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(CGPR _ 82) Nathaniel Bradley and Daniel R. VandenBerge-Beginners Guide for Geotechnical Finite Element Analyses-Center for Geotechnical Practice and Research (2015)

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Department of Civil Engineering

CENTER FOR

GEOTECHNICAL PRACTICE AND RESEARCH

Finite Element Analyses

by

Nathaniel Bradley

and

Daniel R. VandenBerge

Geotechnical Practice and Research

May 2015

CGPR # 82

200 Patton Hall, Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia 24060

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgement ....................................................................................................... 1

Chapter 1 – Introduction ............................................................................................. 2

Chapter 2 - Fundamentals .......................................................................................... 5

Finite Element Programs ......................................................................................... 7

Chapter 3 - STEADY-STATE SEEPAGE .................................................................... 8

Governing Principles ............................................................................................... 8

Finite Element Mesh Design.................................................................................... 8

Boundary Conditions ............................................................................................. 10

Free Surface Flow Problems ................................................................................. 11

Element Types ...................................................................................................... 12

Mesh Refinement .................................................................................................. 12

Transient Seepage Analysis .................................................................................. 13

Capabilities of Commercially Available Finite Element Programs ......................... 14

Examples............................................................................................................... 15

Example 1: Steady-State Seepage under a Gravity Dam .................................. 15

Parametric Study ............................................................................................... 24

Example 2: Steady-State Seepage through a Compacted Silty Sand

Embankment .......................................................................................................... 25

Validation............................................................................................................... 33

Chapter 4 – STRESSES AND MOVEMENTS........................................................... 35

Principal Variables ................................................................................................. 35

Shape Functions for Load-Deformation Problems ................................................. 36

Stress-Strain and Strength Parameters for Soils ................................................... 36

Linear Elastic Stress-Strain................................................................................ 37

Hyperbolic Stress-Strain and Strength ............................................................... 38

Selection of Hyperbolic Parameters ................................................................... 41

Initial Stresses and Displacements ........................................................................ 43

Drained vs. Undrained Conditions ..................................................................... 43

Initial Stresses in Phase2................................................................................... 44

Modeling Construction Sequence .......................................................................... 45

Capabilities of Modern Finite Element Programs .................................................. 46

Examples............................................................................................................... 46

Example 3: Embankment Constructed on Stiff Foundation................................ 46

Example 4: Embankment Constructed on Clay Foundation............................... 54

Example 5: Excavation in Clay .......................................................................... 62

Chapter 5 – Stability Analyses .................................................................................. 76

Strength Reduction Analysis ................................................................................. 76

Example 6 .......................................................................................................... 77

Advantages and Disadvantages ............................................................................ 79

Rules of Thumb and Guidelines ............................................................................ 80

Chapter 6 – Guidelines and Lessons Learned .......................................................... 81

Fundamentals........................................................................................................ 81

Seepage ................................................................................................................ 81

Modeling ............................................................................................................ 81

Validation ........................................................................................................... 81

Load Deformation .................................................................................................. 82

Stress-Strain Properties ..................................................................................... 82

Stress-Strain Modeling....................................................................................... 82

Validation ........................................................................................................... 83

Stability Analysis ................................................................................................... 83

References................................................................................................................ 84

Appendix A Staged Embankment Constructions in Phase2 ................................... 86

Analysis Steps ....................................................................................................... 86

Appendix B Initial Stresses in Level Ground in Phase2.......................................... 91

Analysis Steps ....................................................................................................... 91

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This Beginner’s Guide for Finite Element Analyses was written at the suggestion of

the CGPR members at the 2014 Annual Meeting, and the CGPR provided most of the

financial support for the effort. Virginia Tech provided financial support during the final

phases of the project through Dan VandenBerge’s post-doctoral position. All of this

support is gratefully acknowledged.

The authors thank Professor Mike Duncan for his guidance, encouragement, and

contributions to this project and the development of this report. His insights and

practical experience in the application of the finite element method were essential to the

report’s success.

1

CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION

This manual is intended for the use of geotechnical engineers and geotechnical

engineering graduate students who understand the behavior of soil and conventional

methods for analyzing seepage, settlement and stability, but who have not performed

finite element analyses.

With the objective of removing the “black box” aspect of finite element analyses,

Chapter 2 is devoted to the fundamentals of the method, so that the user will

understand concepts such as nodal points, elements, and boundary conditions, and the

sets of equations that are formed and solved in the process of performing a finite

element analysis. While it is not necessary that the user be able to derive these, an

understanding of these concepts is important for performing and interpreting the results

of finite element analyses.

Chapter 3 is devoted to seepage problems, both confined flow and free surface

steady state flow. Finite element analyses offer great advantages for analysis of

seepage problems, through the ability to perform parametric studies at the click of a

button. Hydraulic conductivity can never be evaluated precisely, and the ability to study

the effects of possible variations in hydraulic conductivity and anisotropy is essential for

thorough analyses of seepage through soil. Two examples illustrate applications to

seepage beneath and through dams.

around excavations, and the use of excavation bracing to control these movements.

Deformation analyses are more complex than seepage analyses, both in terms of the

soil properties involved and the techniques necessary to model nonlinear stress-strain

behavior in soils. Three examples illustrate deformations of embankments during

construction and movements around braced and unbraced excavations in clay.

successive constructions steps, and the procedures used in the computer program

Phase2 to establish values of initial stresses in the ground prior to embankment

construction or excavation.

The balance of this chapter is devoted to summaries of papers and reports that

illustrate practical uses of the finite element analyses, to illustrate the wide range of

practical uses of the method. These papers and reports include:

The Behavior of Embankment Dams: Kulhawy was one of the first to perform

analyses using nonlinear stress-strain behavior of soil in finite element analyses.

2

The analyses he conducted demonstrated that displacements within embankment

dams could be predicted with reasonable accuracy (Kulhawy 1969).

Duncan used finite element analyses to compute earth pressures and deflections of

the reinforced concrete walls of Port Allen Lock, a reinforced concrete structure 75

feet wide by 75 feet high by 1,100 feet long. They compared the results of their

analyses with data from field instruments to determine the ability of analyses to

simulate field behavior (Clough and Duncan 1969).

of a reinforced embankment constructed over soft clay and peat. The analyses

demonstrated the feasibility of constructing an embankment over weak soil using a

single layer of reinforcement near the base of the embankment (Duncan and

Schaefer 1988).

Reinforced Soil Walls: The stability of reinforced soil walls was evaluated using the

finite element method for several different types of reinforcement by Adib, Mitchell,

and Christopher (Adib et al. 1990).

garage at Post Office Square in Boston was completed by Whittle, Hashash and

Whitman. They found that it is possible to make useful predictions of deformations

occurring during top-down construction of an excavation using finite element

analyses (Whittle et al. 1993).

element analysis on an embankment to study the influence of lateral spreading on

consolidation settlement. A two-dimensional consolidation analysis compared better

with field measurements than a one-dimensional consolidation analysis (Crawford et

al. 1994).

Stability of Slopes and Dams: Finite element analyses for the assessment of slope

stability have been conducted by Griffiths and Lane. By comparison with traditional

limit equilibrium techniques, they demonstrate that the finite element method can be

a useful tool for evaluating stability of slopes (Griffiths and Lane 1999). Hammah et

al. (2006) performed slope stability analyses using finite element software. Analyses

were performed on a broad range of slopes and the results compared well with limit

equilibrium methods.

supported by piles using two-dimensional finite element analyses. Aspects of the

structure that influenced its behavior in three dimensions, such as the piles and

3

vertical drains, were successfully implemented into the two-dimensional analysis

(Ellis and Springman 2001).

Soil-Bentonite Cutoff Walls: Baxter and Filz developed a finite element model to

simulate construction of soil-bentonite cutoff walls. They used this model to predict

the ground deformations adjacent to the cutoff wall (Baxter and Filz 2007).

Retaining Wall Failures: The failure of a segmental retaining wall was studied by

Hossain and his colleagues using finite element analysis. Analyses were able to

replicate the behavior of the wall prior to failure, and they provided insight regarding

the causes of the failure (Hossain et al. 2009).

4

CHAPTER 2 - FUNDAMENTALS

The finite element method involves discretization of the physical body being

analyzed, dividing the geometry into small areas where properties can be assumed to

be uniform. An example of the discretization of a rectangular body is shown in Figure

2.1. The smaller areas into which the larger body is divided are the “finite elements.”

The elements are connected to each other only at their corners, or “nodes.” Elements

always have nodes at their corners. Some more complex elements also have nodes

along their sides. Elements used for two-dimensional analyses in geotechnical

engineering are usually triangles or quadrilaterals. Some triangular elements may be

right triangles, and some quadrilateral elements may be rectangles, but any triangular or

quadrilateral shape can be used. Triangular elements normally have either 3 or 6

nodes, while quadrilaterals usually have either 4 or 8 nodes. 6-node triangles and 8-

node quadrilaterals have nodes along their sides.

Nodes

Typical Element

Elements

After discretization of the problem geometry into elements, the next step in the finite

element method is definition of the primary variable (or the primary unknown). For

steady-state seepage problems, the primary variable is hydraulic head (h). For load-

deformation problems, the primary variable is displacement (u). Element characteristics

called “shape functions” determine how the value of the primary variable varies within

each element. Finite element computer programs provide various types of elements

and suggestions for selecting elements for various purposes. Element types for steady-

state seepage problems are discussed in Chapter 3. Element types for load-

deformation problems are discussed in Chapter 4.

5

After the geometry has been subdivided into elements connected at nodes, the

computer program forms a set of equations which relate the value of the primary

unknown at each node to another variable at each node. For steady-state seepage

problems, the second variable is the flow at the node. So, for steady-state seepage

problems the heads at the nodes are related to the flows at the nodes. The equations

are based on Darcy’s Law and values of permeability for seepage problems. For load-

deformation problems, the second variable is the externally applied force at the node.

The displacements at the nodes are related to the forces at the nodes, using the

requirements of equilibrium and the stress-strain properties.

Once the governing equations have been formed by the computer program, they are

combined to form a global set of equations that describe the properties of the entire

system. Heads and flows are related by a “transmissibility” matrix, while displacements

and forces are related by a “stiffness” matrix. Equations 1 and 2 express the general

form of these equations. These matrices satisfy the condition that the entire system

must remain continuous. They also describe the material properties and boundary

conditions of the problem.

