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Design Standards No.

13

Embankment Dams

Chapter 4: Static Stability Analysis


Phase 4 (Final)

U.S. Department of the Interior


Bureau of Reclamation

October 2011

Mission Statements
The U.S. Department of the Interior protects Americas natural
resources and heritage, honors our cultures and tribal communities,
and supplies the energy to power our future.

The mission of the Bureau of Reclamation is to manage, develop,


and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and
economically sound manner in the interest of the American public.

Chapter Signature Sheet


Bureau of Reclamation
Technical Service Center
Design Standards No. 13

Embankment Dams
Chapter 4: Static Stability Analysis
DS-13(4)-6:1 Phase 4 (Final)
October 2011

Chapter 4 - Static Stability Analysis is an existing chapter within Design


Standards No. 13 and was revised to include:

Lowering of minimum factor of safety for reservoir operational conditions

Current practices in slope stability analysis and computer programs

Application to slope stability analysis for existing embankment dams

Guidance papers for static slope stability analysis

Minor corrections and editorial changes

DS-13(4)-6 refers to Design Standards No. 13, chapter 4, revision 6.

Prepared by:

askck
Ashok Chugh, RE.
Civil Engineer, Geotechnical Engineering Group 1

Date

Peer Review:

VPAN/
William ngemoen, P.E.
Geotechnical Engineer, Geotechnical Services Division

Secu "

Date

eview:

Ot'
s, P.E.
Larry K.
Structura Engineer, Structural Analysis Group

Recommended for Technical Approval:

Thomas N. McDaniel, RE.


Geotechnical Engineer, Geotechnical Engineering Group 2

Submitted:
7

/1

Karen Knight, P.E.


Chief, Geotechnical Services Division

ate

Approved:

Lowell Pimley, RE.


Director, Technical Service Center

Design Standards No. 13, Chapter 4

Date

Contents
Page

4.1

4.2

4.3

4.4

4.5

4.6

Introduction...............................................................................
4.1.1
Purpose......................................................................
4.1.2
Scope.........................................................................
4.1.3
Deviations from Standard .........................................
4.1.4
Revisions of Standard ...............................................
4.1.5
Applicability .............................................................
Loading Conditions and Factor of Safety.................................
4.2.1
General......................................................................
4.2.2
Selection of Loading Conditions ..............................
4.2.3
Discussion of Loading Condition Parameters...........
4.2.4
Factor of Safety Criteria............................................
Shear Strength of Materials......................................................
4.3.1
General Criteria .........................................................
4.3.2
Shear Strength Data and Sources..............................
4.3.3
Shear Strength Related to Loading Condition ..........
4.3.4
Anisotropic Shear Strength .......................................
4.3.5
Residual Shear Strength............................................
Determination of Pore Pressures ..............................................
4.4.1
Phreatic Surface Method ...........................................
4.4.2
Graphical Flow Net Method .....................................
4.4.3
Numerical Methods ...................................................
4.4.4
Field Measurement (Instrumentation) Method .........
4.4.5
Hilfs Method ............................................................
Slope Stability Analyses...........................................................
4.5.1
Method of Analysis...................................................
4.5.2
Slip Surface Configuration .......................................
4.5.3
Slip Surface Location................................................
4.5.4
Progressive Failure....................................................
4.5.5
Three-Dimensional Effect .........................................
4.5.6
Verification of Analysis ............................................
4.5.7
Existing Dams ...........................................................
4.5.8
Excavation Slopes .....................................................
4.5.9
Back Analysis ...........................................................
4.5.10 Multi-Stage Stability Analysis for Rapid

Drawdown............................................................
References ................................................................................

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Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

Appendices
A
B
C
D

Selection of Shear Strength Parameters


Spencers Method of Analysis
Computer Programs
Guidance Papers for Static Stability Analyses

Figures
Page
4.5.7-1. B.F. Sisk Dam (near Los Banos, California). View showing
upstream slope failure during reservoir drawdown ..................
4.5.7-2. General cross section of B.F. Sisk Dam in the location of
the slide during reservoir drawdown.........................................
4.5.7-3. Pine View Dam (near Ogden, Utah). View showing
stability berm to improve performance of the dam
during a seismic event. ..............................................................
4.5.7-4. General cross section of Pine View Dam with stability
berm. .........................................................................................

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Table
Page
4.2.4-1 Minimum factors of safety ..........................................................

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Chapter 4

Static Stability Analysis


4.1

Introduction

4.1.1

Purpose

This standard provides guidelines for accomplishing a thorough examination and


satisfactory analytical verification of the static stability of an embankment dam. This
will be accomplished through a discussion of applicable loading conditions, material
properties, pore pressures to be considered, and appropriate minimum factors of
safety that should be obtained for those loading conditions.

4.1.2

Scope

Criteria are presented for the determination of: (a) loading conditions and
minimum factor of safety, (b) material strength properties, and (c) pore pressures.
Methods for computing embankment stability under static loading are described
in appendix B and are illustrated with numerical examples included therein.

4.1.3

Deviations from Standard

Stability analyses within the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) should


conform to this design standard. If deviations from the standard are required for
any reason, the rationale for not using the standard should be presented in the
technical documentation for the stability analyses. The technical documentation
should follow the peer review requirements included in reference [1].

