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th

International Conference of

International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics (IACMAG)

1-6 October, 2008

Goa, India

Differences between LE and FE Methods used in Slope Stability

Evaluations

K. P. Aryal

Norwegian Public Road Administration, Region West, Norway

Key words: Slope stability evaluations, LE and FE analysis, inter-slice force function, line of thrust

ABSTRACT: A comparative study between Finite Element (FE) and Limit Equilibrium (LE) analyses is presented

in this paper. The most advanced FE methods have today many advantages compared to the traditional LE

methods that are applied in slope stability evaluations. Additionally, the study compares the results obtained from

various LE based methods. For the purpose, a simple dry slope is analysed with both surcharged and earthquake

loads in LE based computer programs, SLOPE/W and SLIDE, and FE based software, PLAXIS. Morgenstern-

Price (M-P) method is chosen, among LE methods, as the basis for comparison with PLAXIS. Moreover, a

discussion is presented among LE methods that basically differ from their assumptions to define the inter-slice

force function which relates to the localised normal and shear forces. Additionally, the position of line of thrust,

defined in LE based Janbu’s Generalized Procedure of Slices (GPS method), is studied in PLAXIS and SLIDE.

The comparative study shows that the inter-slice force function can neither be a constant nor a well-defined

function as often assumed in most of the LE based methods . This function rather depends on the geometry of the

slope and the applied loading conditions. For the same inputs and geometry, the assumed function in both

SLOPE/W and SLIDE considerably differs from the computed inter-slice force function in PLAXIS. This

difference may cause variation in localised normal and shear forces and thus have an effect in the factor of safety

(FOS). Several other studies show that the LE based Morgenstern-Price method may compute higher FOS

compared to the results obtained from FE analysis, for example in PLAXIS (Aryal 2006). This variation may

range from 5%, for dry slopes, to 15%, for fully saturated slopes without any external loads. Even larger

variations in FOS can be computed if a slope is loaded with external loads, such as surcharges and earthquakes,

in fully saturated condition.

1 Introduction

Slope stability analyses have been carried out by limit equilibrium (LE) methods since mid 1930’s . Since then,

many LE methods have been developed and some of them are still applicable in professional practice. Some LE

methods are not i n use because of their limitations . One of the fundamental differences among the LE methods is

the applied equilibrium conditions. Some methods consider only force equilibrium or moment equilibrium, while

the other methods consider both equilibrium conditions. Another difference is in the assumptions made for the

computation of inter-slice forces in different LE methods. In other words, some methods consider only normal

force and others consider both normal and tangential forces acting in a slice. Therefore, only few LE methods are

regarded as suitable methods in real practice. Bishop’s simplifi ed method, developed in mid 1950s’, is based on

the moment equilibrium condition. This method computes closer solution for circular shear surface analysis (Aryal

2006), which is mainly the case in clay dominated slopes . On the other hand, Janbu’s simplified/corrected

method is based on the force equilibrium condition. This method is particularly useful in composite shear

surfaces, which is the case in layered soils. An ideal solution can be obtained in this method if the shear surface

is plane, just like the plane failure in rock, where the sliding takes place without any inter-slice movements (Aryal,

2006).

The most common LE methods consider both force and moment equilibrium conditions . Similarly, these methods

consider both inter-slice forces (tangential and normal) and are applicable for any type of shear surfaces . Among

these methods, Morgenstern-Price (M-P) method and Janbu’s generalized method, i.e. generalized procedure of

slices (GPS method), are most common. In these methods, the entire sliding mass is divided into reasonable

number of slices and the inter-slice forces are computed based on an assumed inter-slice force functional

relationship. These inter-slice forces, normal and tangential, are assumed in each and every slice. These forces

are computed based on the assumed functional rel ationship. The final solution of the factor of safety can only be

obtained by an iterative procedure (Janbu 1957).

Today, due to the advancement of powerful computers, stability computations have been equally possible and

have become rather simple by the development of finite element (FE) codes. Such codes have been widely

4509

Figure 1. Illustration of forces that can be considered in LE methods

appli ed in geotechnical engineering fields including in the slope stability evaluations. Among many other FE

codes, PLAXIS is the one which has been applied in this study and the obtained results are compared with LE

based methods mainly with M-P method.