Vector of

Transmissibility Nodal

Vector of

(1)

Matrix Hydraulic Nodal Flows

Heads

Vector

Stiffness of

Vector of

(2)

Matrix Nodal Nodal Forces

Displacements

These global equations are solved by the computer program to obtain the value of

the primary variable at each nodal point. Using the values of the primary variable, the

values of other unknowns (such as pore pressures or strains) can be calculated for

each nodal point.

When compared with other techniques, the finite element method has several

advantages. First, problems involving non-homogeneous earth masses are no more

difficult to analyze than problems involving masses with homogeneous properties. The

6

finite element method can account for the variation of properties from one element to

another. Complex boundary conditions can also be accommodated readily. Third,

limitations in the user’s capabilities in mathematical analysis do not prevent use of the

finite element method. As long as the user has a thorough understanding of the

problem, including the geology, site conditions, properties of soil and rock, and

construction processes, the finite element method can produce useful and accurate

results.

The examples in this report were analyzed using the computer programs Slide v.6.0

and Phase2 v.9.0 (recently renamed RS2). These programs are available for use on

academic projects through the Rocscience Education Program. Slide is a 2-

dimensional slope stability program that contains a module for finite element seepage

analyses. The Rocscience finite element program Phase2 can be used for both

seepage and load-deformation analyses.

Full versions of the Rocscience programs used to prepare the examples in this report

can be downloaded from the Rocscience website (http://www.rocscience.com/

downloads/trial_versions).

7

CHAPTER 3 - STEADY-STATE SEEPAGE

Governing Principles

Q kiA (3)

(length / time), i = hydraulic gradient (length / length or dimensionless), and A = gross

cross-sectional area of flow, including both solids and voids (length2).

For finite element analyses of seepage, a global set of equations relates heads at the

nodal points to flows at the nodal points. When these equations are solved, the values

of hydraulic head are obtained at each node.

Finite element programs use “shape functions” to determine the values of hydraulic

gradient between the nodes, within the elements.

The simplest shape functions use linear variations of hydraulic head within triangular

elements. The hydraulic gradient between adjacent nodes (within any element) is

constant. The surface representing hydraulic head consists of connected triangular,

planar facets.

Hydraulic gradients within quadrilateral elements are more complex. The surface

representing hydraulic head within a quadrilateral element is defined at four nodes, and

(in general) these define a warped surface rather than a plane. As a result, more

complex shape functions are required for quadrilateral elements.

1. The elements should be small enough to achieve accurate results in the area of

greatest interest. For seepage beneath the concrete gravity dam shown in Figure

3.1, the areas of greatest interest would be the base of the dam, where uplift

pressures would be of concern, and the zone immediately downstream, where

high hydraulic gradients could lead to erosion and piping. Outside the area of

interest, larger elements can be used.

2. External boundaries should be far enough away from the area of interest so that

they don’t unduly influence the results in the area of interest. Placement of the

boundaries is usually decided based on judgment and experience. For seepage

8

beneath the concrete dam in Figure 3.1, the left and right boundary positions

shown in Figure 3.2 would be reasonable. If in doubt, multiple analyses can be

performed, to establish positions for these boundaries where their effect on results

is negligible.

The bottom boundary of a finite element seepage mesh is usually placed at the top of

a relatively impermeable layer of soil or rock.

elements and nodal points, and designing meshes that satisfy these criteria is usually

not a problem.

Figure 3.1: Areas of Greatest Interest for Seepage beneath a Gravity Dam.

T 3T T

The mesh for the problem shown in Figure 3.2 would look similar to Figure 3.3. The

concrete structure and water upstream and downstream are not included in the finite

element mesh.

9

Figure 3.3: Example Finite Element Seepage Mesh.

Boundary Conditions

Boundary conditions must be assigned to nodes around the outer boundaries of the

mesh. One of the following three useful boundary conditions is assigned at each

boundary node:

1. q = 0, or

2. h = specified value, or

where q = seepage quantity and h = head.

The boundary condition at all interior nodes in the mesh is q = 0. The reason for this

is that total flow at any node is equal to the sum of the flows in all elements attached to

that node. For interior nodes, some flows are positive and others are negative, and

their sum is zero. Any flow that goes out of one element (negative flow) goes into

another element (positive flow), and the sum of flow at each interior node is thus zero.

Consider the problem shown in Figure 3.4. Say that the water level on the upstream

side of the structure is at an elevation of 50 feet, and the water level on the downstream

side is at an elevation of 10 feet. Appropriate boundary conditions for the problem are

shown in Figure 3.4. Detailed views of the left-hand and right-hand boundaries of the

mesh are shown in Figure 3.5 and Figure 3.6. The boundary condition on the left and

right-hand sides of the mesh can either be q = 0 or h = headwater or tail water

elevation. If the lateral boundaries are far enough from the region of interest the results

will be essentially the same for either choice. Assigning the boundary condition h =

headwater or tail water elevation to the left and right-hand boundaries is more common.

10

h = 50 h = 10

q=0

h = 10

h = 50

q=0

h = 50

h = 50

q=0

h = 10

h = 10

q=0

A free surface flow example is shown in Figure 3.7. Steady-state seepage occurs

from left to right through the embankment and underlying soil strata. Near the right-

hand boundary of the mesh, the total head (the tailwater elevation) is below the ground

surface. The appropriate boundary conditions for this problem are shown in Figure 3.8.

11

In this case, the right-hand boundary is assigned a value of total head equal to the

tailwater elevation. The boundary conditions along the top of the dam and the upper

boundary of the mesh downstream from the dam are unknown.

Tailwater elevation

h = headwater unknown

unknown

elevation

h = headwater

h = tailwater

elevation

elevation

q=0

For problems involving unconfined flow (such as the example shown in Figure 3.7),

computer programs use the boundary condition h = z (head = elevation) to determine

the location of the free surface. These computer programs can determine the location

of the free surface automatically, by iteration.

Element Types

two-dimensional seepage problems. Lower order elements (3-node triangles and 4-

node quadrilaterals) both give good results.

Mesh Refinement

12

Finite element meshes should be refined in the areas of greatest interest. Use small

elements in these areas. In areas of less importance, larger elements can be used. For

the embankment shown in Figure 3.7, hydraulic gradients are expected to be highest

around the toe of the embankment. The area of the mesh that should be the finest is

shown by the dashed ellipse in Figure 3.9.

Figure 3.9: Area of Mesh Refinement for Embankment shown in Figure 3.7.

Aspect ratios of 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 are good; 1 to 1 is ideal. Outside the area of interest

much larger aspect ratios will work fine.

Finite element analysis can also be used to calculate non-steady state, or transient,

seepage. Transient seepage conditions occur as boundary conditions change over

time. Examples include a raise in water level behind an earth dam or levee, and varying

surface infiltration on a slope caused by rainfall. Transient seepage analyses are

especially helpful for determining the amount of time required to reach steady state

following a change in boundary conditions.

permeability, some of which are difficult to define or measure. For this reason, transient

seepage analysis will not be considered in further detail in this report. These properties

include:

and the suction (negative pore pressure) in the unsaturated zone.

conductivity and suction in the unsaturated zone.

13

A measure of soil compressibility due to changes in effective stress. The pore

pressures calculated by transient seepage analyses tend to be very sensitive

to the compressibility assigned to the soil.

Most transient seepage analyses are “uncoupled”, meaning that pore pressures do

not change in response to changes in normal or shear stress. For this reason, transient

analyses do not accurately model pore pressures for design conditions like rapid

drawdown or levee flood loading. Seepage analysis must be linked with load-

deformation analysis (Chapter 4) by a complex soil model in order for these effects to

be considered.

When computing time and computer memory were at a premium, a typical finite

element mesh for a seepage problem would have contained 50 to 100 elements.

Modern computers can analyze problems that contain many more elements. A typical

mesh for a seepage problem may contain 1500 elements, or even more. Even if the

mesh contains a large number of elements, a typical laptop computer can compute the

solution within seconds.

Many commercial finite element programs are capable of analyzing steady-state and

transient seepage problems. Modern programs have automatic mesh generation

features, and users can easily develop meshes with these programs. We reviewed the

capabilities of six commercially available programs – GGU-SS-FLOW2D, PLAXIS2D,

SEEP/W, Slide, Phase2, and SVFlux. All of these programs have automatic mesh

generation tools and can perform steady-state and transient seepage analysis. In some

cases, an additional module is required for transient analyses.

14

Examples

This example shows a steady-state seepage finite element analysis of flow beneath a

gravity concrete dam. This example shows how to:

2. Determine if the values of uplift pressure and exit gradient are affected by the type

of finite element mesh used.

3. Examine how the value of hydraulic conductivity of the deep clean sand affects

the results.

A cross section through the structure is shown in Figure 3.10. The dam is 100 feet

wide and 45 feet high. It is embedded 10 feet into a layer of silty sand, which is 50 feet

thick. The silty sand lies on top of a layer of clean sand, which is 100 feet thick. The

geometry and heads are shown in Figure 3.10. The hydraulic conductivity of the silty

sand is 10-4 cm/sec. The hydraulic conductivity of the deeper clean sand is 10-2 cm/sec.

The appropriate boundary conditions for modeling the problem are shown in Figure

3.11.

15

100'

y = 180 ft.

(x, y, h)

x = 0 ft.

y = 150 ft., h = 180 ft. (100, 150, 155) 45' y = 155 ft.

(-450, 150, 180) (0, 150, 180) (550, 150, 155)

(0, 140, h)

y = 140 ft. (100, 140, h) y = 150 ft., h = 155 ft.

Silty Sand k = 10-4 cm/sec

y = 100 ft.

(-450, 100, 180) (550, 100, 155)

16

Clean Sand k = 10-2 cm/sec

y = 0 ft.

(-450, 0, 180) (550, 0, 155)

Gravity Dam.

h = 180 ft. h = 155 ft.

q=0

17

Clean Sand k = 10-2 cm/sec

This problem was analyzed using the computer program Slide. In order to perform

steady-state seepage analyses in Slide, the Groundwater Method must be set to the

Steady State FEA option. The geometry of the problem is defined using Slope Stability

mode. Then, in Steady State Groundwater mode the finite element mesh, steady-state

groundwater boundary conditions, and hydraulic conductivity values are defined. For

instruction on more specific program features see the Help Topics, available in the Help

menu of Slide.

Three different types of meshes were used for this example. The first consists of 3-

node triangles and was created using the automatic mesh generation features of Slide.

The second mesh consists of 4-node quadrilaterals (except where triangular shapes

were needed to fit the geometry) and was created using automatic mesh generation.

