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Quick Start Tutorial 1-1

Quick Start Tutorial

Swedge is an interactive and simple to use analysis tool for evaluating

the stability of surface wedges in rock slopes, defined by two intersecting
discontinuity planes, the slope surface and an optional tension crack.
This quick start tutorial will introduce you to the basic features of
Swedge, and demonstrate how easily a model can be created and
analyzed with Swedge.

The finished product of this tutorial can be found in the Tutorial 01

Quick Start.swd file, located in the Examples > Tutorials folder in your
Swedge installation folder.

Topics Covered in this Tutorial

Project Settings
Deterministic Analysis
Input Data
Wedge View
Viewing Options
Analysis Results
Info Viewer
Stereonet View
Water Pressure
External Force
Seismic Force
Sensitivity Analysis

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Swedge computes the factor of safety for translational slip of a

tetrahedral wedge formed in a rock slope by:

two intersecting discontinuities (joint sets),

the slope face,

the upper ground surface, and

a tension crack (optional).

Typical problem geometry is illustrated below.


1 , 2 = Failure planes (2
intersecting joint sets)
3 = Upper ground surface
4 = Slope face
5 = Tension crack
H1 = Slope height (vertical
distance) referred to
plane 1
L = Distance of tension
crack from crest,
measured along the
trace of plane 1.

Figure 1: Typical wedge geometry for Swedge analysis.

When a pair of discontinuities are selected at random from a set of field

data, it is not known whether:

the planes could form a wedge (the line of intersection may

plunge too steeply to daylight in the slope face or it may be too
flat to intersect the upper ground surface).

one of the planes overlies the other (this affects the calculation of
the normal reactions on the plane).

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one of the planes lies to the right or the left of the other plane
when viewed from the bottom of the slope.

In order to resolve these uncertainties, the solution has been derived

using Block Theory, such that:

Either of the planes may be labeled 1 (or 2).

Allowance has been made for one of the planes overlying the other
(this is illustrated in Figure 2)

The crest can overhang the base of the slope.

Contact may be lost on either plane (this is dependent on wedge

geometry, and also on the magnitude of the water pressures
acting on the planes).

A check on whether the two planes can form a wedge is included in the
solution at an early stage. In addition, Swedge also examines how the
tension crack intersects the other planes, accepting only those cases
where the tension crack truncates the wedge in a kinematically
admissible manner.

In all cases, the assumed failure mode of the wedge is translational slip
rotational slip and toppling are not taken into account.

Figure 2: Situation where wedge is formed, and one plane overlies the other.

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Creating a New File

If you have not already done so, run the Swedge program by double-
clicking on the Swedge icon in your installation folder. Or from the Start
menu, select Programs Rocscience Swedge 6.0 Swedge.

If the Swedge application window is not already maximized, maximize it

now, so that the full screen is available for viewing the model.

When the Swedge program is started, a default model is automatically

created, allowing you to begin defining your model immediately. If you do
NOT see a wedge model on your screen:

Select: File New

Whenever a new file is created, the default input data will form a valid
wedge, as shown in Figure 3.

NOTE: the automatic creation of a new file when Swedge is started, can
be turned on or off in the Preferences dialog in the File menu.

Figure 3: Default wedge model.

Notice the four-view, split screen format of the display, which shows Top,
Front, Side and Perspective views of the model. This is referred to as the
Wedge View. The Top, Front and Side views are orthogonal with respect
to each other (i.e. viewing angles differ by 90 degrees.)

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Project Settings

The Project Settings option allows you to configure the main analysis
parameters for your model (i.e. Analysis Type, Units etc). Select Project
Settings from the toolbar or the Analysis menu.

Select: Analysis Project Settings

You will see the Project Settings dialog.

Figure 4: Project Settings dialog.

Analysis Type
There are three main Analysis Types in Swedge Deterministic,
Probabilistic or Combinations. By default a Deterministic Analysis
will be selected for a new file.

A Deterministic analysis assumes that all input parameters are

exactly known. Swedge computes the factor of safety for a single
wedge. Deterministic analysis will be demonstrated in this

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For a Probabilistic analysis, statistical input data can be

entered to account for uncertainty in joint orientation and
strength values. This results in a safety factor distribution, from
which a probability of failure is calculated. Probabilistic analysis
will be demonstrated in Tutorial 02.

For a Combination analysis, any number of discrete joint

orientations can be defined, and Swedge will analyze all possible
combinations of two joints. Combination analysis will be
demonstrated in Tutorial 03.