4.1.4

Revisions of Standard

This chapter will be revised as its use indicates. Comments or suggested revisions
should be forwarded to the Chief, Geotechnical Services Division (86-68300),
Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, Colorado 80225; they will be comprehensively
reviewed and incorporated as needed.

4.1.5 Applicability
These stability analyses standards are applicable to the design and analysis of
embankment dams founded on either soil or rock. While the methods discussed
herein are also applicable to cut and natural slopes, analysis of cut and natural

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Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

slopes may involve factors not addressed herein. For design of small dams, refer
to Reclamation publication cited in reference [2].

4.2

Loading Conditions and Factor of


Safety

4.2.1

General

The loading conditions to be examined, for either a new or an existing dam,


should be based on knowledge of the construction plan, reservoir operation plan,
emergency and maintenance operation plans, and flood storage and release plans
of the reservoir along with the behavior of the embankment and foundation
materials with respect to the development of pore pressures in the dam and
foundation.
Appropriate minimum factors of safety will be assigned for these loading conditions.

4.2.2 Selection of Loading Conditions


The loading conditions to be examined are:
Construction conditions.For a new dam, the end-of-construction
condition must be analyzed. It may also be necessary to analyze stability
for partial completion of fill conditions, depending on construction schedule
and relationship of pore pressures with time.
Steady-state seepage conditions.For either a new or an existing dam, the
stability of the downstream slope should be analyzed at the reservoir level
that will control the development of the steady-state seepage surface in the
embankment. This reservoir level is usually the top of active conservation
storage, but may be lower or higher depending on anticipated reservoir
operations.
Operational conditions.For either a new or an existing dam, if the
maximum reservoir surface is substantially higher than the top of active
conservation surface, the stability of the downstream slope should be
analyzed under maximum reservoir loading. The upstream slope should be
analyzed for rapid drawdown conditions from the top of active conservation
capacity water surface to the top of inactive capacity water surface and from
the maximum water surface to the top of inactive storage water surface.
The upstream slope should also be analyzed for rapid drawdown conditions
from the top of active conservation water surface to an intermediate level if
upstream berms are used.

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Other conditions.Other loading conditions that need to be analyzed


in some cases, if appropriate, include: (a) internal drainage plugged or
partially plugged, (b) drawdown due to unusually high water use demands,
(c) drawdown for the emergency release of the reservoir, (d) construction
modifications , and (e) earthquake loading included in Chapter 13, Seismic
Analysis and Design, of this Design Standards.

4.2.3

Discussion of Loading Condition Parameters

General guidelines for obtaining reservoir elevation, soil properties, and pore
pressure parameters for analysis of different loading conditions are as follows:
Construction conditions.The end-of-construction condition can be
examined either by effective stress concepts or by undrained shear strength
concepts.
o

Effective stress shear strength envelope method.The materials in the


dam or foundation may develop excess pore pressures due to loading
imposed by the overlying soil mass during construction. The effective
stress method requires estimation of the change in pore pressure with
respect to construction activities and time. Consideration should be
given to monitor pore pressures during construction to ensure that the
estimated pore pressures are not exceeded by a large margin [3]. The
preferred methods for estimating pore pressures during and at the end
of construction loading conditions are:
Conduct laboratory tests on representative samples of embankment
and foundation materials to determine the initial pore air and pore
water pressure.
Conduct laboratory tests to determine the pore pressure behavior
with respect to time and applied load for each material.
Establish the expected construction schedule, determine pore
pressure versus time function in the materials for that schedule, and
check the stability of the upstream and downstream slopes.
If necessary, revise the schedule based on actual construction and
recheck stability.

DS-13(4)-6

Undrained shear strength envelope method.This method for


determining soil shear strength does not involve measurement of pore
air or pore water pressure in the soil sample; thus, it is relatively
simpler than the effective stress shear strength envelope method
described above. However, analysis in terms of undrained shear

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strength implies that pore pressures occurring in laboratory tests on the


material satisfactorily approximate field pore pressures and, therefore,
the shear strength of those materials. Shear strength tests should be
performed on specimens compacted to anticipated placement water
contents and densities. Undrained shear strengths used in analyses
should correspond to the range of effective normal consolidation
stresses expected in the field [4].
Steady-state seepage conditions.The annual reservoir operation plan
should be examined to determine the appropriate reservoir water elevation
for use in estimating the location of the steady-state phreatic surface.
Usually, it is the top of active storage or joint use pool elevation; although,
it is possible that under certain operational plans, such an elevation (top of
active storage or joint use pool) is reached for only a small fraction of time
each year or it is reached in an oscillatory cycle. In either case, the effective
reservoir elevation could be taken to be near the midpoint of the cycle.
However, use of steady-state phreatic surface in stability analysis of a wide
clay-core embankment dam is an accepted practice even though steady-state
phreatic surface may not be expected to develop for a very long time.
For an existing dam, the appropriate elevation can usually be determined
from operational records, specifically from reservoir operational plots of
reservoir elevation versus time. Reservoir operational plots are available
on most dams in the Reclamation inventory. Piezometric data, if
available, can be used to estimate the phreatic surface in the embankment.
Operational conditions
Maximum reservoir level. If the phreatic surface under flood loading
is significantly different (higher) from that of the steady-state condition
for the active conservation pool, then the stability under this (higher
phreatic surface) condition should be analyzed. A phreatic surface
should be estimated for the maximum reservoir level. The maximum
reservoir level may occur from a surcharge pool that drains relatively
quickly or from a flood control pool that is not to be released for
several months. The hydraulic properties (permeability) of materials in
the upper part of the embankment affected by the reservoir fluctuations
should be evaluated to determine whether a steady-state or transient
analysis should be made when estimating the position of the phreatic
surface. If the phreatic surface is significantly different (higher) from
that of the steady-state condition for the active conservation pool, then
the stability under this (higher phreatic surface) condition should be
analyzed.
o