The third mesh consists of 4-node rectangles and was created using the Mapped Mesh

feature of Slide. The three meshes are shown in Figures 3.12, 3.13, and 3.14. Each

mesh contains approximately the same number of elements.

Each of the two meshes created using automatic mesh generation (Figures 3.12 and

3.13) was made by allowing the program to generate its own mesh for the model. The

approximate number of elements and the element type were specified in the Mesh

Setup dialog box. The program then automatically created the mesh. The mesh was

manually refined in the areas of greatest interest by increasing the number of segments

between nodes along the mesh boundaries and the number of elements.

18

Engineering Time for Mesh Generation and Refinement: ~4 min.

← To x = - 450 To x = 550 →

Computer Time for Solution: ~5 seconds

19

Figure 3.12: Screen Shot of Automatically Generated

Mesh using 3-node Triangles.

Engineering Time for Mesh Generation and Refinement: ~4 min.

← To x = - 450 To x = 550 →

Computer Time for Solution: ~5 seconds

20

Figure 3.13: Screen Shot of Automatically Generated

Mesh using 4-node Quadrilaterals.

Engineering Time for Mesh Generation and Refinement: ~10 min.

← To x = - 450 To x = 550 →

Computer Time for Solution: ~5 seconds

21

Figure 3.14: Screen Shot of Automatic “Mapped

Mesh” using 4-node Rectangles.

The Mapped Mesh (Figure 3.14) was created using more manual input. In order to

create a Mapped Mesh, the model must be divided into rectangular regions using the

Material Boundaries feature. The opposing sides of each rectangular region must have

the same number of discretizations. Once the rectangular regions were drawn, the

approximate number of elements and the element type were specified in the Mesh

Setup dialog box. After the boundaries were discretized, the discretizations were

manually adjusted so that nodal points would be closest together in the areas of

greatest interest. The mesh was subsequently generated automatically by the program,

and then the automatic Mapped Mesh function was used to generate the Mapped Mesh.

The approximate amount of time taken to generate and refine each mesh and to

compute the solution for each mesh is shown in Table 3.1. All three analyses were

performed using Slide v. 6.029 on a laptop computer with a 2.40 GHz Intel® Core™2

Duo processor with 3.46 GB of usable memory.

Calculated values of total head on the bottom of the dam and exit gradients at the

downstream end of the dam are listed in Table 3.1. The results are the same for all

three meshes. Figure 3.15 shows how the values of exit gradient were computed.

and Calculated Values of Head at Base of Dam.

Type of mesh

elements elements mesh

User time for mesh development 4 minutes 4 minutes 10 minutes

The results of these analyses demonstrate that as long as the mesh is refined

sufficiently in the areas of interest, it does not matter which element type or mesh type

is used for steady-state seepage analyses. The Mapped Mesh does have a better

appearance than the other two meshes, but mapped meshing is only needed when an

22

orderly-appearing mesh is desired. The Mapped Mesh involves more steps to create,

which increases the likelihood for mistakes. It is most convenient to use 3-node

triangles with automatic mesh generation for seepage analyses.

y = 150 ft.

B

Dam

Δy = 10 ft.

y = 140 ft. A

hA - hB

i=

Δy

23

Parametric Study

The effect of the hydraulic conductivity of the deep clean sand on the uplift pressures

and exit gradient was examined, by varying the value of hydraulic conductivity of the

deep sand from 10-1 cm/sec to 10-3 cm/sec using the 3-node triangular element mesh.

Table 3.2 shows the values of total head and hydraulic gradient for each value of the

hydraulic conductivity of the clean sand. These results show that when the hydraulic

conductivity of the deep clean sand is varied, the results do not change a great deal.

Such parametric studies can be performed easily by changing assigned property

values, and provide a very useful method of determining the sensitivity of the results to

the assigned property values.

Conductivity of Lower Layer (kupper = 10-4 cm/sec)

24

Example 2: Steady-State Seepage through a Compacted Silty Sand Embankment

analysis on a compacted silty sand embankment. This example shows how to:

2. Determine the location of the phreatic surface for an unconfined flow problem, and

an analysis.

A cross section through the embankment is shown in Figure 3.16. The embankment

is 260 feet wide at its base and 40 feet wide at its crest. The embankment is

constructed on a foundation that is considered impermeable. The top of the foundation

material is thus a no flow boundary. The total head on the left-hand side of the

embankment is 50 feet. The total head on the right-hand side of the embankment is

zero. The coordinates shown in Figure 3.16 include the horizontal and vertical

coordinates.

the hydraulic conductivity of the compacted silty sand is 10-5 centimeters per second. In

the horizontal direction, the hydraulic conductivity of the compacted silty sand is four

times as large. The hydraulic properties are summarized in Table 3.3. Values are listed

in units of centimeters per second, and feet per day, which are the units used in the

analysis.

phreatic surface. This position is affected by the hydraulic conductivity which varies in

the unsaturated zone above the phreatic surface, where pore pressures are negative

(suction). As soon as pore pressures drop below zero, the soil becomes unsaturated

and the hydraulic conductivity drops suddenly. This drop in hydraulic conductivity is

shown in Figure 3.17. Various mathematical functions are available to represent this

behavior. The same relationship is assumed to apply in the horizontal and the vertical

directions. For pore pressures greater than or equal to zero, the vertical hydraulic

conductivity is equal to 10-5 cm/sec. As pore pressure decreases from zero to -50 psf,

the value of hydraulic conductivity is assumed to decrease precipitously to one one-

hundredth of the saturated hydraulic conductivity. Note that 50 psf is equivalent to less

than one foot of water. For pore pressures less than -50 psf, the hydraulic conductivity

is equal to one one-hundredth of the saturated hydraulic conductivity in this example.

25

(x, y)

y = 60 ft.

y = 50 ft. (120, 60) (140, 60)

(100, 50)

2 Compacted Silty Sand 2

1 1

kvertical = 10-5 cm/sec

26

y = 0 ft. khorizontal = 4*10-5 cm/sec y = 0 ft.

(0, 0) No Flow Boundary (260, 0)

Impermeable

Table 3.3: Hydraulic Conductivities used in Example 2.

Property Value

kv (cm/sec) 10-5

kv (ft/day) 0.028

kh (cm/sec) 4×10-5

kh (ft/day) 0.113

ksat = 10-5 cm/sec

u = -50 psf

negative 0 positive

Pore Pressure, p

The boundary conditions used in the analysis are shown in Figure 3.18. Seepage

occurs only through the embankment, so the finite element mesh includes only the

embankment. The nodes on the bottom boundary of the mesh are assigned a zero flow

boundary condition since the foundation material is impermeable. The upstream total

head of 50 feet is assigned to the nodes on the upstream face of the embankment.

27

Above the headwater elevation on the upstream face, across the crest of the

embankment, and along the downstream face, an “initially unknown” boundary condition

was assigned.

kvertical = 0.028 ft/day

khorizontal = 0.113 ft/day

q=0

This problem was analyzed using Slide v. 6.029. The same basic program features

used to solve Seepage Example 1 were used to solve this problem. The Groundwater

Method must be set to the Steady-State FEA option. The geometry is defined in Slope

Stability Mode. The finite element mesh, steady-state groundwater boundary

conditions, and hydraulic conductivity values are all defined in Steady-State

Groundwater Mode. The anisotropy of hydraulic conductivity is specified in the Define

Hydraulic Properties dialog box. The relationship between hydraulic conductivity and

pore pressure shown in Figure 3.17 was defined using the Define New Permeability

Function option in the Define Hydraulic Properties dialog box. Slide uses matric

suction, not pore pressure, to define the variation of hydraulic conductivity in the

unsaturated zone. Instructions on more specific program features are available in the

Help Topics in the Help menu of Slide.

The finite element model created in Slide is shown in Figure 3.19. The mesh was

created with the automatic mesh generation feature using 3-node triangles. A node was

placed at (100, 50), where the reservoir surface intersects the surface of the

embankment, so that a total head of 50 feet can be assigned to the appropriate portion

of the upstream face.

28

x = 100, y = 50

29

Figure 3.19: Mesh used in Analysis; Generated

automatically using 3-node Triangles.

The analysis was performed using Slide v. 6.029 on a laptop computer with a 2.40

GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo processor with 3.46 GB of usable memory. The solution was

computed in approximately 5 seconds.

Contours of pressure head are shown in Figure 3.20. The phreatic surface is the

contour of zero pressure head. Pressure head is measured in feet of water.

Figure 3.21 shows the quantity of flow through the saturated zone of the

embankment and the quantity of flow through the unsaturated zone. The total quantity

of flow across the right-hand Discharge Section is 0.85 ft3/day. The quantity of flow

through the saturated zone is 0.79 ft3/day. The quantity of flow through the unsaturated

zone is the difference between these two quantities, 0.06 ft3/day. These quantities

involve some small approximations that are insignificant compared to the uncertainty

associated with values of permeability. The quantity of flow through the unsaturated

zone depends on the assumed value of unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. It is logical

that the flow through the unsaturated zone is much less than through the saturated zone

because the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity is so small. For a flow net, the quantity

of flow in the unsaturated zone is assumed to be zero.

The seepage quantities are ft3/day for a unit length of embankment (one foot)

measured perpendicular to the plane of the drawing in Figure 3.21, because this plane

flow analysis represents a one foot thick slice of the embankment.

30

31

Figure 3.20: Contours of Pressure

Head, in Feet of Water.

32

Figure 3.21: Discharge Sections Showing the Quantity of

Flow through the Saturated and Unsaturated Zones.

Validation

It is important to critique the results of finite element analyses. Flow nets are a

simple method of analyzing steady-state seepage problems. They can be used for

rough validation of the results of finite element analyses, even if the problem is complex.

A flow net can be drawn using the same geometry as the problem and assuming simple

conditions. Patterns of flow and head loss should be the same as the finite element

results.

The quantity of flow through the embankment in Example 2 can also be estimated

using Dupuit’s assumptions. This approximation is shown in Figure 3.22. Using this

formula, the flow through the saturated zone is estimated to be 0.88 ft.3/day per ft.,

which is very close to the finite element value, 0.79 ft.3/day per ft.

H = 50 ft. kH2

q≈

2Dt

H = total head

Figure 3.22: Estimation of Flow through the Saturated Zone of the Embankment

in Example 2 using Dupuit’s Assumptions.

Other checks on the results can be even simpler. For example, the results can be

inspected to make sure that most head loss occurs in zones of low hydraulic

conductivity. Because the geometry of Example 1 is symmetric, the uplift pressure on

the dam halfway between the heel and toe should be equal to the average of the

33

upstream and downstream heads. Another simple way to check results is to estimate

the effective stress at several points. The estimated effective stress should not be

negative at any point.

