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Civil Engineering
Geotechnical Engineering 2

Slope Stability
References:
Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering by: Braja M. Das
An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering by: Robert Holtz, William
D. Kovacs, and Thomas C. Sheanan

Dr. Marcos

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Key Terminology
stability finite slope
slope infinite slope
factor of safety Unrestrained slope
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Classification of Slope Failures
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slope can be natural or constructed.
a component of gravity will cause the soil to
move downward.
if the gravity is large enough, slope failure can
occur.
the driving force overcomes the resistance
from the shear strength of the soil along the
rupture surface.
An exposed ground surface that stands at an angle
with the horizontal is called an unrestrained slope.
Slope Stability Analysis
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Slope failure
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Slope Stability Analysis
civil engineers are expected to make
calculations to check the safety of natural
slopes, slope excavations, and compacted
embankments.
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Factor of Safety
Analyzing slope stability is determining the factor of safety
d
f
s
FS

where:

FS
s
= factor of safety with respect to strength

f
= average shear strength of the soil (resisting forces
or moments)

d
= average shear stress developed along the potential
failure plane (driving forces or moments)
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Factor of Safety
d d
s
c
c
FS
' ' '
' ' '
tan
tan

where:
c' = cohesion
' = drained angle of friction
= effective normal stress on the potential failure
surface
c
d
' = effective cohesion develop along the potential
failure surface

d
' = drained angle of friction develop along the
potential failure surface

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Factor of Safety
d
c
c
c
FS
'
'
'

Factor of safety
with respect to
cohesion
d
FS
' '
' '
'
tan
tan

Factor of safety
with respect to
friction
d d c
c
'
'
'
'
tan
tan

' '
FS FS FS
c s

If FS=1 the slope is in the state of impending failure.
Generally, a value of 1.5 for the factor of safety with
respect to strength is acceptable for the design of a stable
slope.
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Stability of Infinite Slope
An infinite slope is one in which the depth to failure surface is
much smaller than the slope height.
If FS=1, H=critical depth
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Stability of Infinite Slope
If there is seepage through the soil and the ground water level
coincides with the ground surface.
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Stability of Finite Slope
When the value of H
cr
approaches the height of the slope, the
slope is generally considered finite.
Culmanns Method
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Sample Problems