thus: n Z i QF[Rcos(a-e) ] =0 (5 =l where R is the distance from the center which moments are summed circular potential to failure of the center of surfaces.where: = S. value of For R is constant and may be taken out of the summation: n I i [QFcos(a-e)] =0 (6) =l For surfaces of a general shape where no common axis exists. then the overall moment of the internal forces must also be zero.cosa) + ATcos(a-i) tan (a-0) S^ = tan<j) FS = Factor of safety: assumed equivalent on all ' slices C ' = a Cohesion force c'*(dx)/coso = If the overall moment produced about an arbitrary point by all external forces is zero. the rotation about each slice.

for all values of x. is two the mutually exclusive force for then equilibrium in the horizontal and vertical directions: n I. satisfied. The assumption of parallel resultant equivalent when how an f(x) = to 1. The approach adopted in obtaining the equilibrium equations does not affect 1970) solution to a given problem final the (Spencer.8 It is often convenient to take moments about slice in turn. If overall summation of the force equilibrium forces internal directions must be in Hence. 1973). the center of the base of each slice for about than rather an arbitrary center irregular surfaces of rotation. side Method angle inclination and f(x) is varies with the x Parallel side forces occur when f(x) = of function which defines position of 1 (8) f(x) forces (1965) is 9. . tan9 . i [QFcose] =0 (7a [QFsine] =0 (7b =l n i: i =l inclination The the of resultant side forces can be expressed as: e. where = e is 9 arbitrary a scaling a slice. zero. the thus equivalent to Morgenstern and Price's Morgenstern making X and Price Spencer's (Spencer.

respect to the It can to moment side be force than the FOS with respect to force From this figure it can also be seen that Simplified Bishop FOS yields rather accurate values of FOS when compared to complete equilibrium methods. satisfying moment equilibrium (F equations when obtained are yields a FOS satisfying force equilibrium (F^) . constant.are equal moments for the sliding mass. until F corresponding to equilibrium of forces and and F. equations 24a and 24b become identical and can be expressed as: n [QF] E i Two and a 9 FOS =0 (9) =l factors of safety Equation are solved assuming a value of 9.If the slope of the resultant interslice side forces is assumed to be parallel. the FOS with respect corresponds to the Simplified Bishop FOS. i.. This is .e. while the FOS with respect to force equilibrium (F-) corresponds seen from Figure equilibrium assumption equilibrium the (F m to 3b is ) the that much (value of 9) (F^) . 5 9 a which 3b). = 9. Simplified . the less FOS Janbu with sensitive FOS. It should be noted to moment that at equilibrium (F ) 9 = 0. both Equations 5 force and 9 equilibrium moment and solved are using 9 (Figure values of 9 There is unique value of the FOS and corresponding value of satisfies yields 5 while equation ).

30 • '• 25 ^>. OS u ^^t"^ '^ 00 1 ^ 1 <o 1 <^ 1 I 4 95 90 1 1 10 1 IS .00 210. Variation of F and F^ with in r 6 . 00 AXIS (ft) 180.10 30.00 240.00 (a) 40 O Fa 35 .1.00 60. 20 2S 30 35 40 8 (dag> (b) FIGURE 3. U) FOS . ». / . y^ ^y''^ U.115 % ' 10 .^^ hi.00 90. 20 9 O IS in a Ff /• u.00 X - 120.00 ISO. ^y^'^^gr'^^^^ . 1. ( ^^.

. Reasonableness examining the magnitude of obtained position the from individual the solution the of interslice shear will topic This thrust and the Both are equations for the addressed later stresses. Maksimovic.. setting F 4) assuming equal to a F. Boutrup.. calculating the corresponding a regression analysis to find and F^ curves 9. . calculating and F 1974). and using intersection of the F assuming a value choosing a new value of F and Fc for a given value of 9 9. be by judged be of equilibrium moment slices. and substituting that value into the F equation (Spencer. and calculating F. of 1977).11 due to curve to the assumption insensitivity of the F the of the slope of the interslice forces. have important is readily converges and also iterations of It required included: produce to a mathematically 1) sophisticated analyses such as the Newton-Raphson numerical technique (Wright. 1979). 1973. STABL Method of Solution Linear Approximation Method - Numerous iterative schemes have been used to solve for the to satisfying FOS equilibrium. arbitrarily 2) (Fredlund.. 1969. and FOS. F. and based on the relative magnitude of (Fredlund. line the of can in this chapter. 1981). solving for the new value of 9. assuming several values of values of F the 3) and F^. complete iterative scheme that use an minimizes number the Techniques solution.