For this tutorial we will be using Metric (MPa) units, so make sure the
Metric, stress as MPa option is selected for Units.

NOTE: the most recently selected Units option automatically becomes the
default for all new files, so you do not have to select the Units each time
you start a project. Make sure you are working in the correct units!

Sampling and Random Numbers

These options are only applicable for a Probabilistic Analysis, and will be
discussed in the next tutorial.

Project Summary
Select the Project Summary tab in the Project Settings dialog.

Enter Swedge Quick Start Tutorial as the Project Title.


The Project Summary information can be displayed on printouts of

analysis results, using the Page Setup option in the File menu and
defining a Header and/or Footer.

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You can specify the Author and Company in the Preferences dialog
in the File menu, so that this information always appears by default
in the Project Summary in Project Settings, for new files.

Select OK to close the Project Settings dialog.

Input Data

The Input Data option is the main input data dialog for Swedge. Lets
see what input data is used for the default Swedge model.

Select: Analysis Input Data

Figure 5: Input Data dialog (Deterministic) slope properties.

For a Deterministic analysis, the Input Data dialog is organized under

three tabs Slope, Joints, Forces.

Examine the Slope properties input data. The slope plane orientations,
slope height and rock unit weight is always required data. Other slope
input data is optional. Do not change any values just yet, we will be
coming back to this shortly.

Select the Joints tab in the Input Data dialog and examine the Joint
information. There are three strength models available for defining the
shear strength of joints Mohr- Coulomb, Barton-Bandis and Power
Curve. By default the Mohr-Coulomb strength model is selected.

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TIP: you can minimize or maximize the Input Data dialog, without
closing it, by double-clicking on the title bar at the top of the dialog, or
selecting the arrow icon in the upper right corner.

Figure 6: Input Data dialog (Deterministic) joint properties.

Select the Forces tab in the Input Data dialog. The Forces options allow
you to apply Water Pressure, Seismic or External Forces. We will be
demonstrating these options later in the tutorial.

NOTE: for detailed information about all Swedge input data options, see
the Swedge help system. To access the Help system, you can select the
question mark ? icon in a dialog for context sensitive help. Or you can
select Help > Help Topics from the Swedge menu.

Select Cancel to close the Input Data dialog.

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Analysis Results

The Swedge analysis is automatically computed:

when a file is opened, or

when input data is entered or modified in a dialog (e.g. Input

Data), and Apply or OK is selected in the dialog.

This ensures that the latest analysis results are always displayed.

The primary result from an Swedge Deterministic analysis is the wedge

Factor of Safety (FS). This is displayed and in the sidebar information
panel, as well as at the top of the Perspective View. If any view is
maximized, the Factor of Safety will appear at the top.

Wedge Information Panel

The Sidebar in Swedge is the vertical panel at the right side of the
Swedge application window. The Sidebar displays a summary of analysis
results in the Wedge Information Panel.

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Figure 7: Sidebar wedge information panel.

The information displayed in the Wedge Information Panel can be

customized by selecting the Filter List button in the Sidebar, and
choosing the desired data using the checkboxes in the Wedge
Information Filter dialog. This is left as an optional exercise.

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Figure 8: Wedge information filter dialog.

TIP: if you right-click in the wedge information panel the data can be
copied to the clipboard with the right-click Copy shortcut.

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Info Viewer

A comprehensive listing of input data and analysis results is presented in

the Swedge Info Viewer.

To access the Info Viewer, select the Info Viewer option from the toolbar
or the Analysis menu.

Select: Analysis Info Viewer

Figure 9: Info Viewer summary of analysis information.

Use the scroll bar or the mouse wheel to scroll down and view all of the
data in the Info Viewer.

The Info Viewer data can be copied to the clipboard or saved to a file
using the options in the right-click popup menu. This is left as an
optional exercise.

Close the Info Viewer by selecting the X in the upper right corner of the

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Stereonet View

The Stereonet View in Swedge displays a stereographic projection of

your Input Data plane orientations (slope, upper face, joint1, joint2,
tension crack).

To access the Stereonet view, select the Stereonet option from the
toolbar or the Analysis menu.

Select: Analysis Stereonet

Figure 10: Stereonet view of input data planes.

By default, the Stereonet is displayed using Equal Angle projection.

Equal Area projection can also be used. If you right-click on the
Stereonet view, you can change the projection method and other stereonet
display options (e.g. Show Planes, Show Poles, Show Intersections, Show

The Stereonet display options are also available in the Stereonet sub-
menu of the View menu, and in the Display Options dialog.

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Viewing Options

Switch back to the Wedge View by selecting the Wedge View option from
the toolbar or the Analysis menu.