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Rapid drawdown conditions.During active conservation pool stages,


embankments may become saturated by seepage. If, subsequently, the

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reservoir pool is drawn down faster than pore water can drain from the
soil voids, excess pore water pressure and unbalanced seepage forces
result. Typically, rapid drawdown analyses are based on the
conservative assumptions that: (1) pore pressure dissipation does not
occur during drawdown in impervious material and (2) the phreatic
surface on the upstream face coexists with the upstream face of the
impervious zone and originates from the top of the inactive capacity
water surface.
However, the critical elevation of drawdown with regard to stability
of embankment may not coincide with the minimum pool elevation,
and thus, intermediate drawdown levels should be considered.

Other conditions
o

Inoperable internal drainage.If uncertainties exist with regard to the


success of internal drainage features or dewatering system designed to
control the phreatic surface in an existing dam, then checks should be
made using the phreatic surface developed assuming these features are
not fully functioning.

Unusual drawdown.All reservoir drawdown plans for maintenance


or emergency release of the reservoir should be reviewed to determine
the appropriate parameters for the stability analysis and the need for
any modification of the usual phreatic surface assumption on the
upstream face. Drought may cause reservoir drawdown and should be
considered as such for the stability analysis. Intermediate drawdown
levels would, in general, not be required to be examined.

Construction modifications.All excavation plans in close vicinity to


an existing embankment should be reviewed to determine the
appropriate parameters for the stability analysis of the excavation and
that of the embankment. Similarly, all dam raise plans should be
reviewed to determine appropriate parameters for the stability analysis
of the existing and the raised dam configurations including reservoir
operations.

4.2.4

Factor of Safety Criteria

For each loading condition described previously, a recommended minimum factor


of safety is provided. Deviations either higher or lower from these general criteria
may be considered, but should be supported with an appropriate justification. The
specific values selected need to consider: (a) the design condition being analyzed
and the consequences of failure, (b) estimated reliability of shear strength
parameters, pore pressure predictions, and other soil parameters, (c) presence of

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structures within the embankment, (d) reliability of field and laboratory


investigations, (e) stress-strain compatibility of embankment and foundation
materials, (f) probable quality of construction control, (g) embankment height,
and (h) judgment based on past experience with earth and rockfill dams.
For the purpose of slope stability analysis, the factor of safety is defined as the
ratio of total available shear strength of the soil to shear stress required to
maintain equilibrium along a potential surface of sliding. The factor of safety
indicates a relative measure of stability for various conditions, but does not
precisely indicate actual margin of safety. In addition, a relatively large factor of
safety implies relatively low shear stress levels in the embankment or foundation
and, hence, relatively small deformations. The minimum factors of safety for use
in the design of slope stabilization should follow rationally from an assessment of
a number of factors, which include the extent of planned monitoring of pore
pressures and assumptions and uncertainties involved in the material strength.
The factor of safety criteria presented in this standard are based on the slope
stability analysis being performed by limit equilibrium method using Spencers
procedure. A different procedure within the limit equilibrium method of analysis
could give a different factor of safety for the same embankment cross section with
the same material properties under the same loading conditions.
For the end-of-construction loading condition, excess pore pressures may be
induced in impervious zones of the embankment or foundation because these soils
cannot consolidate completely during the construction period. If effective stress
shear strength parameters are used for the analysis, then excess pore pressures
have an important influence on the factor of safety. A minimum factor of safety
of 1.3 would be considered adequate if pore pressures are monitored during
construction. However, if the effective stress shear strength envelope is used
without any field monitoring of pore pressures, the minimum safety factor should
be at least 1.4 to eliminate uncertainties involved in excess pore pressures.
A minimum factor of safety of 1.3 would also be adequate when the analysis is
carried out in terms of undrained shear strength. However, if an undrained shear
strength envelope is used, the laboratory testing performed to define the envelope
must satisfactorily model the pore pressure behavior and state of stress anticipated
under field loading conditions.
For the steady-state seepage condition under active conservation pool, a minimum
factor of safety of 1.5 would be justified to take into account the uncertainties
involved in material strengths, pore pressures in impervious material, and
long-term loading. In addition, the failure of the downstream slope under a
steady-state seepage condition is more likely to result in a catastrophic release of
water, which definitely demands a higher safety margin than for the end-of
construction or rapid drawdown conditions.