and utilizes the INTSCT routines in which calculate STABL method The lines. m. is with is and F. method new The satisfying FOS the problems avoiding while equilibrium complete determines accurately and STABL. complete equilibrium was Therefore. which is user. STABL utilizes a user input estimate of the slope angle to begin iteration for the FOS and corresponding angle of the resultant interslice side . satisfying of straight two of is iterative easily three techniques comprehended and minimizes the number of iterations required for solution. outlined previously.12 None complemented Therefore. Spencer interslice side (1967) forces initial with is taken as input by the found that the angle of the resultant satisfying less than the slope angle. and F. m F An accurate value of the FOS calculates their intersection. approximate the values uses and F intersection the F_ curves equilibrium complete approximations of '^'^ the F values of for several convergence curves. are first solved The initial value of one half the approximate slope angle. in iterative method has been developed which new a present already routines the above outlined schemes iterative the of called is non- of Linear the Approximation Method (LAM). Equations estimates of 9 4 and 8 and FOS. t straight some obtained by and successive lines and F_ m r often occurs within and the of LAM the to lines Due to the shape of the F rapid Unlike iterations. rapidly convergence. curves with straight ^ f 9.

equations 8 the type of analysis being performed. = of the trials F^ The value of F_ for a given ^ m are within 9 is forces with all a the that are tolerance found in the of same manner The calculation of the sum of forces and moments for a given the resultant value of interslice requires little . recalculated using a to Normally find the sum of three value that The value straight line intersection of previous values of the axis. the sum of of 9 factor The of safety satisfying force equilibrium for the given value of is found by calculating the intersection of the line through the sum of the forces previously calculated with the ZQF axis as shown Figure in force equilibrium for the value The 4a. forces the a and sum of the for Based the on the sum of chosen and the sum of is recalculated. obtained by Simplified or to value the reasonable a input estimate will The initial estimate of the FOS is calculating first Bishop sensitive not is Simplified by FOS the Janbu either the method depending on and FOS. are interslice the forces and second value of FOS moments resultant the moments.001.13 slope the for solution The forces. of F^ is the two LQF = required 0. given 6 of satisfying F checked by using is value of FOS to calculate the sum of the forces. Using the and 4 forces initial estimates of are solved and their corresponding relative magnitude the moments. angle. however. minimize iteration time.

Determination of F^ and F for a Given Value of by the Linear Approximation Method .lA " constant •"FOS 9 constant -FOS FIGURE 4.

F curves F. . that the the difference The FOS. intersection of requires these straight two facts leads to simple is the of also and The combination time. f int^. F^ and 0. int 3 used along^ with F is 3 0. slope solved for 6 equations moment and new values of F_ and F f A second value of value of 0. straight the of between selected such that The value of 0. two approximated by straight lines these can approximation leads to Figure from seen be the of F F and 5a and F. Using = 0-. . the lines value and ^ int the of of nearest the calculated and another is 0. lines This . efficient very a calculation lines little computation very two addition. ^ int - to calculate F 0~). F . In procedure for accurately and rapidly determining the values of F^ and A second value of angle. After iterations. by curves this case 0_) (in Figure ^ intersection estimate are intersection of mt^). value of used value of is F_ corresponding of F . taken as three-fourths the input is force The of again are corresponding to the new f m -3 equal to three-fourths the input slope angle was found to lead to rapid solution of the and was thus chosen. to 0-. accurate very a lines calculated is the ^ int + (0. It good estimate rather a the 5a). FOS by the LAM. satisfying complete equilibrium and of and m the ((0.15 calculation time. 2 m and new and previous values the intersection of the two curves is again approximated by the representing the F^ intersection and F^ of curves the straight (Figure 5b).

40 I I 1 I 1. Determination of the FOS and 9 Satisfying Complete Equilibrium Using the Linear Approximation Method .3S FIGURE 5.16 1.