2 Limit equilibrium methods

2.1 The inter-slice force function

The terminology, inter-slice force function, is very common in all advanced LE methods. The function is defined

as the ratio of tangential to normal forces acting on a slice. This function is generally assumed prior to the

computations and thus the magnitude of the inter-slice forces may differ according to the assumed function.

Janbu’s GPS method (1957) relates the function to the inclination of the line of thrust. Similarly, Morgenstern-

Price method (1965) assumes an arbitrary function; f(x), with a scale factor (λ). Likewise, Spencer (1967)

assumes a constant function thought out the entire sliding surface. However, Sarma (1973) relates the

relationship similar to the Mohr-Coulomb expression for shear strength.

Moreover, the function in Lowe-Karafiath (1960) method is assumed as a tangent to the average inclination of the

slope and the sliding surface. However, the Corps of Engineers ’ method (1970) considers the function as an

average angle of the entry and exit points of the sliding surface. These assumptions of the inter-slice force

function have been summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. Inter-slice forces and relationships used in LE methods (Aryal 2006)

Morgenstern – Price method T = f(x) λ E

Janbu’s generalized method tan ( / )

t t

T E h dE dx α · −

Lowe-Karafiath method T = E tanθ, where θ = ½(α + β)

Corps of Engineers’ method T = E tanθ, where θ = ½(α1 + α2)

Sarma’s method tan T ch E φ · +

Spencer’s method T = E tanθ

2.2 The line of thrust

This terminology, line of thrust, is defined in Janbu’s GPS method by joining the points of application of the

resultant of inter-slice forces for all slices . According to Janbu (1957), this line of thrust may fluctuate from 1/3 to

2/3 of the slice height from the base in active and passive conditions respectively.

Thus the assumption for the inter-slice force function in GPS method depends on the inclination of the line of

thrust (αt) and the tangent of the inter-slice normal force (dE/dx) as defined in Table 1. The line of thrust defined

in GPS method and the forces considered in LE methods are illustrated in Figure 1.

S

E

1

N

E

2

W

T

1

T

2

Line of

thrust

4510

3 The model geometry and inputs

The soil model and input parameters used in this study are indicated for respective soil layers in Figure 2. This

model is analyzed by three different software programs namely: SLOPE/W, SLIDE and PLAXIS. The first two

softwares: SLOPE/W and SLIDE are based on LE principles. Among the LE methods, Morgenstern-Price method

is chosen her for comparison. The computations are also carried out using the FE based PLAXIS software code.

Complete dry condition in the slope, surcharge load (q = 50 kPa) are applied at the crest and an earthquake

coefficient (

h

α = 0.25) were considered in the analyses (Aryal 2006).

The purpose of choosing the typical soil properties that represent to silty clay or clay soils is to study the

differences particularly in circular shear surface analysis . The results that are related to the inter-slice force

function, the line of thrust and the factor of safety, are presented and discussed below.

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40

0

5

10

15

Figure 2. Geometry model in SLOPE/W and applied soil parameters (Aryal 2006)

4 Model analysis results

4.1 Results of inter-slice force function

After the computation of FOS in PLAXIS, the normal and tangential forces (E, T) acting on slices were obtained

by taking a section of 1m wider slices through the sliding mass. PLAXIS computes the equivalent normal and

shear forces and also indicates the point of application for the normal force. Thus, the ratios of these forces, T/E

= λ.f(x) can be obtained by manual computations . These values are plotted in the same diagram (see Figure 3) in

which the results obtained from SLOPE/W and SLIDE for the M-P method are also presented.

0.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

1.2

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40

I

n

t

e

r

s

l

i

c

e

f

o

r

c

e

f

u

n

c

t

i

o

n

(

T

/

E

)

PLAXIS

SLIDE

SLOPE/W

Slope profile

SS from PLAXIS

Figure 3. Comparison of inter-slice forces obtained from PLAXIS, SLIDE and SLOPE/W (Aryal 2006)

c = 10 kPa φ = 30

0

c = 5 kPa φ = 25

0

1

2

q

4511

Figure 3 shows the analysis results and comparison of the inter-slice force function for the given load condition.

The shear surface obtained from PLAXIS simulation is also indicated by the dotted line in the same figure.

