Numerical analysis of the stability of inhomogeneous slopes considering partially saturated conditions
Graz University of Technology, Institute of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, Computational Geotechnics Group, 8010 Graz, Austria
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It is well accepted that rainfall could play a significant role in instability of slopes. The main objective of the presented study is to quantify the influence of varying characteristics of water flow, its associated changes of pore-water pressures and shear strength on the stability of simplified, but inhomogeneous, slope geometries. The commonly used van Genuchten model was used to describe the Soil Water Characteristic Curve (SWCC) mathematically. In the context of this study, the influence of different hydraulic behaviour of soil layers, i.e. different SWCC, on the factor of safety (FoS) is evaluated by means of fully coupled flow-deformation analyses employing the finite element method. To quantify the slopes’ factor of safety during rainfall events after specified times of infiltration or evaporation, the strength reduction method was applied. In addition to various combinations of soil layers, the influence of a water bearing high permeable soil layer between two less permeable soil layers, a situation which is often encountered in practice, on the factor of safety has been investigated.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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