1 and 92- shape the to of This will be determined if or between 9. Tensile forces are indicated within the slope if the line of thrust lies outside the middle third of the slice.001 than for correspond value of 9 than less is 9 the of of 9. of should attention line of thrust the points or previously. It rapid is a solution believed that STABL is the only known is slope stability program to contain the Linear Approximation Method. int that such to complete satisfying 9 structured is happens used being 9 unnecessary avoids new a lies to the left of 9. forces on solution. and often occurs within been indicated with respect to non-convergence of using the LAM.001 than less FOS of the curves.17 process is repeated until the difference between the current and FOS previous the difference between 0.001 radians. Line of Thrust As mentioned the position of action. value the the to two given a when calculations last and difference between F^ and F m is less f the or ' the is 0. . Due value program The equilibrium. of the the interslice reasonableness of side the solution is one in which the line the middle third of the slices. 0. of thrust the slices) to A satisfactory passes through check be paid to (location of the line of application. convergence No problems have three iterations. values 9. The .

the to the the FOS the the of slice are and FOS of satisfying complete equilibrium into equation from the and values for ). 9 determined. However.. The taken the as depth of zero active effective stress: 2c' ^o ~ YFS(l-r^j) Spencer m / ^ 1 - demonstrated fin) sin*'^ that reliable factors of safety can be obtained assuming the slope of the interslice forces are parallel. points of action of interslice forces are found by taking moments about the center of the base of each slice in turn. (Z. substituting the Z values each the slice first last. to obtain reasonable positions of the Spencer's method follows these recommendations. as programmed in STABL . he recommended that the slope of the interslice forces should be reduced at the upper end of the slip surface in order line of thrust. The calculated. be interslice calculated been equilibrium have complete satisfying 3a.18 location of 6 a satisfactory line of thrust for the example problem shown in Figure slope of Once the line thrust of resultant may by forces. Spencer can obtained be water exists depth of the indicated that suitable lines of thrust (1973) at assuming that end upper the tension a crack tension crack of may slip the initially be with filled surface. forces interslice the shown in Figure is 9 Working 4.

19 4J 0) s u JC O c OO'OSI 00 "021 00 '06 C^i) 00 "09 5IXV - 00 "OE A ° .

SURBIS. Spencer's method has implemented been program for the primary purpose of obtaining a STABL the in more accurate value of the FOS and line of thrust for specific surfaces of surfaces. specifying by invoked option CIRCL2. critical For interest. a Since determination of the FOS by Spencer's method requires calculation more approximately six times intended that only specific surfaces analyzed utilizing Spencer's method. SURFAC. method may be used for analysis time. or randomly generated surfaces. The the surface type of CIRCLE.e. of will interest of is it input user specific surfaces. either be Spencer's However. RANDOM. The most efficient use of STABL realized failure if the surfaces user investigates using one of ' capabilities will be s number a STABL's potential of random surface generation techniques and determines the FOS by either Simplified Once Janbu critical or Simplified potential Bishop failure method surfaces the slices. of have been identified. method Spencer the of slices is preferred over the Simplified Janbu or Simplified Bishop methods the since and sliding mass it complete satisfies yields equilibrium of slightly more accurate FOS. i.20 Spencer Options in STABL Spencer The command "SPENCR" command SPENCR and method may and estimate of an the specification precedes solution.. they may be analyzed using the SPENCR option in . of be the slope angle. BLOCK or BL0CK2.

When user a potential input surface failure analyzed. of above thrust slice. a user the of graph similar a may user The not or line the of thrust. each for this Figure of sliding and the the of surface values to the of information allows This output. forces of thrust. the coordinates height of the the height slice interslice the line user of line forces are all thrust. when the conjunction in the randomly with generated surfaces. the program will output the values of F and F . satisfying information to construct When analyzing 50b. Spencer option is used with STABL However. only the FOS and angle of the interslice satisfying complete ten most critical surfaces. and hence the solution. is 9 calculated during iteration along with the value of FOS and 9 complete equilibrium. The Spencer may option also be used options that generate surfaces randomly. calculated interslice during equilibrium are output for the Information regarding the line forces iteration or is values not of output F^. f F ' for m and 6 randomly generated surfaces. ratio the the quickly determine whether to that to use input potential failure surface.21 conjunction obtain into a with either SURFAC the option SURBIS or to more accurate value of the FOS and to gain insight the reasonableness of through examination the solution of the line of thrust. hence the reasonableness of the solution obtained for a randomly generated surface will not be . is satisfactory.