Mohr-Coulomb material model which is good for slope stability analysis was selected in both SLOPE/W and

SLIDE. Similarly, half-sine function (sine function but half cycle) was assumed in the LE simulations. The inter-

slice force functions obtained from both LE softwares looks almost identical to the assumed half sine function.

SLOPE/W shows exactly the same shape as half-sine function at the scale factor, λ = 0.8, whereas SLIDE shows

a marginal difference in shape at a slightly lower λ value.

In contrast, PLAXIS simulation gives an irregular function. There is considerable difference particularly at the

crest and toe of the slope. The reason for the higher inter-slice shear force at the crest is the applied surcharge

load. In the middle of the shear surface, the function is almost identical with the results from the LE method.

Since the function may vary with geometry and loading conditions, the conclusion can not be generalized for all

cases. However, it can be concluded from this study that there is a considerable difference between the inter-

slice forces obtained in LE and FE analyses. The variation is more pronounced at the crest and toe of the slope

(Ar yal 2006).

4.2 Results of line of thrust

The plot in Figure 4 shows the location of the line of thrust obtained from the simulations in SLIDE (M-PM) and

PLAXIS. Moreover, the dotted lines indicate the slope profile and critical shear surface obtained from PLAXIS.

The points of application of inter-slice resultant force are not the same in FE and LE analyses. In PLAXIS

computations , the point is considered at the place where the normal force acts. However in SLIDE simulation, the

option for automatic generation of the line of thrust was uti lized. Even if the location for the line of thrust may not

show similar variation pattern, as in this example, for different geometry and loading conditions, it can be noticed

the considerable disagreement between LE and FE computations , particularly at crest and toe of a slope.

0.00

0.15

0.30

0.45

0.60

0.75

0.90

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40

Distance (m)

L

o

c

a

t

i

o

n

o

f

t

h

r

u

s

t

l

i

n

e

f

r

o

m

b

a

s

e

(

o

f

h

)

0

5

10

15

H

e

i

g

h

t

(

m

)

PLAXIS

SLIDE (M-PM)

Slope Profile

SS (PLAXIS)

Figure 4. Location of the line of thrust (Aryal 2006)

The LE (M-PM) analysis gives the line of thrust lower at the crest; slightly higher in the middle and unreasonably

high at the toe. This finding indicates that the sine function does not represent the static situation very well at the

toe (Aryal 2006).

Ideally the thrust line in Janbu’s GPS method should have been located between 0.2h and 0.4h from the base of

the shear surface, where h is the height of the slices (Abramson et al. 2002). Janbu (1973) states, “the line of

thrust should be located somewhat lower than h/3 in the active zone (crest) and higher than h/3 in the passive

zone (toe) for cohesive soils”.

5 Computation of Factor of safety

The FOS primarily depends on the effective normal stress at the shear surface as seen from Equations 1 and 2.

Moreover, the normal stress is also a function of the inter-slice shear force as given in Equation 3.

4512

( ' ( )tan ')

sin

m

c l N ul

F

W

φ

α

∑ + −

·

∑

(1)

{ ¦

{ ¦

2 1 2 1

' ( )tan ' sec

( ) tan ( )

f

c l N ul

F

W T T E E

φ α

α

] ∑ + −

]

·

∑ − − + ∑ −

(2)

2 1

1 1

( ) ( ' tan ')sin N W T T c l ul

m F

α

φ α

¹ ¹

· − − − −

' '

¹ ¹

(3)

The LE based Morgenstern-Price method iterates for the FOS until the moment equilibrium (Equation 1) and the

force equilibrium (Equation 2) give a common value. This FOS can be found at the intersection point of the

curves as shown in Figure 5. Lower value of resultant inter-slice shear force (T2 - T1) gives higher normal force

(see Equation 3). If this is the case, the FOS will be overestimated (see Equations 1 and 2).

In addition to the half-sine function, constant and variable inter-slice force functions are also chosen in both

SLOPE/W and SLIDE softwares. However, the change in FOS is found insignificant (<0.5%) in Morgenstern-

Price method for circular shear surface. This shows that selection of inter-slice force function in LE analysis may

have little significance in the FOS if the moment equilibrium curve has no change in its gradient (Aryal 2006).

However, another study (SLOPE/W 2002) shows that inter-slice force function causes significant shifting in the

force equilibrium FOS. If the moment equilibrium FOS also shifts upwards, as shown in Figure 5, the intersecting

point will have higher FOS compared to the previous one.