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For the operational conditions, a factor of safety of 1.2 for assumed steady-state
seepage conditions under maximum reservoir water level during a probable
maximum flood event would be justified if the duration of high flood pool is
relatively short and the reservoir operations call for draining the flood storage
quickly using spillway and outlet works facilities at the dam site, and restoring the
reservoir to the active conservation pool. A higher factor of safety (approaching
1.5) might be required if the duration of flood storage above the active
conservation pool is long and could potentially result in phreatic surface which is
significantly higher than the steady-state phreatic surface under the active
conservation pool.
For the rapid drawdown condition from active conservation pool (normal water
surface) to inactive conservation pool, or other intermediate level, the loading due
to unbalanced seepage forces may render the upstream slope unstable; however,
the loading is of short duration, and the reservoir level is reduced during
drawdown. Consequently, failure of the upstream slope would not likely release
the reservoir. Hence, a minimum factor of safety of 1.3 is adequate, and in some
cases, a lower factor of safety is acceptable with justification. Similarly, for the
rapid drawdown condition from maximum reservoir surface (following a probable
maximum flood) to active conservation pool, a factor of safety of 1.2 is adequate
considering the short duration of the flood pool surcharge before returning to the
normal pool. For the rapid drawdown below the active conservation pool, the
minimum factor of safety of 1.3 applies.
For the other loading conditions, a minimum safety factor of 1.2 for drawdown at
maximum outlet capacity, inoperable internal drainage, or failure of dewatering
system is justified mainly because of infrequent occurrence and reliance on quick
remedial action in the event of inoperable drainages and failure of dewatering
system. However, if quick remedial action cannot be ensured in advance, higher
factor of safety (approaching 1.3 or higher) should be required. For the
construction modification, stability of the temporary excavation slopes and the
resulting overall embankment stability during construction should have a
minimum factor of safety of 1.3 for a conservative combination of ground water
conditions and foundation soils during construction. However, all construction
activities shall be well planned and executed under close supervision of qualified
personnel.
Table 4.2.4-1 summarizes the minimum factors of safety required for various
loading conditions.

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Table 4.2.4-1. Minimum factors of safety based on two-dimensional limit equilibrium


method using Spencers procedure
Loading
condition

End of
construction

Steady-state
seepage

Shear
strength
parameters*

Effective

Undrained
strength
Effective
Effective or
undrained

Operational
conditions

Other

Effective or
undrained

Effective or
undrained

Effective or
undrained

Pore pressure characteristics


Generation of excess pore pressures in
embankment and foundation materials
with laboratory determination of pore
pressure and monitoring during
construction
Generation of excess pore pressures in
embankment and foundation materials and
no field monitoring during construction and
no laboratory determination
Generation of excess pore pressures in
embankment only with or without field
monitoring during construction and no
laboratory determination

Minimum
factor of
safety
1.3

1.4

1.3

1.3
Steady-state seepage under active
conservation pool
Steady-state seepage under maximum
reservoir level (during a probable
maximum flood)
Rapid drawdown from normal water
surface to inactive water surface
Rapid drawdown from maximum water
surface to active water surface (following a
probable maximum flood)
Drawdown at maximum outlet capacity
(Inoperable internal drainage; unusual
drawdown)
Construction modifications (applies only to
temporary excavation slopes and the
resulting overall embankment stability
during construction),

1.5
1.2

1.3

1.2

1.2

1.3

For selection of shear strength parameters, refer to appendix A.

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4.3

Shear Strength of Materials

Stability analyses of embankment dams and natural slopes require determination


of shear strengths of materials involved along any potential failure surface. There
are large volumes of information available related to the shear strength of soils;
however, it is beyond the scope of this design standard to cover the topic in great
detail. It is important to recognize that the selection of shear strengths for use in a
numerical analysis of a slope (natural or manmade) should be a deliberate effort
and involve the entire design team (i.e., designers, laboratory personnel, and
geologists). A valuable reference for shear strength as it relates to slope stability
is the textbook by Duncan and Wright [5]. The textbook by Lambe and Whitman
[6] is a valuable general reference on the subject.

4.3.1 General

Criteria

Stability analyses of embankment dams and natural slopes require the


determination of shear strengths of the materials involved along any potential
failure surface. Based on Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion with effective stress
concepts, shear strength S (mobilized at failure) can be written as:
S = c + ( - u) tan
where:
c' =
=
u =
=

Effective cohesion intercept


Effective angle of shearing resistance
Developed pore pressure on failure surface, at failure
Total normal stress on failure surface due to applied load at failure

Based on undrained shear strength concepts, shear strength su can be written as:
su = f (c)
which expresses the undrained shear strength as a function of c, the effective
consolidation pressure prior to shear failure.

4.3.2

Shear Strength Data and Sources

Material shear strengths can be obtained from field testing, laboratory testing, or
they can be estimated based on experience and judgment, depending on the design
stage of the analysis. The analysis and decision regarding how to obtain shear
strength parameters should also consider the sensitivity of the final slope stability
on the strength parameters. For example, stability analysis may prove to be
insensitive to small features such as gravel toe drains. Varying the strength value

