In the past, residual factor R in strain-softening soil slopes has been included, either directly or indirectly, as a deterministic variable in both deterministic and probabilistic studies. This paper discusses the uncertainties associated with R and outlines a systematic approach for the reliability analysis of a natural slope in which shear strength parameters and pore pressure ratio are random variables, each assumed with a lognormal probability distribution. For the residual factor R, seven probability distribution options under the generalized beta-distribution system are considered. Slope reliability is computed based on the first order reliability method (FORM) and validated against Monte-Carlo simulation (MCS). Results obtained from two illustrative examples indicate that the probability of failure, with R as one of six random variables, can be orders of magnitude higher than that based on five random variables with R considered as a deterministic parameter. The magnitude of influence of R as a random variable is, however, highly dependent on its probability distribution, the left-skewed triangular distribution having the most significant influence in both the examples. Results of sensitivity analyses reveal that, for almost all of its assumed probability distributions, R is the most dominant among the six random variables. Effects of variation of some of the statistical and correlation properties of the other random variables, viz. the shear strength parameters and the pore pressure ratio, on the results of reliability analyses are also studied.
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