Figure 5 Effect on FOS due to f(x) (SLOPE/W 2002)

From the studies, it can be concluded that the effect of inter-slice force function is case-dependent. If one of the

FOS curves is parallel to the λ-axis referring to Figure 5, there is no effect of inter-slice force function on the FOS

computation in Morgenstern-Price method. On the other hand, there can be change in FOS in case there is

considerable shifting of both equilibrium curves.

Scale factor lambda (λ)

Ff

F

O

S

Fm

f(x) =A

f(x) =B

4513

1

2

1.019

Distance (m)

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40

H

e

i

g

h

t

(

m

)

0

5

10

15

Figure 6. Critical shear surface (CSS) and FOS from LE analysis in SLOPE/W

The values of FOS obtained from both SLOPE/W and SLIDE simulations are found almost identical (± 1%) when

compared to a particular method presented in Figure 6 and Figure 7. However, the FOS in FE analysis is found

lower than in LE analysis as shown in Figure 8. The study further shows that the critical shear surface obtained

from PLAXIS simulation is composite rather than circular as is assumed in LE analyses.

Figure 7. CSS and FOS from LE analysis in SLIDE

Figure 8. CSS and FOS from FE analysis in PLAXIS

As seen in Figure 3, PLAXIS computes the inter-slice forces more accurately by taking into account the local

stress distributions in soil mass. There is clear and distinct variation found at the place where the surcharge load

is placed. The application of surcharge has definitely increased the inter-slice shear force which has nicely been

reflected in PLAXIS computation. In such condition, the FOS will be lower due to the higher inter-slice shear

force. Such difference in inter-slice forces is noticeable at the crest and toe of the slope referring again to Figure

3.

Minimum FOS

1) BSM = 1.013

2) JSM = 0.886

3) JCM = 0.954

4) M-PM= 1.001

Minimum FOS

1) BSM = 1.025

2) JSM = 0.884

3) JGM = 1.002

4) M-PM = 1.019

FOS = 0.930

4514

Because of the incompatible inter-slice force function and line of thrust, found in LE and FE analysis , the

variations in the FOS are obvious. With reference to the observation from this study, it can be stated that this

explains why the LE based methods compute higher FOS than the FE based ones.

6 Conclusions

The inter-slice force function can neither be a constant nor a well defined pattern as often assumed in LE

methods. The author’s study shows that this type of variation may depend on slope geometry and loading

conditions . This will have an effect on the FOS of a slope. FE analysis in PLAXIS shows considerable difference

in the inter-slice force function as compared to the assumed sine function in LE (M-P method) analysis. At those

locations having the localized stresses, the difference is found to be more. The line of thrust has also not been

found similar compared with the results from SLIDE and PLAXIS. With the assumed sine function in M-P

method, the thrust line is exceptionally high at the toe referring to Figure 4. From these studies, it can be

concluded that the LE methods have some limitations to compute forces especially at the crest and toe of a slope

where the localized stress concentrations can generally be found higher. Due to these differences, the FOS in LE

analysis becomes higher, if based on M-P method, than those obtained from the FE analyses. A study carried out

with various load applications and groundwater variations shows that the FOS may be higher (5 -15%) in LE

based M-P method compared with FE based simulations, for example in PLAXIS (Aryal 2006).

7 Symbols and abbreviations

α inclination of the sliding plane α1 inclination at the entry point

α2 inclination at the exit point αt inclination of the line of thrust

β slope inclination angle φ internal friction angle

φ' effective friction angle λ scale factor

θ inclination of inter-slice resultant force c apparent (total) cohesion

c’ effective cohesion h average height of a slice

ht height from mid point of the slice to dE dE change in inter-slice normal force

l length of slice along sliding surface m

α

factor based on slope α

u pore pressure E inter-slice normal force

Ff force equilibrium FOS Fm moment equilibrium FOS

N normal force S shear force (strength)

T inter-slice shear force W weight of the slice

BSM Bishop’s simplified method CSS Cirtical shear surface

FE Finite element FOS Factor of safety

JSM Janbu’s simplified method JCM Janbu’s corrected method

JGM Janbu’s generalized method LE Limit equilibrium

M-PM Morgenstern-Price method

8 References

Abramson, L. W., Lee, T. S., Sharma, S., and Boyce, G. M. (2002). Slope Stability Concepts. Slope Stabilisation and

Stabilisation Methods, Second edition, published by John Willey & Sons, Inc., pp. 329-461.