34

CHAPTER 4 – STRESSES AND MOVEMENTS

Principal Variables

Steady-state seepage problems involve only one primary variable, hydraulic head.

Load-deformation problems involve two primary variables, displacement in the x-

direction and displacement in the y-direction. There are therefore two primary

unknowns at each node. The unknown displacement in the x-direction is ux, and the

unknown displacement in the y-direction is uy, as in Figure 4.1. Forces are likewise

defined as forces in the x and y directions. When the global set of equations relating

forces and displacements is solved, values of ux and uy are obtained at each node.

Other quantities such as stresses and strains within elements are calculated from the

values of ux and uy, and the stress-strain properties of the material in the elements.

Strain (ε) is the derivative of displacement, so εx is the derivative of u with respect to x,

and εy is the derivative of u with respect to y.

uy3

y

3 ux3

uy2

uy1 ux2

2

ux1

1

x

Figure 4.1: Nodal Displacement for Triangular Element (after Figure 4.2,

Grandin 1986).

35

Shape Functions for Load-Deformation Problems

Shape functions determine how the x- and y-displacements vary within an element,

just as they do with hydraulic head. For triangular elements with three nodes, the shape

functions assume that displacement varies linearly across the element:

ux A1 A2 x A3 y (4)

u y B1 B2 x B3 y (5)

The values of A and B are constants for each element. Since the variation of

displacement within the element is linear, the strain within the element is constant.

variation of hydraulic head within quadrilaterals cannot be linear. The simplest shape

functions for quadrilaterals are:

ux A1 A2 x A3 y A4 xy (6)

u y B1 B2 x B3 y B4 xy (7)

The values of A and B are constants for each element. Since the x-displacement and

the y-displacement vary nonlinearly across quadrilaterals, the strains are not constant

within quadrilaterals. Elements with more than three or four nodes also require more

complex shape functions.

nonlinear, inelastic, and highly dependent on the state of stress. Finite element

analyses must incorporate a realistic means of approximating the stress-strain behavior

of soil in order for the analysis to produce meaningful results. Figure 4.1 shows

variation of deviator stress with axial strain for three triaxial compression tests at three

different confining pressures. The deviator stress (σ1 - σ3 ) is plotted on the vertical axis,

and axial strain (εa ) is plotted on the horizontal axis. The plot demonstrates the

nonlinear nature of soil stress-strain behavior, as well as the effect of confining

pressure.

purpose of the analysis. More complex stress-strain relationships can more accurately

model the behavior of real soils. However, if use of a less complex stress-strain

relationship can yield results that satisfy the purpose of the analysis, then there is no

36

point in using a more complex stress-strain relationship. There are many types of

stress-strain relationships, including linear elastic, hyperbolic (elastic), elastoplastic, and

elastoviscoplastic. The following sections discuss linear elastic and hyperbolic stress-

strain relationships.

High σ3

Deviator Stress, (σ1-σ3)

Intermediate σ3

Low σ3

Axial Strain, εa

(after Figure 5, Duncan et al. 1980).

can be used in load-deformation finite element analyses. The two parameters used to

define isotropic linear elastic stress-strain behavior are Young’s modulus, E:

E (8)

change in axial strain a

r (9).

change in axial strain a

37

The shear modulus, G, can be defined in terms of E and as:

E

G (10).

2 1

The linear elastic stress-strain relations can also be defined using Young’s modulus

and bulk modulus. The bulk modulus, B, is defined as

E

B (11)

2 1 3

In three mutually perpendicular directions (x, y, and z), changes in normal and shear

stress can be related to changes in strain using E, G, , and B. Only two of the four

parameters are needed. These relationships are typically expressed in terms of

increments of stress and strain because we almost always deal with conditions involving

the effect of a change in stress on a soil or rock mass that is already under stress due to

its own weight, and sometimes other loads.

Because the stress-strain behavior of real soils is nonlinear, inelastic, and stress-

dependent, linear elasticity is only a good model for soil at low stress levels and small

strains. Even for low stress levels and small strains, values of E and for soil depend

on confining pressure and deviator stress. It is therefore difficult to select a single value

of E and a single value of for a soil. Guidance for selecting values of E and for

linear elastic finite element analyses is given in CGPR Report #44, Soil and Rock

Modulus Correlations for Geotechnical Engineering (Duncan and Bursey 2007).

approximating the nonlinear, inelastic, and stress-dependent characteristics of soil

stress-strain behavior. They have been used widely in geotechnical practice. Like a

linear elastic stress-strain relationship, hyperbolic models relate stress increments to

strain increments through the generalized Hooke’s law. Unlike a linear elastic stress-

strain relationship, hyperbolic models systematically vary the values of Young’s

modulus, E and Poisson’s ratio, , or the values of Young’s modulus, E and bulk

modulus, B. By varying these two values as the stresses vary within the soil, it is

possible to model the nonlinear, inelastic, and stress-dependent characteristics of soil

behavior.

Figure 4.2 shows a typical stress-strain curve for a soil sample subjected to triaxial

compression, followed by unloading and reloading. At low strains and during unload-

38

reload, the stress-strain curve can be represented well using linear relationships.

However, most of the stress-strain curve is nonlinear. The dashed lines in Figure 4.2

show how the nonlinear stress-strain behavior can be approximated using various

moduli. The four moduli shown in Figure 4.2 are:

Ei, the initial tangent modulus, or the slope of the stress-strain curve at the origin.

Es, the secant modulus, or the slope of a line between two points on the curve.

The secant modulus is most often used based on a line connecting the origin to

some point on the stress-strain curve (in Figure 4.2, point A).

Et, the tangent modulus, or the slope of the stress-strain curve at some point (in

Figure 4.2, point A).

strain curve. For most practical purposes the slopes of the unloading and

reloading curves can be considered to be the same. Eur is typically greater than

or equal to Ei.

decrease.

39

1

1

Etangent = Et

A

Eunload-reload = Eur

= average slope of hysteresis loop

1

Hysteresis Loop

Esecant = Es

1

Axial Strain, εa

Figure 4.2: Initial Modulus, Tangent Modulus, Secant Modulus, and Unload-

Reload Modulus for constant 3 (after Figure 1, Duncan and Bursey 2007).

The hyperbolic model used in this report to approximate the stress-strain behavior of

soil is the Duncan-Chang hyperbolic model. The hyperbolic model employs nine

parameters. These parameters are listed in Table 4.1.

The first four parameters in Table 4.1 affect the shape of the stress-strain curve and

its dependence on confining pressure. The modulus number, K, together with the

modulus exponent, n, relate the initial tangent modulus, Ei, to the confining pressure, 3.

The unloading-reloading modulus number, Kur, together with the modulus exponent n,

relate the unload-reload modulus, Eur, to the confining pressure. The failure ratio, Rf,

relates the deviator stress at failure, (1 – 3)f, to the asymptotic value of deviator stress

for the hyperbola, (1 – 3)ult. The fifth and sixth parameters in Table 4.1 define the

stress-dependent volume change tendency of the soil. The bulk modulus number, Kb,

40

together with the bulk modulus exponent, m, relate the bulk modulus, B, to the confining

pressure.

Table 4.1: Summary of the Hyperbolic Parameters (after Duncan et al. 1980).

Parameter Name

K Modulus number

Kur Unloading-Reloading modulus number

n Modulus exponent

Rf Failure ratio

Kb Bulk modulus number

m Bulk modulus exponent

c Cohesion

0 Friction angle at atmospheric pressure

Reduction in for 10-fold increase in confining pressure

The hyperbolic model also depends on the shear strength parameters, c and . If a

non-linear strength envelope is required, the friction angle at atmospheric pressure, 0,

and can be used relate the friction angle to confining pressure. Constant values of

(or ’) will be used for all the analyses in this report.

The parameters employed in the hyperbolic model can be obtained from conventional

triaxial compression tests. The hyperbolic relationships can be used for both effective

stress analyses and total stress analyses. For these reasons and others, the hyperbolic

model has been used widely in geotechnical practice. Although the model has

limitations, it provides a simple and useful approach to approximating the behavior of

soil for deformation analyses.

capable of modeling the behavior of soil after failure. However, for many practical

geotechnical problems, it is not necessary to model behavior once many of the

elements in the model have reached failure. The hyperbolic model provides sufficient

41

accuracy for many geotechnical problems. A complete description of the hyperbolic

model, procedures for determining the hyperbolic parameters, and a list of parameter

values determined from drained and undrained tests on a range of soils are presented

in CGPR Report #63, Strength, Stress-Strain and Bulk Modulus Parameters for Finite

Element Analyses of Stresses and Movements in Soil Masses (Duncan et al. 1980).

various degrees of compaction are listed in Table 4.2. These conservative values were

interpreted from the compilations of data in CGPR Report #63. The values are called

‘conservative’ because they are typical of the lower values of strength and modulus, and

the higher values of unit weight for each soil type.

Table 4.2: Hyperbolic Stress-Strain and Strength Parameters for Various Soils.

RC

Unified m ϕ0 ∆ϕ c

Standard K n Rf Kb m

Classification (k/ft3) (deg.) (deg.) (k/ft2)

AASHTO

GW, GP 100 0.145 39 7 0 450 0.4 0.7 125 0.2

SW, SP 95 0.140 36 5 0 300 0.4 0.7 75 0.2

90 0.135 33 3 0 200 0.4 0.7 50 0.2

95 0.130 34 6 0 450 0.25 0.7 350 0.0

SM

90 0.125 32 4 0 300 0.25 0.7 250 0.0

85 0.120 30 2 0 150 0.25 0.7 150 0.0

95 0.130 33 0 0.4 200 0.6 0.7 100 0.5

SM-SC

90 0.125 33 0 0.3 150 0.6 0.7 75 0.5

85 0.120 33 0 0.2 100 0.6 0.7 50 0.5

95 0.130 30 0 0.3 120 0.45 0.7 110 0.2

CL

90 0.125 30 0 0.2 90 0.45 0.7 80 0.2

85 0.120 30 0 0.1 60 0.45 0.7 50 0.2

42

Initial Stresses and Displacements

Initial stresses, the stresses that exist in the ground before changes are made to a

site, are important. These existing stresses may be higher than changes in stress

imposed by construction. Knowledge of the state of stress is especially important if the

soil stress-strain behavior is modeled as nonlinear, since soil strength and stiffness vary

with confining stress.

analyzing a geotechnical problem, because the reference state for stresses cannot be

selected arbitrarily. On the other hand, the reference state for displacement can be

selected arbitrarily. Consider a site that has not been disturbed for many years. When

loads are applied to the site, displacements occur. The condition of the ground before

loads are applied can be chosen as the reference state of zero displacement. However,

the same thing cannot be done for the initial stress conditions, because the reference

state for stress must satisfy equilibrium.