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of the drain material may not have a large impact on the computed stability, and it
may therefore be prudent to use typical values in such a case.
For existing dams in Reclamations inventory, project related earth material (EM)
reports from Reclamation Materials Engineering and Research Laboratory
provide site-specific soil strength data. However, caution should be exercised in
using these past test data if the in situ stress conditions do not match with the
stress conditions that were used in the laboratory tests. Guidance from
experienced design staff should be solicited in deciding appropriateness of past
test data.
In general, values for shear strength parameters to be used in appraisal or
feasibility level design can be estimated based on judgment, previous experience
and testing, local geologic data, or from tabulated data such as that included in
appendix D from references [2] and [7]. For intermediate and final phases of
design, shear strength parameters should be obtained from appropriate laboratory
and field tests.
For fat clays, cyclic wetting and drying can reduce their shear strength to a fully
softened state. Furthermore, if prior shear deformations have occurred in the
foundation materials or material stress-strain behavior is strain softening, the
shear strength of the clay may be at its residual strength value. Consolidated
undrained (CU) tests with pore pressure measurements are used to measure fully
softened strengths. Torsional ring shear and repeated direct shear tests are
performed to determine residual shear strengths of clays in foundations, and
natural and constructed slopes.
In situ shear strength testing can be performed in the field on foundation materials
or embankment materials. Field testing methods include standard penetration test,
vane shear test, cone penetration tests, and borehole shear device test. In situ tests
are often used to estimate undrained shear strength parameters. References [8, 9]
include details of in situ testing.
Laboratory shear strength testing is performed on disturbed or undisturbed
samples of foundation and embankment materials to obtain shear strength
parameters to be used in stability analyses. Appropriate laboratory shear strength
tests include direct shear, repeated direct shear, triaxial shear, torsional ring shear,
and simple shear tests. Shear strength tests should be supplemented with
one-dimensional consolidation (oedometer) tests in order to ascertain the stress
history of the material, particularly when determining undrained shear strength.
Refer to appendix A for selection of proper laboratory tests that are compatible
with field loading conditions. Reference [8] includes details of laboratory testing.
Use of modern (state-of-the-art) sampling and testing equipment and procedures
is advised.

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Determination of the shear strength parameters is the most important phase of a


stability analysis, yet the most difficult, especially for undrained strengths. It is
difficult to obtain representative samples, avoid sample disturbance, simulate
external loading and internal pore pressure conditions, and avoid inherent error in
the testing methods. It is normally impossible to obtain samples that truly
represent the range of materials existing in the field. Therefore, shear strength
parameters are generally determined from samples representing extremes, and
parameters are selected within the range. Loads and stresses on a sample in the
laboratory are different from those on an element of soil located on a failure
surface in the ground. Hence, judgment and experience play an extremely
important role in the evaluation of test results to ensure that the parameters chosen
are representative of the materials in place.
As a general rule, for significant projects, shear strength parameters should be
obtained from appropriate laboratory and field tests. Regardless of the source of
shear strength data (laboratory tests, field tests, published data), sensitivity
analyses by varying the selected strength parameter values should always be
performed to ensure safe design. Results of slope stability analyses, including
sensitivity analyses, should be discussed with the experienced staff, and their
concurrence with the design should be solicited.

4.3.3

Shear Strength Related to Loading Condition

The following loading conditions are usually evaluated for stability analysis of
embankment dams: (1) end of construction, (2) steady-state seepage, and
(3) rapid drawdown. The material shear strength parameters used in the analyses
must correctly reflect the behavior of the material under each loading condition.

End-of-construction loading can be analyzed by using either the undrained


shear strength envelope or the effective stress strength envelope concept.
o Undrained shear strength.Applicable shear strength parameters of
saturated fine-grained foundation soils can be determined from
unconsolidated undrained (UU) triaxial shear tests without pore
pressure measurements conducted on undisturbed samples.
Undisturbed samples should be selected and tested from a range of
depths in the foundation material. Field vane tests, if used, should
also be conducted over a range of depths. Test specimens
representing embankment materials should be compacted to
anticipated placement densities and moisture contents and tested in
UU triaxial compression. The confining pressures used in these
tests shall correspond to the range of normal stresses expected in the
field. Generally, the undrained shear strength envelopes are parallel
to the normal stress axis for fully saturated fine-grained soils, but for
partially saturated soils, envelopes have a curved portion in the low

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Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

normal stress range. This curved portion, or an approximation of it,


should be used when the anticipated normal embankment stresses
are in that range. UU triaxial shear test results approximate
end-of-construction shear strengths of embankment zones consisting
of impervious soils. These tests, performed on undisturbed samples,
are also applicable to impervious foundation materials where the
consolidation rate is slow compared to the fill placement rate.
o Effective stress.Effective stress shear strength parameters are used
in conjunction with the estimated embankment and foundation pore
pressures generated by placement of the embankment materials.
CU triaxial shear tests with pore pressure measurements are
appropriate for clays and silts which, because of their low
permeabilities, can be assumed to fail under undrained conditions.
Consolidated drained (CD) triaxial shear tests or direct shear tests may
be used for free-draining foundation and embankment materials.
Shear strength of overconsolidated clay and clay-shale foundation
materials could be obtained by using CU triaxial shear tests. If these
clays have undergone prior shear deformation or the stress-strain
behavior is strain softening, the residual strength may be appropriate
and repeated direct shear or torsional ring shear tests should be used.
When thixotropy is a possibility, shear strength parameters higher than
residual may be considered.
Steady-state seepage loading condition should be analyzed using effective
stress shear strength parameters in conjunction with measured or estimated
embankment and foundation pore pressures. The use of the CD triaxial shear
test or the CU triaxial shear test with pore pressure measurements is
appropriate. Sufficient back pressures should be used to effect nearly
100-percent saturation for both compacted samples of embankment materials
and undisturbed foundation samples to ensure accurate pore pressure
measurements. The use of the direct shear test is applicable for sands. It can
also be used for silts and clays; however, the required rate of shearing would
be very slow; therefore, it may not be practical. If prior shear deformation has
occurred in the foundation materials or material stress-strain behavior is strain
softening, residual strengths may be appropriate for these materials. If
foundation materials consist of very soft clays, undrained shear strength of
these materials should be determined as discussed above under the heading:
Undrained shear strength.
Rapid drawdown loading condition can be analyzed using effective stress
shear strength parameters in conjunction with embankment and foundation
pore pressures or using undrained shear strength developed as a result of
consolidation stresses prior to drawdown. The CU triaxial shear test with
pore pressure measurements is recommended for impervious and
semipervious soils because such tests will provide both effective stress