Aryal, K. (2006): Slope stability evaluation by LE and FE methods . Ph D thesis, Norwegian University of Science and

Technology, NTNU: Electronic version: http://www.diva-portal.org/ntnu/abstract.xsql?dbid=1868 (Full text and attachment)

Aryal, K., Grande, L. and Sandven, R. (2006): A study on inter-slice force function and line of thrust in Slope stability analysis.

Int. conf. Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering, NUMGE 06, Graz, 6-8 September 2006, pp.497-500.

Corps of Engineers (1970). Slope Stability manual . EM 1110-2-1902, Washington, DC: Department of the Army, Office of the

Chief Engineers.

Janbu, N. (1973). Slope Stability Computations . Embankment Dam Engineering, Casagrande Volume, pp. 47-86.

Janbu, N. (1957). Earth pressure and bearing capacity calculations by generalised procedure of slices. Proceedings of the 4

th

International Conference, SMFE, London, 2, pp. 207-12.

Lowe, J., and Karafiath, R. V. (1960). Stability of Earth Dam upon Drawdown. Proceedings of the of the first Pan American

Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, Maxico City, pp. 537-52.

Morgenstern, N. R. and Price, V. E. (1965). The Analysis of the Stability of General Slip Surfaces. Geotechnique, Vol. 15, No.

1, pp. 77-93.

PLAXIS (2004). Finite Element Code for Soil and Rock Analyses . PLAXIS-2D Version 8, Reference Manual, Edited by

Brinkgreve, et al., DUT, the Netherlands. www.plaxis.nl

4515

Sarma, S. K. (1973). Stability Analysis of Embankment and Slopes . Geotechnique, Vol. 23 (3), pp. 423-33.

SLIDE (2003). Stability analysis for soil and rock slopes. Slide, User’s Guide, Geomechanics Software Solutions, Rocscience

Inc., Canada. www.rocscience.com

SLOPE/W (2002). Stability Analysis. Users Guide Version 5, GeoSlope Office, Canada. www.geoslope.com.

Spencer, E. (1967). A method of Analysis of the Stability of Embankments, Assuming Parallel Inter-slice Forces. Geotechnique,

Vol. 17, pp. 11-26.

4516

Among many other FE codes. The line of thrust defined in GPS method and the forces considered in LE methods are illustrated in Figure 1. line of thrust. the function in Lowe-Karafiath (1960) method is assumed as a tangent to the average inclination of the slope and the sliding surface. According to Janbu (1957).applied in geotechnical engineering fields including in the slope stability evaluations. PLAXIS is the one which has been applied in this study and the obtained results are compared with LE based methods mainly with M-P method. where θ = ½(α 1 + α 2) T = ch + E tan φ T = E tanθ 2. Janbu’s GPS method (1957) relates the function to the inclination of the line of thrust. f(x). the Corps of Engineers ’ method (1970) considers the function as an average angle of the entry and exit points of the sliding surface. However. is very common in all advanced LE methods. The function is defined as the ratio of tangential to normal forces acting on a slice. However. Illustration of forces4510 can be considered in LE methods that . is defined in Janbu’s GPS method by joining the points of application of the resultant of inter-slice forces for all slices . T1 E1 W S N T2 E2 Line of thrust Figure 1. where θ = ½(α + β) T = E tanθ. Moreover. assumes a constant function thought out the entire sliding surface. MorgensternPrice method (1965) assumes an arbitrary function. this line of thrust may fluctuate from 1/3 to 2/3 of the slice height from the base in active and passive conditions respectively. with a scale factor ( Likewise. Sarma (1973) relates the relationship similar to the Mohr-Coulomb expression for shear strength. Table 1. 2 Limit equilibrium methods 2. Inter-slice forces and relationships used in LE methods (Aryal 2006) Morgenstern – Price method Janbu’s generalized method Lowe-Karafiath method Corps of Engineers’ method Sarma’s method Spencer’s method T = f(x) λ E T = E tan α t − ht (dE / dx) T = E tanθ. These assumptions of t e inter-slice force h function have been summarized in Table 1. Spencer (1967) λ).1 The inter-slice force function The terminology. This function is generally assumed prior to the computations and thus the magnitude of the inter-slice forces may differ according to the assumed function. Sim ilarly. inter-slice force function.2 The line of thrust This terminology. Thus the assumption for the inter-slice force function in GPS method depends on the inclination of the line of thrust (α t) and the tangent of the inter-slice normal force (dE/dx) as defined in Table 1.