The method used to initialize horizontal stresses must consider whether drained or

undrained conditions are being modeled. For drained problems, it is appropriate to use

the conventional effective stress ratio, K0 = σ’h / σ’v. If K0 is less than or equal to 1, the

corresponding Poisson’s ratio can be calculated by

K0

(12).

1 K0

Undrained analyses are solved in terms of total stress. Initial horizontal stresses

must be assigned in terms of the total stress earth pressure coefficient, K0-T = h / z,

even though the horizontal stresses are fundamentally governed by the effective stress

ratio, K0. Note that K0-T is equal to K0 where pore pressures are zero.

For conditions where the water level is coincident with the ground surface, Duncan

and Dunlop (1969) showed that

w

K 0 T K 0 1 K 0 (13)

t

where w = unit weight of water and t = saturated unit weight of the soil.

43

If the water level is below the ground surface, K0-T varies with depth and must be

assigned an appropriate average value for each soil layer. A value of Poisson’s ratio for

initializing horizontal stresses in undrained analyses can be calculated by substituting

K0-T for K0 in Eqn. 12.

In Phase2, several options are available for assigning initial stresses. These options

are Field Stress Only, Body Force Only, or Field Stress and Body Force. The material

properties used to calculate initial stresses can be linear elastic or hyperbolic. This

section of the user’s guide for Phase2 is somewhat difficult to understand. Fortunately,

it is not necessary to understand all the options.

There are two basic techniques for establishing initial stresses in Phase2:

1. Calculate initial stresses with body forces only, using linear elastic stress-strain

properties. Use an appropriate value of Poisson’s ratio, calculated using Eqn. 12.

In order for this method to be useful:

c. Assign nonlinear properties to the materials in the model after the initial

stresses have been established. These are needed to achieve reasonable

simulation of actual soil behavior.

2. Use gravity field stresses together with body forces. Displacements are non-zero

but negligibly small, and stresses are essentially correct. In order for this method

to be useful:

a. The initial ratio of horizontal to vertical stress must be well-defined. This is

feasible for level ground, but not slopes.

b. Field stresses must be assigned based on the effective stress ratio K0 for

drained analyses and K0-T for undrained analyses.

possible to achieve K0 > 1 using Option 1. Option 2 must be used to model conditions

with K0 > 1.

44

Modeling Construction Sequence

considered. This involves simulating the problem as a series of increments or stages.

Incremental analyses model changes in geometry by adding elements to the mesh or

removing elements from the mesh. An embankment can be constructed by placing soil

in sequential lifts, with each lift added as a layer of elements, as shown in Figure 4.3.

An excavation can be modeled by removing soil in increments, with each increment

involving the removal of a layer of elements, as shown in Figure 4.4.

First lift

Second lift

First layer

Second layer

The loading sequence is important because the behavior of real soils is nonlinear

and stress-dependent. In each increment, the stiffness values and stresses assigned to

each element are changed. Six to ten increments are usually sufficient to achieve

reasonable accuracy (Duncan 1996).

45

It may not be possible to model the exact construction sequence for a particular

project, and as a result some approximation may be necessary. The exact construction

procedure may not be known at the time of the analysis, and the software being used

may not give the engineer the ability to model every detail of construction. Thus, the

engineer must use their best judgment to decide which loads and construction steps are

most important. Both temporary and permanent construction loading must be

considered.

automatic mesh generation, automatic mesh refinement, and CAD-style user interfaces.

Finite element programs capable of analyzing load-deformation problems include

Phase2, Plaxis-2D, and SIGMA/W. This list is a sampling of the finite element

programs with which the authors are most familiar. These programs all have automatic

mesh generation features and can perform both linear and non-linear load-deformation

analyses.

Examples

embankment constructed on a very stiff foundation. This example illustrates how to:

used

A cross section through the embankment is shown in Figure 4.5. The embankment is

120 feet wide and 20 feet high with 2H to 1V slopes. The embankment is constructed

from sandy gravel and is supported by a foundation that can be considered

incompressible. The embankment fill has a moist unit weight of 130 pcf and an effective

stress friction angle of 40 degrees.

46

120'

2 Sandy Gravel 2

1 20' γmoist = 130 pcf, φ’ = 40° 1

Incompressible

The appropriate boundary conditions for modeling Example 3 are shown in Figure

4.6. The embankment geometry and loading are symmetric. This allows the problem to

be split in half and analyzed about the centerline, which simplifies and speeds up the

analysis. The left and right sides of the embankment will behave identically. If either

the embankment or any applied loading was asymmetric, the entire embankment would

need to be modeled.

in x

Constrained

in x and y

Constrained

in x and y

The embankment staging is shown in Figure 4.7. The 20 ft fill has been split into 10

layers, each 2 ft thick. One layer will be added in each stage of the analysis. Appendix

A contains a more detailed explanation of how to create staged models in Phase2.

47

10 layers, each

2-ft. thick

CL

y

(x, y)

(40, 20) (100, 20)

20'

(0, 0) x

(100, 0)

The stress-strain behavior of the sandy gravel fill will be represented by the

hyperbolic properties provided in Table 4.3. These properties come from triaxial tests

performed for the shell material of Mica Dam (Duncan et al. 1980). Compared to the

typical values in Table 4.2, the Mica Dam properties are similar to those for a well-

compacted gravel or sand, which is reasonable.

Each new layer of fill was placed with a constant Poisson’s ratio of 0.49 to prevent

volume change in the elements during the stage in which they are “constructed.” This

was judged to be a more realistic representation of field conditions. The fill properties

were switched to those in Table 4.3 for all subsequent stages.

Table 4.3: Hyperbolic Properties for Example 3 (from Mica Dam Shell).

The finite element mesh for the fully constructed embankment is shown in Figure 4.8.

The mapped mesh contains 410 four-node quadrilaterals. Figure 4.9 is a magnified

view of the embankment slope. Note that the elements are uniformly shaped, and

element height is equal to the layer thickness. In contrast, Figure 4.10 shows an

automatically generated mesh of 1210 four-node quadrilaterals. The elements are not

all the same shape and have a height that is about half the layer thickness.

48

49

Figure 4.8: Mesh used in Analysis;

Mapped Mesh using 4-node Quadrilaterals.

Figure 4.9: View of the Embankment Slope; Mapped Mesh of 410 4-node

Quadrilaterals.

1210 4-node Quadrilaterals.

50

Contours of vertical displacement are shown in Figure 4.11 and 4.12 for the mapped

mesh and automatically generated mesh, respectively. While the overall pattern of

displacement is the same, the mapped mesh produces a more reasonable pattern of

displacements. The automatic mesh results in a jagged variation of displacement,

which is not an accurate depiction of actual displacements. Unlike the seepage

problems in Chapter 3, a mapped or uniform mesh yields better results for load-

deformation problems.

The vertical displacements along the centerline of the embankment are plotted in

Figure 4.13. The amount of displacement that occurs at a particular elevation depends

on the amount of underlying compressible material, the load that is applied at that

elevation, and the sequence of loading. At the base of the embankment, the vertical

load is highest but the foundation is rigid and no displacement occurs. In contrast, the

greatest thickness of compressible material lies below the top elements. In a staged

finite element model, the top elements are added after the displacement from prior

stages has already occurred. These elements only experience settlement caused in the

underlying layers by the weight of the top elements. The most vertical displacement

occurs near the middle of the embankment where a significant depth of compressible fill

lies below and the soil is loaded by multiple layers of overlying fill. This important

pattern of vertical displacement can only be predicted by a staged finite element model.

If the embankment were “built” in one lift, the greatest vertical displacements would

occur at the top of the fill.

Example 3 was repeated using 20 layers and stages. Figure 4.13 also shows the

results of using 20 rather than 10 layers. A larger number of layers and stages makes

the results smoother and slightly decreases the vertical displacements. Further

reduction of the layer thickness would allow for additional refinement of the

displacements but with diminishing returns. The layer thickness in a finite element

embankment model can be practically set equal to the actual lift thickness that will be

used to construct the embankment.

51

Figure 4.11: Contours of Vertical Displacement, in Feet, for Mapped Mesh.

Generated Mesh.

52

Figure 4.13: Variation of Vertical Displacement, in Inches, versus Fill Height at

the Embankment Centerline for Construction using 10 lifts and 20 lifts.

53

Example 4: Embankment Constructed on Clay Foundation

embankment constructed on a clay foundation. This example illustrates how to:

2. Calculate initial stresses that correspond to the soil strength and stress

history and verify that these stresses are reasonable.

over a compressible foundation.

The embankment and fill properties for this example are identical to those used in

Example 3. The embankment is constructed over a 75 ft thick layer of clay with a moist

unit weight of 100 pcf as shown in Figure 4.14. The water table is at a depth of 25 ft.

Pore water pressures are assumed to be zero above the water table and hydrostatic

below.

120'

1 20' 1

γmoist = 130 pcf, φ = 40°

Clay (Undrained)

25' Depth, z

γmoist = 100 pcf

75'

Clay (Undrained)

50' γsat = 100 pcf

The variation of undrained strength with depth in the clay is shown in Figure 4.15.

The upper 25 ft is a crust of unsaturated, overconsolidated clay with an undrained

strength of 1000 psf. Below the crust, the undrained strength increases with depth at a

rate of 10 psf per foot, representing a lightly overconsolidated clay. Based on these

54

properties, K0 was assumed to be 0.8 in the crust and 0.65 in the underlying saturated

clay.

500 1000 1500 2000

25

Depth, z (feet)

50

75

Foundation.

The dimensions and boundary conditions of the finite element model are shown in

Figure 4.16 and 4.17, respectively. The left-hand vertical boundary of the foundation

soil extends three times the thickness (3×75 ft = 225 ft) beyond the embankment toe to

limit boundary effects on the calculations. The problem is symmetric and only one half

of the embankment and foundation is modeled.

55

y CL

Sandy Gravel

10 layers, each

(x, y)

2-ft. thick

(265, 95) (325, 95)

y = 75 ft. 20'

(225, 75)

(0, 75) (325, 75)

y = 50 ft. Clay

(0, 50) (325, 50)

Clay

x = 0 ft.

y = 0 ft.