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shear strength parameters as well as undrained strength as a function of


consolidation stress. Sufficient back pressures should be used to effect
nearly 100-percent saturation to ensure accurate pore pressure
measurements. CD triaxial shear test or direct shear test can be used if the
material is highly permeable (> 10-4 cm/s).
For testing of overconsolidated clay shales, considerations must be given
to the geology of the damsite, the existence of bedding planes, and past
shear deformations. CU triaxial shear tests with pore pressure
measurements, CD triaxial shear tests, or direct shear tests may be used for
these materials. Where potential failure surfaces follow existing shear
planes, residual shear strengths from repeated direct shear tests or
torsional ring shear tests are appropriate.
Shear strengths to be used for undrained strength analysis shall be based
on the minimum of the combined CD and CU shear strength envelopes
of embankment and foundation materials. Effective stresses used to
determine the available undrained shear strength shall be the consolidation
stresses developed prior to drawdown. The stability of upstream slopes
needs to be analyzed for this loading condition.

4.3.4

Anisotropic Shear Strength


The undrained strength of clays varies with the orientation of the principal
stress at failure and with the orientation of the failure plane. UU tests on
vertical, inclined, and horizontal specimens provide the data to determine
variation of undrained strength with direction of compression. Typically,
the anisotropic shear strength is expressed by the variation in Su with
orientation of the failure plane [5].

4.3.5

Residual Shear Strength


Residual shear strength of clays may be determined by testing remolded
soil samples via repeated direct shear test or ring shear test. However,
because the testing procedures for repeated direct shear are still being
standardized, professional guidance should be solicited when conducting
these tests.

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4.4

Determination of Pore Pressures

4.4.1

Phreatic Surface Method

Pore water pressures for steady-state seepage loading conditions can be estimated
as hydrostatic pressures below the steady-state phreatic surface without
introducing significant error. The steady-state phreatic surface can be estimated
following established procedures developed by Casagrande [10], Pavlovsky [11],
Cedergren [12], or others. In general, pore water pressures estimated from the
phreatic surface method are conservative for zoned embankments; however, this
method may underestimate the values for some special loading conditions such as
infiltration of precipitation, artesian pressures in foundation, etc. Other methods
of evaluating pore pressures should be used in such cases. It is acceptable to have
multiple phreatic surfaces in a zoned embankment, one for each of the zones in
the embankment and its foundation.
The phreatic surface method can also be used for determining pore pressures
under rapid drawdown conditions. The phreatic surface from the steady seepage
condition is modified in accordance with the following conservative assumptions:
(1) pore pressure dissipation as a result of drainage does not occur during
drawdown in impervious materials and (2) the water surface is lowered
instantaneously from the top of active conservation water surface to the top of
inactive conservation capacity water surface. The phreatic surface may be
assumed to follow the upstream surface of the embankment. For embankments
with semipervious shell materials, partial dissipation of pore pressures may be
assumed in the shell material.
The phreatic surface method is not appropriate for determining pore pressures
under end of construction or during construction loading conditions.

4.4.2

Graphical Flow Net Method

Under steady-state seepage conditions, flow net methods of analysis are used on
transformed sections of the embankment and foundation to determine pore
pressures. The values of horizontal to vertical permeability ratios depend on the
method of compaction of embankment materials and/or geologic history of the
foundation materials.

4.4.3

Numerical Methods

Numerical methods for determining pore pressures are excellent tools for rapid
drawdown and steady-state seepage loading conditions for complex geometric

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conditions and are the only way to compute pore pressures in three-dimensional
space. However, the added degree of sophistication is not necessary in most
cases. Finite element, finite difference, and boundary element are some of the
well-known numerical methods that are used to determine pore pressures.
For estimating pore water pressure during rapid drawdown, numerical procedures
that reflect the influence of dilatancy on the pore water pressure changes are
based on stress changes during drawdown. These procedures are described in
reference [5].
Permeabilities of all materials in the embankment and foundation must be known
in order to get an accurate estimate of pressures and flow.
If necessary, numerical methods should be considered in the final phase of design.
All of the preceding methods are described in detail in Chapter 8, Seepage, of this
design standard.

4.4.4

Field Measurement (Instrumentation) Method

The development of pore pressures during construction in either the foundation or


in the embankment depends upon the soil properties and the amount of
consolidation occurring during construction. Pore pressure observations made
during construction should be compared with the predicted magnitudes of pore
pressures for effective stress analysis to ensure that the actual pore pressures do
not rise to a level that will cause instability. Pore pressure instrumentation
(piezometers) to be used for observation during construction should be no flow
devices.
If it is necessary to confirm stability of the dam during construction, the
embankment and foundation should be adequately instrumented to monitor
movement and pore pressures at critical sections corresponding to the stability
analyses.
Pore pressures obtained from piezometers can be used directly for stability
analyses of slopes of the embankment or natural slopes under steady-state or rapid
drawdown conditions. Alternately, piezometer data can be converted into
phreatic surface(s) in the embankment and foundation materials and used as such
in stability calculations.

