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GEO-SLOPE International Ltd, Calgary, Alberta, Canada www.geo-slope.


Comparison with Stability Chart

1 Introduction
In the 1960’s, Bishop and Morgenstern developed a series of stability charts that can be used to estimate
the factors of safety for simple homogeneous earth slopes. The purpose of this detailed example is to
compare and verify the SLOPE/W solution with a factor of safety estimated using stability charts.
Features of this simulation include:

• Analysis method: Morgenstern-Price (Half-sine function)

• Use of Ru coefficients
• Use of Entry and Exit slip surfaces
• SI units

2 Configuration and setup

Figure 1 shows a homogeneous 4:1 slope with c’= 12.5 kN/m2, φ’ = 20°, γ = 16 kN/m3, and Ru=0.35.

Figure 1 Homogeneous slope example

3 Solution from Bishop and Morgenstern’s Stability Chart

Using the stability chart method, the factor of safety, F may be determined from the expression:

F = m − n ru

In which m and n are know as stability coefficients. m is the factor of safety with respect to total stresses
when no pore water pressures are assumed, and n is the coefficient which represents the effect of the pore
pressure on the factor of safety.
For this example, the height of the slope from crest to toe is 31 m. Therefore, the dimensionless parameter

c′ 12.5
= = 0.025
γ H 16 × 31

SLOPE/W Example File: Comparison with stability chart.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 1 of 2
GEO-SLOPE International Ltd, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

The appropriate D factor for Ru = 0.35 is 1.25. The stability coefficients from the Bishop and Morgenstern
charts are m = 1.97 and n = 1.78. Therefore, the factor of safety of the slope using stability charts is
calculated as:

F = 1.97 − 1.78 x 0.35

F = 1.35

4 SLOPE/W Solutions
The same slope is analyzed with SLOPE/W. The sliding mass contains 30 slices. Figure 2 illustrates the
slope modeled with SLOPE/W.

5 6
Elevation (m)



3 4


1 2
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150

Distance (m)
Figure 2 Critical slip surface of homogeneous slope

The factor of safety computed by SLOPE/W is 1.34 for both the Bishop Simplified method and the
Morgenstern-Price method. This is in close agreement with 1.35 as estimated from the stability charts.

5 Conclusion
SLOPE/W gives essentially the same factor of safety as the solution based on Bishop and Morgenstern’s
Stability Chart stability chart. This simple example confirms that SLOPE/W is formulated correctly.

SLOPE/W Example File: Comparison with stability chart.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 2 of 2