(0, 0) x

(325, 0)

Figure 4.16: Model of Embankment Constructed on Clay Foundation.

Clay

Constrained

Constrained in x

in x

50' Clay

Constrained Constrained

in x and y Constrained in x and y

in x and y

The foundation clay between depths of 25 to 75 ft was split into 10 layers, each 5 ft

thick. The layers allow the undrained strength of the foundation and the stress-strain

properties to increase with depth. The layers and finite element mesh are shown in

Figure 4.18. Note that groundwater is not shown or defined because only undrained

conditions will be considered.

56

57

Figure 4.18: Mesh used in Example 4;

Mapped Mesh using 4-node Quadrilaterals.

The elements for this example will be added to the model in the following stages:

Stages 3 to 12 – Add the embankment soil in layers, one layer in each stage.

The new layer of fill has = 0.49. All other fill layers have stress-dependent

Poisson’s ratio.

foundation soil. The initial stresses must satisfy vertical equilibrium and appropriately

represent the existing (or assumed) horizontal stress state.

This example examines the undrained response of the clay foundation. Thus, the

finite element equations are solved in terms of total stress. Initial horizontal stresses

must be assigned in terms of the total stress earth pressure coefficient, K0-T = h / z,

even though the horizontal stresses are fundamentally governed by the effective stress

ratio, K0.

In the upper clay layer, the pore pressures are zero and K0-T = K0 = 0.8. Below the

water level, a value of K0-T must be determined that yields horizontal stresses

approximately equivalent to those that would result from using effective stresses and K0.

Table 4.4 shows how to calculate K0-T at the top and bottom of the saturated layer. This

calculation was repeated for multiple depths and an average K0-T of 0.75 was selected.

K0-T = h / z

(ft) (psf) (psf) (psf) (psf) (psf)

1625

25 2500 0 2500 2500 0.65 1625 1625 0 1625 0.65

2500

5967

75 7500 3120 4380 4380 0.65 2847 2847 3120 5967 0.80

7500

58

Table 4.5 provides the linear elastic stress-strain properties used to establish the

initial stresses in the clay foundation. The same Young’s modulus is used for both

layers. Young’s modulus only affects the initial displacements, which will be zeroed

prior to modeling embankment construction. Any reasonable value of E can be used.

The Poisson’s ratios correspond to the desired values of K0-T.

Stresses in the Foundation.

Soil Layer K0-T = h / v

(psf) = K0-T / (1 + K0-T)

Foundation Soil Above

0.80 250,000 0.444

the Water Table

Foundation Soil Below

0.75 250,000 0.429

the Water Table

The finite element initial stresses in the foundation soil can easily be checked, using

vertical equilibrium and the specified value of and/or K0-T. The expected vertical and

horizontal effective stresses at the midpoint of each major soil layer are compared to the

values calculated by the finite element model in Table 4.6. The finite element values

are close to the expected values, indicating that the initial stresses are reasonable.

the Finite Element Model

z (ft) Expected FEM Expected FEM

1250 1000

12.5 1250 998

(12.5 ft×100 pcf) (1250 psf × 0.8)

5000 3750

50 5000 3757

(50 ft×100 pcf) (5000 psf × 0.75)

After the initial stresses are established in Stage 1 and displacements are zeroed, the

hyperbolic stress-strain properties provided in Table 4.7 are assigned to the foundation

soil in Stage 2. No new loads are added in Stage 2.

59

Table 4.7: Hyperbolic Properties of the Foundation.

Depth, z

K Kur n Rf ν c ϕ

(ft)

0 – 25 160.0 320.0 0 0.9 0.47 1000 0

25 – 30 163.0 326.0 0 0.9 0.47 1025 0

30 - 35 174.8 349.6 0 0.9 0.47 1075 0

35 – 40 186.6 373.1 0 0.9 0.47 1125 0

40 – 45 198.3 396.7 0 0.9 0.47 1175 0

45 – 50 210.1 420.2 0 0.9 0.47 1225 0

50 – 55 221.9 443.8 0 0.9 0.47 1275 0

55 – 60 233.7 467.3 0 0.9 0.47 1325 0

60 – 65 245.4 490.9 0 0.9 0.47 1375 0

65 – 70 257.2 514.4 0 0.9 0.47 1425 0

70 - 75 269.0 538.0 0 0.9 0.47 1475 0

In Stages 3 to 12, the embankment fill is added in 2 ft thick layers. The vertical and

horizontal displacements of the embankment toe are plotted against the model stage in

Figure 4.19. The displacements start at zero for Stages 1 and 2 because these stages

are used to establish initial stresses not calculate displacement. The toe displacements

increase steadily as the embankment height increases. These movements are the

result of undrained deformation of the foundation. A more complex soil model would be

required to consider the effects of consolidation.

60

Figure 4.19: Variation of Displacements at Embankment Toe with Model Stage

and Embankment Height

The vertical displacements along the embankment centerline are plotted in Figure

4.20. The embankment crest experiences only settlement caused by adding the last

layer of fill. The displacements are highest at the base of the embankment and in the

upper portion of the foundation. In these regions, the increase in vertical stress is high

and a significant depth of compressible soil lies below. The vertical displacement is

zero at the base of the clay where the foundation is incompressible.

61

Figure 4.20: Variation of Vertical Displacement versus Elevation along the

Embankment Centerline.

This example shows how to model the undrained deformations associated with an

excavation in clay. The lessons illustrated by this example include:

Figure 4.21 is a section view of the excavation for this example. The excavation is 20

ft deep and 60 ft wide. Both unbraced and braced conditions are considered. The

excavation support consists of a 25 ft deep sheet pile retaining wall installed prior to

excavation and two levels of struts, one at a depth of 2 ft and the other at a depth of 12

ft. The foundation soil is the same as Example 4.

62

Half-width of

Excavation

CL

A Strut

Clay (Undrained) 20'

25' γmoist = 100 pcf Strut Depth of

B Excavation

C

Clay (Undrained)

50' γsat = 100 pcf

The coordinates of the finite element model are shown in Figure 4.22. The

excavation is modeled in stages to accommodate non-linear soil response. The soil

elements are excavated in layers two feet thick. For the braced conditions, struts are

installed at elevations 63 and 73 ft.

The full excavation width is modeled in this example, even though the excavation is

symmetric. This is required to appropriately represent the struts in Phase2. If the

cross-section were split at the centerline, the struts would have to be fixed to locations

outside of the model space, which is not allowed by Phase2. Some finite element

programs may allow this type of constraint for structural support. The boundary

conditions for Example 5 are shown in Figure 4.23.

The finite element mesh used for Example 5 is shown in Figure 4.24. The material

properties for the foundation soil layers are provided in Tables 4.5 and 4.7.

63

y

Sheet Pile 2-ft. thick Sheet Pile

y = 75 ft.

(225, 75) (285, 75)

(0, 75) Strut at 73' (510, 75)

y = 50 ft. Clay Strut at 63' Clay

(225, 55) (285, 55)

(0, 50) (510, 50)

64

x = 0 ft. Clay

y = 0 ft.

(0, 0) x

(510, 0)

Sheet Pile Sheet Pile

60'

Strut

25' Clay Strut 20' Clay

Constrained

Constrained

in x

in x

50' Clay

Constrained Constrained

in x and y Constrained in x and y

in x and y

ft is equal to 2su/ (2×1000 psf/100 pcf). This indicates that the unbraced excavation

should be temporarily stable but does not guarantee acceptably small deformations.

each stage.

Phase2 as shown in Figure 4.25. It is important to understand that the finite element

solution using hyperbolic properties is an iterative process. A convergence error

message occurs in Phase2 whenever the calculations do not converge with an error

below a specified tolerance level in a specified number of iterations. When this occurs,

it is necessary to closely examine the results. In some cases, the lack of convergence

is small and does not produce inaccurate or unreasonable results. In other cases,

large, unreasonable displacements occur with convergence errors. Judgment is

required to distinguish between the two situations. In either case, it is good to try to

determine why the finite element model is not converging.

65

66

Figure 4.24: Mesh Used in Analyses of Unbraced Excavation;

Mapped Mesh using 4-node Quadrilaterals.

For the unbraced excavation in Example 5, the convergence problem was assessed

using the movement of Point A (top corner of the unbraced excavation). The horizontal

displacement of Point A is plotted against excavation depth in Figure 4.26. As the depth

exceeds 8 ft, the displacements begin to get large. The analysis was aborted after the

excavation reached 10 ft deep.

Sheet Piles, Struts, or Tensile Strength Assigned to the Clay.

the Unbraced Excavation - No Tensile Strength Assigned to the Clay.

67

As indicated in Figure 4.26, small amounts of tensile stress began to develop in the

elements near the excavation when the excavation depth reached 6 ft. Tensile strength

was not initially assigned to the soil, and any tension was interpreted by Phase2 as

failure. This caused the elements to begin to yield and deform in a plastic manner,

which resulted in the large displacements and lack of convergence.

conditions in clay soils. One possible option for the undrained strength envelope is

shown in Figure 4.27. The tensile stress is limited to a value equal to the undrained

strength, Su. The unbraced excavation analysis converges when tensile stresses are

allowed. Figure 4.28 shows values of 3 in the soil adjacent to an unbraced excavation

of 14 ft. At this excavation depth, a zone of small tensile stress has developed about 10

ft back from face of the excavation.

Su = 1000 psf, φu = 0

σ

σt

Figure 4.27: Undrained Strength Envelope that Includes Tensile Strength.

68

69

Figure 4.28: Values of σ3 in the Soil Adjacent to the Excavation;

Unbraced Excavation Model with Tensile Strength Assigned to the Clay.

The finite element mesh and structural elements for the braced excavation are shown

in Figure 4.29. The sheet pile retaining wall and struts are modeled using beam

elements in Phase2. Other programs will have similar types of structural elements. The

elastic properties, cross-sectional area, and moment of inertia (if applicable) of the

structural members are summarized in Table 4.8. The struts are intended to model a

pinned connection that develops no moment. The axial load in the struts is the

parameter of interest so the area of the strut is not important.

Poisson’s Ratio

(in.2/ft) (in.4/ft) (ksi)

Sheet Pile

7.94 184.2 29,000 0.3

(PZ-27)

Stage 3 – Turn on beam elements that represent the sheet pile retaining wall.

each stage.

ft) and Stage 11 (after excavation from elevation 63 to 61 ft).

Contours of horizontal displacement are plotted in Figure 4.30 for the full excavation

depth of 20 ft. Horizontal displacements vary from about 0.1 inches to about 0.6 inches

at the base of the excavation. No horizontal movement occurs at the center of the

excavation, as expected.