Select: Analysis Wedge View

We will now discuss some of the viewing options and shortcuts for the
Wedge View.

Rotating the Model

Within the Perspective view, the Swedge model can be rotated for viewing
at any angle, interactively with the left mouse button, as follows:

1. Press and hold the left mouse button anywhere in the Perspective
view. Notice that the cursor changes to a "circular arrow" symbol
to indicate that you may rotate the model.

2. Keep the left mouse button pressed, and move the cursor around.
The model is rotated according to the direction of movement of
the cursor.

3. To exit the rotation mode, release the left mouse button. The
cursor reverts to the normal arrow cursor.

To reset the rotation to the default viewing angle, select Reset View
from the right-click menu or the View menu.

Figure 11: Rotation of slope model in Perspective view.

Moving the Wedge

The wedge can be moved out of the slope by clicking and dragging with
the left mouse button, or by rotating the mouse wheel, as described

To move the wedge with the left mouse button:

1. Position the cursor over the wedge in the Perspective, Top or

Front views of the model.

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2. The cursor will change to a vertical, two-way arrow symbol .

Click and hold the left mouse button, and drag the mouse. As you
move the cursor up or down, the wedge will slide up or down out
of the slope, along the direction of sliding.

Figure 12: Wedge moved along sliding direction.

The wedge can also be moved by rotating the mouse wheel while holding
down the Shift or Ctrl keys on the keyboard:

1. If you hold down the Shift key and rotate the mouse wheel, the
wedge movement will be larger.

2. If you hold down the Ctrl key and rotate the mouse wheel, the
wedge movement will be smaller.

3. Rotating the mouse wheel forward moves the wedge upwards.

Rotating the mouse wheel backward moves the wedge down.

Reset Wedge Movement

To reset the wedge to its default position, you can:

double click the mouse wheel in any view, or

select Reset Wedge Movement or Reset View from the right-

click menu.

Any of these options will reset the wedge to its default position within the

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Re-sizing the Views

You can change the relative size of the panes or sub-views (Top / Front /
Side / Perspective), or maximize any view within the Wedge View.

To maximize the size of any pane, double-click the left mouse

button in the pane (e.g. double-click in the Perspective view to
maximize the Perspective view). Double-clicking again in the
maximized view will restore the default display of all 4 panes.

You can also re-size the 4-view display by clicking and dragging
on the vertical or horizontal dividers between the panes.

TIP: if you have re-sized the panes and you want to quickly restore the
default display, double-click in any pane to maximize the view, then
double-click again to restore the default display.

Figure 13: Maximized perspective view.

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Zoom and Pan

The following Zoom and Pan options are available for the Wedge View:

Zoom All reset the model to its default size and location in the

Zoom In zoom in to 90 % of the original area

Zoom Out zoom out to 111% of the original area

Pan translate the model left, right, up or down within the view

The zoom and pan options are available in the toolbar, the Zoom sub-
menu of the View menu, and through various keyboard and mouse
shortcuts. Shortcuts include:

Rotate the mouse wheel forward or backward to zoom in or out.

The function keys F2, F4 and F5 are shortcuts to Zoom Extents,

Zoom Out and Zoom In respectively.

A shortcut to Pan is to click and hold the middle mouse button

(mouse wheel) and drag to pan the model within the view.

For additional shortcuts see the Zoom and Pan topic in the Swedge Help

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Changing Input Data

Now lets enter data for a different wedge.

Select: Analysis Input Data

Select the Slope tab in the Input Data dialog and enter the following

Slope Height 20
Slope Dip 65
Slope Dip Direction 45
Upper Face Dip 10
Upper Face Dip Direction 45
Unit Weight (MN/m3) 0.027

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Select the Joints tab in the Input Data dialog and enter the following

Joint 1 Dip 45
Joint 1 Dip Direction 52
Joint 1 Cohesion (MPa) 0.025
Joint 1 Friction Angle 30
Joint 2 Dip 70
Joint 2 Dip Direction 18
Joint 2 Cohesion (MPa) 0
Joint 2 Friction Angle 35

NOTE: the Joint Waviness angle accounts for the waviness (undulations)
of a joint surface, observed over distances on the order of 1 m to 10 m,
and has the effect of increasing the shear strength of the joint. For more
information see the Swedge Help system. We will leave the Waviness
angle = 0 for this example.

Select OK in the Input Data dialog to re-compute the Swedge analysis

with the new input data. You should see the following wedge, with a
Safety Factor of approximately 1.11.