4.4.5

Hilfs Method

A detailed procedure for predicting a total stress versus pore water pressure curve
from the results of a few laboratory consolidation tests and a large number of field

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Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

percolation-settlement tests is given by Hilf [3]. The procedure can be adapted to


estimate pore water pressures during construction stages.

4.5

Slope Stability Analyses

4.5.1

Method of Analysis

Reclamations preferred method of stability analysis of earth and rockfill


embankments is limit equilibrium based on Spencers procedure [13]. The
procedure: (1) assumes the resultant side forces acting on each slice are parallel
to each other, (2) satisfies complete statics, and (3) is adapted for calculating
factor of safety and side-force inclination for circular and noncircular shear
surface geometries. To facilitate stability analysis of embankments, Spencers
procedure is implemented in computer programs. Use of a particular computer
program may be adopted with approval from appropriate line supervisors and
managers. Additional comments on computer programs are included in
appendix C.
For cohesionless materials (c = 0), the infinite slope method can be used to
estimate the stability of the slope of an embankment [5].
Continuum mechanics based finite element or finite difference analysis, which
satisfies static equilibrium and is capable of including stress changes due to varied
elastic properties, heterogeneity of soil masses, and geometric shapes can be used
to analyze stability of slopes at the discretion of the designer. Limit equilibrium
based analysis, which uses Spencers procedure, should also be conducted for
comparison of results.
Sample calculations for stability analyses using Spencers procedure are included
in appendix B. References [5, 14] include useful information on slope stability
calculations.

4.5.2

Slip Surface Configuration

There are two common slip surface configurations used for stability analysis. The
circular arc slip surface is more applicable for analyzing essentially homogeneous
or zoned embankments founded on thick deposits of fine-grained materials.
Noncircular slip surfaces, described by linear segments, are generally more
applicable for zoned embankments on foundations containing one or several
horizontal or nearly horizontal weak layers.
The slip surface resulting from an automatic search should only be regarded as a
first approximation of the critical surface. For accurate results, several automatic

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searches should be used, each with a different starting point. Selection of


potential slip surface configuration requires experienced judgment in selecting the
critical surface considering the stratigraphic conditions and structure of the slope.

4.5.3

Slip Surface Location

The location of critical slip surfaces should be related to the location of relatively
weaker materials and zones of high pore pressure. The designer should evaluate
the overall stability of the sliding mass and determine the location of slip surfaces
with minimum factors of safety. In general, the following slip surfaces should be
examined:
Slip surfaces that may pass through either the fill material alone or through
the fill and the foundation materials and which do not necessarily involve
the crest of the dam.
Slip surfaces that may pass through either the fill material alone or through
the fill and the foundation materials and which include the crest of the dam.
Slip surfaces which pass through major zones of the fill and the foundation.
Slip surfaces that involve only the outer portion of the upstream or

downstream slope. In this case, the infinite slope analysis may be

appropriate for cohesionless materials.

The stability of downstream slopes should be analyzed for steady-state


seepage loading condition. The stability of upstream slopes is generally not
critical for steady-state seepage loading condition; however, stability of
upstream slope for certain configurations of embankment zoning and
foundation conditions (e.g., upstream sloping core, a downstream cutoff
trench, and weak upstream foundation material that was not removed)
should be analyzed.

4.5.4

Progressive Failure

Some common conditions that can lead to progressive failure are described in the
following along with some possible solutions. There may be other modes of
progressive failure [5, 15].
Because of nonuniform stress distributions on potential failure surfaces,
relatively large strains may develop in some areas and peak shear strengths
may be reached progressively from area to area so that the total shear
resistance will be less than if the peak shear strength was mobilized
simultaneously along the entire failure surface. Where the stress-strain

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curve for a soil exhibits a significant drop in shear stress after peak shear
stresses are reached (strain softening stress-strain behavior), the possibility
of progressive failure is increased, and the use of peak shear strengths in
stability analyses would be unconservative. Possible solutions are to:
(1) increase the required safety factor and use peak shear strengths or
(2) use shear strengths that are less than peak shear strengths and use the
typical required factors of safety. In certain soils or shale bedrock materials,
it may even be necessary to use fully softened or residual shear strengths.
Where embankments are constructed on foundations consisting of brittle,
sensitive, highly plastic, or heavily overconsolidated clays or clay shales
having stress-strain characteristics significantly different from those of the
embankment materials, consideration should be given to: (1) increasing the
required safety factor over the minimums required in table 4.2.4-1, (2) using
shear strengths for the embankment materials at strains comparable to those
in the foundation, or (3) using appropriate softened or residual shear
strengths of the foundation soils.
Progressive failure may also start along tension cracks resulting from
longitudinal or transverse differential settlements occurring during or
subsequent to construction or from shrinkage caused by drying. The
maximum depth of cracking, assuming an infinite slope, can be estimated
from the equation (2c/) tan (45 + /2) with the limitation that the
maximum depth assumed does not exceed 0.5 times the slope height. Shear
resistance along the crack should be ignored, and the possibility that the
crack will be filled with water should be considered in all stability analyses
for embankments where this condition is possible.