This document also describes enhancements problem using the Spencer option. format. some minor program Manual (Carpenter. the reasonableness randomly generated surface is of desired. The further STABL5/PCSTABL5 describes the User Spencer restrictions. options. and provides an example . the the solution of a surface must be analyzed using the SPENCR option in conjunction with either the SURBIS or SURFAC options. input 1985b). and error codes.22 When apparent.

by Spencer's method is The FOS obtained typically slightly higher than the FOS obtained by the less rigorous Simplified Bishop or Simplified . CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Summary and Conclusions Spencer's method of slices was implemented in the programs STABL5 and PCSTABL5 to provide additional versatility to the STABL programs. it The development of Spencer's method was reviewed and its implementation presented. equilibrium and Spencer's method of slices satisfies complete is capable of transferring the load from one slice to another through the interaction of the interslice shear and normal side forces. A distributes in STABL new iterative technique was developed by the author for determining the factor of safety and angle of the interslice forces satisfying complete equilibrium of by Spencer's method.23 SUMMARY. Spencer's method of slices is particularly well suited for analysis of slopes and retaining walls subjected to tieback loads since the load from a tieback between slices. Therefore. The Spencer method of slices is preferred for analysis of tiedback slopes and walls over the simplified methods since it satisfies complete equilibrium and accounts for the interaction of the interslice side forces between slices. a sliding mass computed The new iterative technique is called the Linear Approximation Method.

is more rigorous than the simplified methods and requires more computation time. Since Spencer's method of slices requires more computer time to arrive at a solution. it is recommended that Spencer's method be used to analyze only those critical potential failure surfaces found by analysis of randomly generated surfaces using the Simplified Bishop or Simplified Janbu method of slices. It is believed that the LAM is unique to the STABL programs. it also searches for the FOS satisfying complete equilibrium. The method not only converges readily. Since Spencer's method satisfies complete equilibrium of the sliding mass. Following this recommendation will lead to the most efficient utilization of STABL's capabilities and the engineer's time.2k Janbu methods. The Linear Approximation Method provides a reliable method for determining the FOS satisfying complete equilibrium. . Recommend at ions Since Spencer's method of slices satisfies complete equilibrium. this method should be used to analyze the stability of tiedback slopes and retaining structures whenever possible. thus minimizing the number of iterations required to obtain a solution. It is strongly recommended that the new Spencer routines be thoroughly tested prior to public release of the STABL5 and PCSTABL5 programs. it is especially well suited Spencer's solution for analysis of tied back slopes and walls.


Purdue University. Geotechnique Vol. Spencer. "The Analysis of the Stability of Embankments by the Method of Slices". 769-777. E. Spencer. Morgenstern. School of Joint Highway Research Project No. . pp. Calgary. E. 215-232. Fredlund. M. March. Indiana. . No. Computer Documentation CD-A. Geo-Slope Programming Ltd. 1970. V. N. West Lafayette. University of Manchester. "Limit Equilibrium for Nonlinear Failure Envelope and Arbitrary Slip Surface". and Lovell. 1965. Maksimovic. (1979). G. "A Method of Analysis of the Stability of Embankments Assuming Parallel Inter-Slice Forces". J. University of Saskatchewan. 1981.25 LIST OF REFERENCES References Cited E. .. Sharma. Ph. March. June. (1977). Third International Conference on Numerical Methods in Geomechanics Aachen. (1974). 1983. "Slope Stability Analysis User's Manual". R. "SLOPE-II Computer Program". 34th Annual Georgia. Saskatoon. 1974. E. D. G. No. West Lafayette. . 79-93. Proceedings. User's Manual S-10. pp. April. (1967). MSCE Thesis Purdue University. Geo techn ique Vol. Thesis. "The Analysis of the Stability of General Slip Surfaces". Department of Civil Engineering. 17. Canada. (1965). 85Civil Engineering. 1985. "Strengths and Weaknesses of Slope Stability Analysis". pp. 1979.D. Highway Geology Symposium Atlanta. (19B5b). "STABL5 / PCSTABL5 User Manual". (1983). 1. (1970). R. 1. C. December. W. D. 11-26. . Fredlund. Transportation and Geotechnical Group. and Price. Canada. . S. S. pp. "Computerized Slope Stability Analysis for Indiana Highways". Carpenter. 15. . Indiana"^ 1977 Boutrup. (1981). 1967.

1973. Geotechnique Vol. Thesis U University of California. 1973. ht. pp.D. (1973). 1. SMIO. 99. 783-792. No. F. . "Accuracy of Equilibrium Slope Stability Analysis". (1969). E. "A Study of Slope Stability and the Undrained Shear Strength of Clay Shales". . Ph. 23. H.. S G. (1973). October. Berkeley. "Thrust Line Criterion in Embankment Stability Analysis". . Jour n al of the Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division ASCE. Vol. .. G. M. March. 1969U Wright. No. S.26 Spencer. Kulhawy. Wright. s. pp. 85-100. J. and Duncan.