8 0. Comparison of inter-slice forces obtained from PLAXIS.2 PLAXIS SLIDE SLOPE/W Slope profile SS from PLAXIS Interslice force function (T/E) 1.0 0. SLIDE and PLAXIS. These values are plotted in the same diagram (see Figure 3) in which the results obtained from SLOPE/W and SLIDE for the M-P method are also presented. T) acting on slices were obtained by taking a section of 1m wider slices through the sliding mass. Geometry model in SLOPE/W and applied soil parameters (Aryal 2006) 4 Model analysis results 4.1 Results of inter-slice force function After the computation of FOS in PLAXIS. 1.25) were considered in the analyses (Aryal 2006). The computations are also carried out using the FE based PLAXIS software code. are presented and discussed below.f(x) can be obtained by manual computations . Thus. SLIDE and SLOPE/W (Aryal 2006) 4511 . Morgenstern-Price method is chosen her for comparison. T/E = λ. the line of thrust and the factor of safety.0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Figure 3. The results that are related to the inter-slice force function. the ratios of these forces. The purpose of choosing the typical soil properties that represent to silty clay or clay soils is to study the differences particularly in circular shear surface analysis . the normal and tangential forces (E. surcharge load (q = 50 kPa) are applied at the crest and an earthquake coefficient (α h = 0. Among the LE methods.2 0. The first two softwares: SLOPE/W and SLIDE are based on LE principles. This model is analyzed by three different software programs namely: SLOPE/W. PLAXIS computes the equivalent normal and shear forces and also indicates the point of application for the normal force.3 The model geometry and inputs The soil model and input parameters used in this study are indicated for respective soil layers in Figure 2. q 15 2 10 1 c = 10 kPa φ = 30 0 5 c = 5 kPa 0 0 5 10 φ = 250 15 20 25 30 35 40 Figure 2. Complete dry condition in the slope.4 0.6 0.

Similarly. the option for automatic generation of the line of thrust was utilized. λ = 0. the normal stress is also a function of the inter-slice shear force as given in Equation 3. 5 Computation of Factor of safety The FOS primarily depends on the effective normal stress at the shear surface as seen from Equations 1 and 2. In the middle of the shear surface. the function is almost identical with the results from the LE method. 4512 Height (m) . The points of application of inter-slice resultant force are not the same in FE and LE analyses. However. Ideally the thrust line in Janbu’s GPS method should have been located between 0. Moreover.2h and 0. particularly at crest and toe of a slope.Figure 3 shows the analysis results and comparison of the inter-slice force function for the given load condition. However in SLIDE simulation.4h from the base of the shear surface. as in this example. where h is the height of the slices (Abramson et al. Janbu (1973) states.90 Location of thrust line from base (of h) 15 0. Moreover. In contrast. half-sine function (sine function but half cycle) was assumed in the LE simulations.2 Results of line of thrust The plot in Figure 4 shows the location of the line of thrust obtained from the sim ulations in SLIDE (M-PM) and PLAXIS. the dotted lines indicate the slope profile and critical shear surface obtained from PLAXIS.75 0. SLOPE/W shows exactly the same shape as half-sine function at the scale factor. 0. The interslice force functions obtained from both LE softwares looks almost identical to the assumed half sine function. Location of the line of thrust (Aryal 2006) The LE (M-PM) analysis gives the line of thrust lower at the crest.60 10 0. Since the function may vary with geometry and loading conditions. The variation is more pronounced at the crest and toe of the slope (Ar yal 2006). whereas SLIDE shows a marginal difference in shape at a slightly lower λ value. 4. Even if the location for the line of thrust may not show similar variation pattern. for different geometry and loading conditions.15 0.00 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 0 Distance (m) Figure 4.30 PLAXIS SLIDE (M-PM) Slope Profile SS (PLAXIS) 5 0. The shear surface obtained from PLAXIS simulation is also indicated by the dotted line in the same figure. The reason for the higher inter-slice shear force at the crest is the applied surcharge load. it can be concluded from this study that there is a considerable difference between the interslice forces obtained in LE and FE analyses. In PLAXIS computations .8. PLAXIS simulation gives an irregular function. slightly higher in the middle and unreasonably high at the toe. the conclusion can not be generalized for all cases. it can be noticed the considerable disagreement between LE and FE computations . This finding indicates that the sine function does not represent the static situation very well at the toe (Aryal 2006). “the line of thrust should be located somewhat lower than h/3 in the active zone (crest) and higher than h/3 in the passive zone (toe) for cohesive soils”. There is considerable difference particularly at the crest and toe of the slope. the point is considered at the place where the normal force acts. Mohr-Coulomb material model which is good for slope stability analysis was selected in both SLOPE/W and SLIDE. 2002).45 0.