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Figure 14: Wedge formed by new input data.

Sliding Plane
Notice that the analysis summary in the Sidebar indicates the failure
mode as Sliding on Joint 1. Due to the geometry of this wedge, the
failure mode is sliding on one joint, rather than sliding on both joints (i.e.
along the line of intersection of joints 1 and 2.)

This is consistent with the wedge geometry, since Joint Set 2 dips at 70
degrees and has a cohesion of zero, and therefore has little influence on
the wedge stability.

Figure 15: Failure mode sliding on Joint 1.

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Water Pressure
By default, Water Pressure is NOT applied to an Swedge model, and the
analysis is therefore applicable to a DRY slope.

To include Water Pressure in a Deterministic analysis:

1. Select Input Data. Select the Forces tab in the Input Data
dialog, and select the Water Pressure checkbox.

2. Select the Water Pressure Type (we will use the Filled Fissures
option for this example, with default Hu=1).

3. Select OK. The Safety Factor decreases to 0.57, indicating an

unstable wedge. The Filled Fissures option assumes extreme
conditions of heavy rainfall, such that maximum (average) values
of water pressure are applied on the failure planes.

Notice that arrows representing the Water Pressure force are displayed
normal to the wedge failure planes.

Figure 16: Display of water forces on joint planes (side view).

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In the Sidebar information panel, note the values of (effective) Normal

Force, Normal Stress and Shear Strength for Joint1. The application of
the Water Pressure has reduced these values, compared to the dry state,
resulting in the decreased safety factor.

External Force
Now lets add a single External Force, in a direction such that it will help
to stabilize the wedge.

1. Select Input Data. Use the mouse to select Number of External

Forces = 1.

2. Enter Trend = 225, Plunge = 20 and Magnitude = 10 MN.

3. Select OK. The Safety Factor (with Water Pressure still applied)
increases to 0.73 (still an unstable wedge).

An arrow representing the External Force is now displayed on the model.

(External force can also be applied to a model by adding support. See the
Support Tutorial for details.)

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Figure 17: Display of water and external forces on wedge (side view).

NOTE: the force arrows which are displayed, represent the presence and
direction of an external force, but do NOT represent the magnitude (i.e.
the size of the arrows is NOT proportional to force magnitude.)

Seismic Force
Now we will include Seismic Force in the analysis.

1. Select Input Data, and select the Seismic checkbox.

2. Enter a Seismic Coefficient of 0.2. Select the Direction = User

Defined and enter Plunge = 0 and Trend = 52.

3. Select OK. The Safety Factor drops to 0.50.

An arrow representing the Seismic Force is now displayed on the model.

Figure 18: Display of water, external and seismic forces on wedge (side view).

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The Seismic Force applied to the wedge is F = 0.2 * g * m, where g =

acceleration due to gravity and m = mass of the wedge. Note that the
Trend is equal to the Dip Direction of Joint Set 1, which is the worst
possible direction in this case, since the failure mode for this wedge
already indicates Sliding on Joint 1.

Sensitivity Analysis

Before we conclude this tutorial, we will demonstrate the Sensitivity

Analysis feature of Swedge.

In a Sensitivity Analysis, individual variables can be varied between user

defined minimum and maximum values, while all other input parameters
are constant. This allows you to determine the effect of individual
variables on safety factor.

We will use Sensitivity Analysis to show that the worst possible direction
to apply a Seismic Force, is the sliding direction of the wedge.

1. Select Input Data and turn OFF the Water Pressure by clearing
the Water Pressure checkbox. Also turn OFF the External force,
by setting Number of External Forces = 0. Only the Seismic force
checkbox should remain selected. Select OK.

2. Select the Sensitivity Analysis option from the toolbar or the

Analysis menu.

3. In the Sensitivity Input dialog, select the first checkbox at the

upper left, and select Seismic Force Trend from the drop-list of
variables. Enter From = 0 and To = 120. Select OK.

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4. You should see the following sensitivity plot.

Figure 19: Sensitivity plot of seismic force trend versus safety factor.

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As you can clearly see from the graph, the minimum factor of safety
occurs when Seismic Force Trend = 52 degrees, which is the wedge failure
direction (and the Dip Direction of Joint 1).

Although the wedge failure direction is often the most critical direction in
which to apply a seismic force, this may vary depending on the presence
of other external forces (e.g. water pressure, support etc) and the strength
properties of the individual failure planes.

It is left as an optional exercise to explore the effect of Seismic Force

Plunge on the safety factor, using the Sensitivity Analysis option.

That concludes this quick start tutorial.

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