70

71

Figure 4.29: Mesh Used in Analysis of Braced Excavation;

Mapped Mesh using 4-node Quadrilaterals.

72

Figure 4.30: Contours of Horizontal Displacement, in inches,

Braced Excavation

The deflection of the sheet pile retaining wall is shown in Figure 4.31 for four of the

stages of excavation. Horizontal displacement is plotted against depth along the sheet

pile. The first strut is installed at a depth of 2 ft just before excavation to a depth of 6 ft.

The strut restricts additional movement at that depth for all subsequent stages.

Similarly, the second strut is installed at a depth of 12 ft before excavation to 16 ft. The

second strut provides support at 12 ft for the remaining stages. This plot confirms that

the structural support is behaving as expected.

Four Stages of Excavation

73

The strut loads are summarized in Table 4.9. The upper strut is installed in Stage 6

just before excavation to a depth of 6 ft. As the excavation proceeds, the load in the

upper strut increases until Stage 11 when the lower strut is installed. From Stage 11 to

13, the load in the upper strut decreases and the load in the lower strut increases. This

pattern of loading makes sense.

Stage

(ft) Upper Strut (2 ft) Lower Strut (12 ft)

6 6 984

7 8 1937

8 10 2813 Not installed

9 12 3719

10 14 4627

11 16 4043 3238

12 18 3399 6400

13 20 2775 9494

Contours of vertical displacement at the end of the excavation process are plotted in

Figure 4.32. The analysis indicates heave (upward movement) in the center of the

excavation and behind the retaining wall for about 10 ft. This is the result of vertical

stress relief from the excavation. Away from the excavation, a small amount of

settlement is predicted in reaction to the upward movement at the excavation.

The soil at the bottom of the excavation acts as a third support for the sheet pile wall.

The toe of the wall moves toward the center of the excavation as shown in Figure 4.31.

As it does so, the forces necessary to support the wall develop in the soil. Since =

0.47, the soil will respond in a nearly undrained (no volume change) fashion, bulging

upward in response to the horizontal movement at the toe of the wall. This explains the

localized upward movement of about 2.5 inches shown in Figure 4.32.

74

75

Figure 4.32: Contours of Vertical Displacement, in inches,

Braced Excavation

CHAPTER 5 – STABILITY ANALYSES

Recently, the finite element method has become a popular tool for stability analyses,

particularly for slopes. A brief summary of the strength reduction analysis method is

provided here along with an example to illustrate its application

analysis with the finite element method. Two features distinguish this type of analysis

from those in the previous chapters.

First, strength reduction analysis requires the use of a constitutive model for the soil

that includes plasticity. Most often, the soil is assumed to be linear elastic, perfectly

plastic. This means that the soil respond as a linear elastic material until the shear

strength is reached. The shear strength cannot be exceeded in any element, and the

excess loads are spread out to surrounding elements. Plastic deformation and high

strains will occur if the failure stress is sustained on an element.

Second, strength reduction analysis is an iterative method with respect to the soil

strength. The shear strength of the soil is systematically divided by a strength reduction

factor, SRF, such that

c tan

cSRF and tanSRF (14).

SRF SRF

where cSRF and SRF are the shear strength parameters for each iteration of the analysis.

For each value of SRF, the finite element equations are solved for equilibrium.

Overstressed elements will yield and redistribute stress to other elements in the

analysis. The finite element analysis is repeated until the value of SRF corresponding

to failure is determined.

Many different definitions of failure have been suggested for strength reduction

analysis as summarized by Griffiths and Lane (1999). The simplest and most common

method defines failure as the point where the finite element solution no longer

converges. At this point, some of the elements in the analysis begin to deform without

limit. This definition of failure is illustrated conceptually in Figure 5.1.

76

Figure 5.1: Non-convergence failure criterion for strength reduction analysis

Example 6

A simple example from taken from Griffiths and Lane (1999) is repeated in this

section. The 2H:1V slope is 20 ft high and is built on a strong, rigid foundation. The soil

has a moist unit weight of 125 pcf and has drained strength parameters ’ = 20 deg and

c’ = 125 psf. Pore pressures are assumed to be zero.

The limit equilibrium factor of safety for this slope is 1.38 using Spencer’s method.

The critical noncircular failure surface (found using Slide v.6.0) is shown in Figure 5.2.

The stability analysis of this simple slope was repeated using Phase2. The following

properties and settings were used in the analysis:

Initial stresses determined using the Field Stress and Body Force option in

Phase2 with Total Stress K = 1

77

Maximum number of iterations = 1000

The results of the strength reduction analysis are shown in Figure 5.3. Contours of

maximum shear strain are plotted. The zone of warmer colors is the zone of high shear

strain. Comparing with Figure 5.2, the zone of highest shear strain matches the critical

failure surface from limit equilibrium analysis very well.

Figure 5.3: Contours of Maximum Shear Strain from a Finite Element Strength

Reduction Analysis of Example 6

78

The maximum calculated displacement is plotted against strength reduction factor in

Figure 5.4. The critical value of SRF was found to be 1.38, which is the same as the

limit equilibrium factor of safety for this slope. Below the critical value, the

displacements increase very slightly as the SRF increases and the finite element model

converges to a solution. For strength reduction factors higher than the critical value, the

displacements are much higher and the analysis does not converge to a solution.

equilibrium analyses are:

1. The failure surface does not need to be chosen or specified by the user. The

critical failure zone develops through the most highly stressed zones.

2. Assumptions regarding the location and orientation of side forces on slices are

not required.

79

3. Deformations can be predicted under working loads. This is only true if

representative stress-strain parameters are used. It should be noted that the

strength reduction method is typically performed with linear elastic, perfectly

plastic properties, which may not accurately model real soil behavior.

1. The method is not as well understood as limit equilibrium because it has not

been in use for as long. This limitation will diminish as the geotechnical

engineering community continues to gain experience with the use of finite

elements for stability analysis.

2. The second major drawback is the lack of a distinct definition of failure. The

most common definition of failure is non-convergence of the finite element

solution.

Finite element strength reduction analyses can be a useful way to evaluate stability of

geotechnical problems. The following guidelines are provided for performing these

analyses. Many of these guidelines come from Griffiths and Lane (1999).

Use linear elastic, perfectly plastic soil stress-strain properties, especially if the

analysis is primarily to assess stability and not deformation.

Assign reasonable values of E and to the soil. The specific values should

not affect the results significantly.

Use a relatively fine mesh with at least 1500 nodes. Coarser meshes can

result in inaccurate values of the critical strength reduction factor.

hand calculations.

80

CHAPTER 6 – GUIDELINES AND LESSONS LEARNED

This section provides a brief summary of the major points of each chapter of this

report.

Fundamentals

The finite element method solves complex problems by dividing a physical body

into small elements that are connected to each other at nodes.

Finite element analyses use sets of equations to solve for the variation of a

primary variable through the physical body. The primary variable is usually

hydraulic head or displacement in geotechnical problems.

Seepage

Modeling

Finer mesh should be used in areas of greatest interest, e.g. beneath a gravity

structure or at the landside toe of a levee.

Provided the mesh is properly refined, steady state seepage analyses are not

sensitive to the type of elements or mesh generation method (automatic vs.

uniform/mapped).

Parametric studies of the effects of varying hydraulic conductivity are very easy

to perform with finite element analyses.

Analysis of unconfined flow in modern seepage programs requires the user to

define how the hydraulic conductivity changes with negative pore pressure

(matric suction).

Validation

to analytical solutions.

The total head at the midpoint of symmetric confined seepage problems should

be equal to the average of the upstream and downstream heads.

81

Load Deformation

Stress-Strain Properties

nonlinear, inelastic, and highly dependent on the state of stress. Finite element

analyses must incorporate a realistic means of approximating the stress-strain

behavior of soil in order for the analysis to produce meaningful results.

Linear elastic stress-strain relations require only two parameters to define.

However, it is difficult to select single values of these parameters that represent

soil well over a range of confining pressures and deviator stresses.

Hyperbolic stress-strain relationships are a convenient and practical means for

approximating the nonlinear, inelastic, and stress-dependent characteristics of

soil stress-strain behavior. Hyperbolic stress-strain parameters can be

determined from the results of triaxial compression tests.

Soil shear strength and stress-strain properties must correspond to each other

and to the field conditions.

It is reasonable to allow a small amount of tensile strength when modeling

undrained conditions in clay soils.

For undrained analyses, a total stress value of K0 must be used to initialize

horizontal stresses.

Stress-Strain Modeling

geometry at a centerline and modeling only one half of the problem.

The initial stress state cannot be selected arbitrarily. It must satisfy equilibrium

and should appropriately model horizontal stresses.

Finite element analyses that use non-linear stress-strain properties must model

the construction and/or loading sequence in order to produce good results.

Embankments can be modeled by adding elements in stages. Excavations can

be modeled by removing elements in stages.

Staged, non-linear, stress-strain calculations are sensitive to the configuration of

the finite element mesh. A mesh with well-ordered, uniformly sized elements will

produce results that are smoother and more reasonable, compared to

automatically generated, less orderly mesh.

A staged finite element model is required to predict the correct pattern of

displacements.

82

Finite element models with non-linear stress-strain properties are solved

iteratively. Sometimes, programs may fail to find a solution that meets the

convergence criteria for a particular stage or group of stages. The reason for

lack of convergence should be investigated. Judgment is required to see

whether or not a serious problem exists.

Structural finite elements can be used to model excavation support systems.

Validation

Patterns of soil and structural displacement should be assessed see if they are

reasonable.

Stability Analysis

The finite element method is increasingly being used to determine the stability of

geotechnical problems, particularly slopes.

Finite element strength reduction analysis uses plastic stress-strain properties

and reduces the strength of the soil systematically until failure is reached.

Failure in a strength reduction analysis is most often defined as the point where

the finite element solution no longer can converge.

83

REFERENCES

Adib, M., Mitchell, J. K., and Christopher, B. (1990). “Finite element modeling of

reinforced soil walls and embankments.” Proc., Design and Performance of Earth

Retaining Structures, ASCE, Ithaca, NY, 409-423.

soil-bentonite cutoff walls using the finite element method.” Proc., GeoDenver

2007 – New Peaks in Geotechnics, ASCE, Denver, CO, GSP No. 163, 1-10.

Clough, G. W. and Duncan, J. M. (1969). “Finite element analyses of Port Allen and Old

River Locks,” Report No. TE 69-3, Office of Research Services, University of

California, Berkeley, CA (see also Journal of the Soil Mechanics and

Foundations Division, ASCE, August 1971).