Lower value of resultant inter-slice shear force (T2 . another study (SLOPE/W 2002) shows that inter-slice force function causes significant shifting in the force equilibrium FOS. there is no effect of inter-slice force function on the FOS computation in Morgenstern-Price method. If one of the FOS curves is parallel to the λ-axis referring to Figure 5. the FOS will be overestimated (see Equations 1 and 2). it can be concluded that the effect of inter-slice force function is case-dependent. This shows that selection of inter-slice force function in LE analysis may have little significance in the FOS if the moment equilibrium curve has no change in its gradient (Aryal 2006). If the moment equilibrium FOS also shifts upwards. F O S Ff Fm f(x) =A f(x) =B Scale factor lambda (λ) Figure 5 Effect on FOS due to f(x) (SLOPE/W 2002) From the studies. This FOS can be found at the intersection point of the curves as shown in Figure 5. constant and variable inter-slice force functions are also chosen in both SLOPE/W and SLIDE softwares. In addition to the half-sine function. However.Fm = ∑ (c ' l + ( N − ul )tan φ ') ∑ W sin α ∑ {c ' l + ( N − ul )tan φ '} sec α (1) Ff = ∑ {W − (T2 − T1)} tan α + ∑ ( E2 − E1 ) (2) N= 1 1 W − (T2 − T1 ) − (c ' l − ul tan φ ')sin α mα F (3) The LE based Morgenstern-Price method iterates for the FOS until the moment equilibrium (Equation 1) and the force equilibrium (Equation 2) give a common value. as shown in Figure 5.T1) gives higher normal force (see Equation 3). If this is the case. there can be change in FOS in case there is considerable shifting of both equilibrium curves.5%) in MorgensternPrice method for circular shear surface. On the other hand. the intersecting point will have higher FOS compared to the previous one. However. 4513 . the change in FOS is found insignificant (<0.

