Factor of safety of slope stability from deformation energy



Publication Details

Xiao, S., Guo, W. & Zeng, J. (2018). Factor of safety of slope stability from deformation energy. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 55 (2), 296-302.


The factor of safety of a slope (Fs) is invariably assessed using methods underpinned by moment, force, and (or) shear strength equilibrium concerning slip surfaces. Each method inherently embeds some form of limitations, despite being popularly adopted in practice. In this paper, a new Fs is devised using the ratio of ultimate energy (eu, upon sliding) over accumulated "elastic" energy. The Fs is then reduced to a simple expression of the power to shear stress and shear strength, by taking soil as an elastic-plastic material obeying the Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion. This expression empowers significant efficacy in gaining the factor of safety (without involving energy or directions of shear stresses). The Fs values were calculated for three typical slopes concerning various mechanical properties (dilation, Poisson's ratio, and shear modulus) and effective computational strategies. All of the Fs values (to a congruous accuracy of available methods) were obtained in less than 1% the time of conventional numerical analyses. The proposed Fs, equally applicable to limit equilibrium methods, may be utilized in practice to expedite slope design.

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