Crawford, C. B., Jitno, H., and Byrne, P. M. (1994). “Influence of lateral spreading on

settlements beneath a fill.” Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 31(2), 145-150.

Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, ASCE, 95(SM2), 467-

492.

Duncan, J. M., Byrne, P. M., Wong, K. S., and Mabry, P. (1980). Strength, Stress-

Strain, and Bulk Modulus Parameters for Finite Element Analyses of Stresses

and Movements in Soil Masses, CGPR #63, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 85

pp.

embankments.” Computers and Geotechnics, 6(2), 77-93.

Duncan, J. M. (1996). “State of the art: limit equilibrium and finite element analysis of

slopes.” Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 122(7), 577-596.

Duncan, J. M., and Bursey, A. (2007). Soil and Rock Modulus Correlations for

Geotechnical Engineering, CGPR #44, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 88 pp.

piled bridge abutment in plane strain FEM analyses.” Computers and

Geotechnics, 28(2), 79-98.

Grandin, H. (1986). Fundamentals of the finite element method, Macmillan, New York,

NY.

Griffiths, D. V., and Lane, P. A. (1999). “Slope stability analysis by finite elements.”

Geotechnique, 49(3), 387-403.

84

Hammah, R., Yacoub, T., Corkum, B., and Curran, J. (2005). “A comparison of finite

element slope stability analysis with conventional limit-equilibrium investigation.”

Proc., 58th Canadian Geotechnical and 6th Joint IAH-CNC and CGS

Groundwater Specialty Conferences–GeoSask, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Hossain, S., Omelchenko, V., and Mahmood, T. (2009). “Case history of geosynthetic

reinforced segmental retaining wall failure.” Electronic Journal of Geotechnical

Engineering, 14 C.

Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, CA.

excavation in Boston.” Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 119(1), 69-90.

85

APPENDIX A STAGED EMBANKMENT CONSTRUCTIONS IN PHASE2

This example shows how to create an embankment model in stages in Phase2. The

objective of this example is to model construction of the embankment in Example 3. It

is assumed that the reader understands Phase2’s terminology and general operation

but is unfamiliar with the procedure for modeling staged construction.

2

1 Sandy Gravel 20'

Analysis Steps

a. Draw the model as shown in Figure A-1 in Phase2 Modeler. Locate the

lower left hand corner of the model at (0, 0). The model will look like

Figure A-2.

to 10. Stage tabs will appear at the bottom of the Modeler window.

86

c. Create a Stage Boundary at 2-foot increments between the base and the

crest. The model will now look like Figure A-3.

d. Specify the material properties listed in Table A-1. Figure A-4 shows the

proper specification of hyperbolic properties for the embankment. For this

set of material properties:

i. Soil Total Unit Weight: 130 pcf

ii. Initial Element Loading: Body Force Only

iii. Material Type: Plastic

Parameter Value

K 420

Kur 504

n 0.5

Rf 0.78

Kb 125

m 0.46

c 0

ϕ 40

87

Figure A-4: Specification of Hyperbolic Properties for the Embankment.

a. Select the Stage 1 tab.

b. Under Properties, click Assign Properties…

c. Select Excavate at the bottom of the Assign window as shown in Figure A-

5. As long as this window is open, the elements in a region bounded by a

Material Boundary or Stage Boundary can be “excavated” from the model.

This means that the elements will not be used as part of the model for the

current stage or subsequent stages. Material that is mistakenly

“excavated” can be re-assigned to the model by selecting a material in the

Assign window.

88

Figure A-5: Assign Window in Phase2.

d. With Excavate selected and the model on the Stage 1 tab, click on the top

nine layers of the model. These areas will turn white for this stage and all

subsequent stages. The model should now look like Figure A-6.

89

e. Now, the rest of the embankment must be constructed by adding one lift at

a time in Stages 2 through 10. Click on Material 1 (named “Embankment”

in previous figures) in the Assign window.

i. Click on the Stage 2 tab and click in the second layer of the

embankment to turn the elements on.

ii. Repeat through Stage 10.

3. Discretize and Mesh

a. This example will not cover the details of Mapped Meshing. See Appendix

B for details on creating an Automatic Mapped Mesh.

b. Discretize and mesh the model.

c. Assign the boundary conditions shown in Figure A-1 to the model.

d. An appropriate mesh for this model is shown in Figure A-7. The mesh

consists of uniform, “mapped” 4-node quadrilaterals, and triangular

shapes where needed. There is one layer of elements per lift.

Figure A-7: Mapped Mesh and Boundary Conditions for the Embankment

Model.

90

APPENDIX B INITIAL STRESSES IN LEVEL GROUND IN PHASE2

This example shows how to implement Option 1 for calculating initial stresses in

Phase2. The objective of this example is to model stress conditions in the clay

foundation in Example 4. The clay foundation is shown in Figure B-1. It is assumed

that the reader understands Phase2’s terminology and general operation but is

unfamiliar with the options for calculating initial stresses.

75'

γsat = 100 pcf, K0 = 0.65

Analysis Steps

a. Draw the model as shown in Figure B-1 in Phase2 Modeler. Locate the

lower left corner of the model at (0, 0).

b. Under Analysis / Project Settings / Stages, add a 2nd stage to the model.

that the foundation soil below the water table is divided into 10 horizontal

layers.

91

e. Define two soil types with the material properties listed in Table B-1. For

each of the two materials listed in Table B-1:

Stresses in the Clay Foundation in Stage 1.

Young’s Poisson’s

Soil Layer c (psf) ϕ

Modulus, E (psf) Ratio,

Foundation Soil Above

250,000 0.44 1000 0

the Water Table

Foundation Soil Below

250,000 0.43 1250 0

the Water Table

Figure B-2 shows the proper specification of linear elastic material properties for the

foundation soil above the water table. Note that the Stage Properties checkbox is

selected. This will be discussed later in the procedure.

92

Figure B-2: Specification of Linear Elastic Material Properties for the

Foundation Soil above the Water Table.

f. Define eleven additional soil types using the material properties listed in

Table B-2. For each of the materials listed in Table B-2:

93

Table B-2: Hyperbolic Parameters Assigned to the Clay Foundation in Stage 2

after Initial Stresses are Calculated.

Depth, z

K Kur n Rf c ϕ

(ft)

0 – 25 160.0 320.0 0 0.9 0.47 1000 0

25 – 30 163.0 326.0 0 0.9 0.47 1025 0

30 - 35 174.8 349.6 0 0.9 0.47 1075 0

35 – 40 186.6 373.1 0 0.9 0.47 1125 0

40 – 45 198.3 396.7 0 0.9 0.47 1175 0

45 – 50 210.1 420.2 0 0.9 0.47 1225 0

50 – 55 221.9 443.8 0 0.9 0.47 1275 0

55 – 60 233.7 467.3 0 0.9 0.47 1325 0

60 – 65 245.4 490.9 0 0.9 0.47 1375 0

65 – 70 257.2 514.4 0 0.9 0.47 1425 0

70 - 75 269.0 538.0 0 0.9 0.47 1475 0

Figure B-3 shows the proper specification of hyperbolic material properties for the

foundation soil above the water table (z = 0 to 25 ft).

94

Figure B-3: Specification of Hyperbolic Material Properties for the Foundation

Soil above the Water Table (z = 0 to 25 ft).

Table B-1 to Stage 1 of the model by selecting the checkbox This Stage

Only.

after Stage 1.

Select these options under Mesh / Mesh Setup…

b. Discretize the model and then under Mesh / Custom Discretize, discretize

the model so that the entire mesh will consist of 1 ft. square elements.

The number of discretizations for each line segment should equal the

length of the segment.

95

c. Mesh the model. The mesh will initially consist of irregularly shaped

elements.

option. The mesh should change so that every element is a 1 ft. square.

If it does not, one or more of the boundaries must be discretized

incorrectly.

a. Under Analysis / Project Settings / Stress Analysis, make sure that the

Use Effective Stress Analysis option is not checked. The analysis will be

performed in terms of total stress.

Properties / Define Materials… An easy way to verify this is to select the

checkbox Show only properties used in model.

b. For each material defined by the user, select the Stage Properties

checkbox. Then, for each material, click Define Factors... The Staged

Material Properties dialog box opens, which is shown in Figure B-4.

c. For each material, make sure that Reset Element Stress When Material

Changes to This Material is unchecked. This ensures that the stresses

calculated in Stage 1 are not reset when hyperbolic properties are

assigned in Stage 2.

96

Figure B-4: Staged Material Properties Dialog Box.

5. Analyze the finite element model using Compute. After computation is complete,

open the results in the Interpret program.

6. Under Query / Add Material Query, create a query from (162, 75) to (162, 0) in

Stage 2. Using the query:

a. Find the total vertical and horizontal stresses at 1-foot intervals from (162,

75) to (162, 0).

Discussion of Results

The analysis in Example 4 was performed in terms of total stress, so the initial

stresses are total stresses. The total stress ratio, K0-T, must be used. K0-T is equal to K0

above the water table because pore pressure is zero. As discussed in Chapter 4, K0-T

can be defined for cases where the water table is at the ground surface by

w

K 0 T K 0 1 K 0 (B-1).

sat

In Example 4 and this appendix, the water table is below the ground surface and K0-T

is not constant in the saturated clay. An average value of 0.75 was selected for the

calculation of initial stresses for this example.

97

The Poisson’s ratios assigned in Stage 1 model stress conditions according to the

relationship:

K 0 T

(B-2).

1 K 0 T

Equation B-2 was used to calculate the Poisson’s ratios in Table B-1, using K0-T

values of 0.8 and 0.75 for the clay above and below the water level, respectively.

The expected initial stresses are shown in Figure B-5. The total horizontal stresses

calculated by Phase2 are plotted with the expected values in Figure B-6. The values

calculated by Phase2 compare well with the expected values. The values calculated by

Phase2 are slightly different than the expected values because the Poisson’s ratio was

defined in Phase2 using only two significant digits.

98

Figure B-6: Comparison of Expected Values of Horizontal Stress and Values

Calculated by Phase2.

As expected, the stresses do not change from Stage 1 to Stage 2, since they are

calculated in Stage 1 using linear elastic soil properties and are not reset when

hyperbolic properties are assigned to the model. Phase2 can calculate illogical results

in some places, such as at the external boundaries of the model. As expected, the

vertical displacement at the ground surface is zero, since displacements were reset

after Stage 1.

99

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