886 3) JCM = 0. CSS and FOS from FE analysis in PLAXIS As seen in Figure 3.001 Figure 7. In such condition. Such difference in inter-slice forces is noticeable at the crest and toe of the slope referring again to Figure 3. Critical shear surface (CSS) and FOS from LE analysis in SLOPE/W The values of FOS obtained from both SLOPE/W and SLIDE simulations are found almost identical (± 1%) when compared to a particular method presented in Figure 6 and Figure 7. However.930 Figure 8. CSS and FOS from LE analysis in SLIDE FOS = 0. There is clear and distinct variation found at the place where the surcharge load is placed.1.954 4) M-PM= 1. the FOS will be lower due to the higher inter-slice shear force. The study further shows that the critical shear surface obtained from PLAXIS simulation is composite rather than circular as is assumed in LE analyses. The application of surcharge has definitely increased the inter-slice shear force which has nicely been reflected in PLAXIS computation. PLAXIS computes the inter-slice forces more accurately by taking into account the local stress distributions in soil mass. the FOS in FE analysis is found lower than in LE analysis as shown in Figure 8.019 15 Height (m) 10 1 Minimum FOS 1) BSM = 1.884 3) JGM = 1.013 2) JSM = 0. 4514 . Minimum FOS 1) BSM = 1.019 5 2 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Distance (m) Figure 6.025 2) JSM = 0.002 4) M-PM = 1.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Int. pp. 207-12. M. NTNU: Electronic version: http://www. it can be stated that this explains why the LE based methods compute higher FOS than the FE based ones.. K. N. DUT.org/ntnu/abstract. Second edition. published by John Willey & Sons. Office of the Chief Engineers. 1. pp. Janbu. conf. the variations in the FOS are obvious. Janbu. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference. With reference to the observation from this study.diva-portal. K. T. J. and Boyce. At those locations having the localized stresses. Finite Element Code for Soil and Rock Analyses .. pp. (2006): Slope stability evaluation by LE and FE methods .. et al. S. This will have an effect on the FOS of a slope. V. (2006): A study on inter-slice force function and line of thrust in Slope stability analysis. (1965). and Price. R. 2. Slope Stability manual . The line of thrust has also not been found similar compared with the results from SLIDE and PLAXIS. L. Corps of Engineers (1970). A study carried out with various load applications and groundwater variations shows that the FOS may be higher (5 -15%) in LE based M-P method compared with FE based simulations. EM 1110-2-1902. Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering. Maxico City. 6 Conclusions The inter-slice force function can neither be a c onstant nor a well defined pattern as often assumed in LE methods. 47-86. www. Washington. (1973). 15. pp. PLAXIS (2004). The Analysis of the Stability of General Slip Surfaces. Proceedings of the of the first Pan American Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering. FE analysis in PLAXIS shows considerable difference in the inter-slice force function as compared to the assumed sine function in LE (M-P method) analysis. With the assumed sine function in M -P method.Because of the incompatible inter-slice force function and line of thrus t. 77-93. for example in PLAXIS (Aryal 2006). 7 Symbols and abbreviations inclination of the sliding plane inclination at the exit point slope inclination angle effective friction angle inclination of inter-slice resultant force effective cohesion height from mid point of the slice to dE length of slice along sliding surface pore pressure force equilibrium FOS normal force inter-slice shear force Bishop’s simplified method Finite element Janbu’s simplified method Janbu’s generalized method Morgenstern-Price method α1 αt φ λ c h dE mα E Fm S W CSS FOS JCM LE inclination at the entry point inclination of the line of thrust internal friction angle scale factor apparent (total) cohesion average height of a slice change in inter-slice normal force factor based on slope α inter-slice normal force moment equilibrium FOS shear force (strength) weight of the slice Cirtical shear surface Factor of safety Janbu’s corrected method Limit equilibrium α α2 β φ' θ c’ ht l u Ff N T BSM FE JSM JGM M-PM 8 References Abramson. SMFE.xsql?dbid=1868 (Full text and attachment) Aryal.497-500. than those obtained from the FE analyses. Slope Stability Computations . and Karafiath. pp.. R. Embankment Dam Engineering. found in LE and FE analysis . S. (2002). (1960). 6-8 September 2006. Stability of Earth Dam upon Drawdown. G. Geotechnique. No. Due to these differences. Vol. N. (1957). Grande. Inc.nl 4515 . the thrust line is exceptionally high at the toe referring to Figure 4. Ph D thesis. V. R. London. 329-461. Lee. DC: Department of the Army. Reference Manual. and Sandven. L.. the Netherlands.. Graz. 537-52. The author’s study shows that this type of variation may depend on slope geometry and loading conditions . Earth pressure and bearing capacity calculations by generalised procedure of slices. NUMGE 06. Slope Stabilisation and Stabilisation Methods. if based on M-P method. the difference is found to be more. E. it can be concluded that the LE methods have some limitations to compute forces especially at the crest and toe of a slope where the localized stress concentrations can generally be found higher. W. N. Morgenstern. pp. Slope Stability Concepts. Sharma. Lowe. Aryal. From these studies . PLAXIS-2D Version 8. Edited by Brinkgreve.. Casagrande Volume.plaxis. the FOS in LE analysis becomes higher.

geoslope. www.Sarma. pp. Stability analysis for soil and rock slopes. Stability Analysis of Embankment and Slopes . Geomechanics Software Solutions.rocscience. Slide. 4516 . 423-33. A method of Analysis of the Stability of Embankments.com SLOPE/W (2002). Geotechnique. Stability Analysis. Spencer. Vol. Canada. Users Guide Version 5.. pp. 23 (3). Canada. E. (1973). K. GeoSlope Office. Rocscience Inc. www. 17. Assuming Parallel Inter-slice Forces. User’s Guide. S. SLIDE (2003).com. 11-26. (1967). Vol. Geotechnique.

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