4.5.5

Three-Dimensional Effect

Three-dimensional effect should be considered for the stability of upstream and


downstream slopes of (i) embankments in narrow canyons, and (ii) the
abutment-embankment contact area (groin). For a localized low strength material
in the foundation, stress distribution in the longitudinal direction of the
embankment and the resulting stability of the slope should be considered.
Continuum mechanics based finite element or finite difference analysis of the
embankment is recommended for evaluation of the three-dimensional effect.
Limit equilibrium based analysis provides an alternative means to account for
three-dimensional geometry (of shear surface) effects on factor of safety results.
Reference [16] should be consulted for creating a three-dimensional numerical
model. Reference [17] includes useful information on the appropriate boundary
conditions for three-dimensional numerical models.

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4.5.6

Verification of Analysis

A designer must verify to his/her own satisfaction that his/her stability analysis is
correct. The method of verification will depend on the designers knowledge and
experience. A designer that has a great deal of experience may be able to judge
whether the factor of safety from a computer program appears reasonable, while a
less experienced engineer may need a more detailed check, such as a hand
solution for the critical surfaces.
As a minimum, any engineer doing a stability analysis should research the
program that he is using so that he understands the assumptions, theory,
methodology, and weaknesses inherent in that program. The engineer should
have a good working knowledge of soil mechanics so that he/she can make
intelligent selections of shear strength parameters and other properties used as
input to the program. The engineer should double check all input data (material
strengths, weights, pore pressures, and geometry) and in addition, ensure that
input data are independently checked. The engineer should evaluate output from
the computer program (computed stresses, forces, pore water pressures, and
weights) to ensure that it is reasonable and not blindly accept the validity of
factors of safety from the program.
There is a range of methods to check a stability program, such as calculating a
solution by the same or different methods on the critical surface by hand or by
using a different computer program; using computed stresses, forces, and weights
from the output of the program to evaluate equilibrium condition of each slice; or
using judgment based on comparing factors of safety and output to past
experience. The ultimate goal being that the designer must verify the results of
the analysis in a manner that ensures accuracy and with which he/she can submit
the analysis to review with confidence.
Guidance on printed outputs from computer programs used for stability analyses
is illustrated using sample problems included in appendix B. The printed output
should have sufficient details to allow for an independent check and peer review
of the stability analyses performed without re-doing the analyses. All input data
should be checked for each slice. Pore-water pressure should be carefully
assessed, especially when multiple phreatic surfaces are used to define pore-water
pressures in different zones, or discrete pore water pressures data from field
measurements are used. For a solution to be valid, the following characteristics
should be met: (i) the interslice forces should be compressive; (ii) the interslice
forces (thrust line) should be in the slide mass, preferably in the middle third;
(iii) the interslice force inclination should be within reasonable bounds; and
(iv) the normal forces on the base of slices should be compressive. Appropriate
users manual(s) of the computer program should be consulted for additional
guidance to verify that the solution is reasonable.

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4.5.7

Existing Dams

Slope stability analysis of an existing dam becomes necessary if the dam is to


be raised to increase flood storage or to increase permanent storage of the
reservoir. If an existing dam experiences slope failure (e.g., B.F. Sisk Dam in
California, figures 4.5.7-1 and 4.5.7-2), slope stability analysis becomes an
important part of investigations to understand the cause(s) of the failure and to
design remedial measures. Other situations in which slope stability analysis of an
existing dam may be necessary include: addition of stability berm to improve
performance of the dam during a seismic event (e.g., Pineview Dam in Utah,
figures 4.5.7-3 and 4.5.7-4) or if the observed performance of a dam, in some
other manner, indicates signs of distress in the dam. In general, for a
satisfactorily functioning dam with no performance-based deficiency needing
remediation, slope stability analysis is not a required activity [18].

Figure 4.5.7-1. B.F. Sisk Dam (near Los Banos, California). View showing
upstream slope failure during reservoir drawdown.

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Figure 4.5.7-2. General cross section of B.F. Sisk Dam in the location of the slide
during reservoir drawdown.

Figure 4.5.7-3. Pineview Dam (near Ogden, Utah). View showing stability berm to
improve performance of the dam during a seismic event.

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Figure 4.5.7-4. General cross section of Pineview Dam with stability berm.

4.5.8

Excavation Slopes

Excavation slope instability may result from: (i) failure to control seepage forces
in and at the toe of the slope, (ii) too steep slopes for the shear strength of the
materials being excavated, and (iii) insufficient shear strength of subgrade soils.
Slope instability may occur suddenly, as the slope is being excavated, or after the
slope has been standing for some time. Slope stability analyses are useful in
sands, silts, and normally consolidated and overconsolidated clays. Care must be
taken to select appropriate shear strength parameters. For excavation slopes in
heavily overconsolidated clays, use of fully softened shear strength is considered
appropriate. For cohesionless soils, failure surfaces are shallow and have circular
configuration; for clays, the slip surfaces are wedge shaped and may be deep
seated.

4.5.9

Back Analysis

When a slope fails by sliding, it can be used to gain insight into the conditions in
the slope at the time of the failure by performing numerical model analyses of the
site. The factor of safety at failure is taken to be 1.0. Following a significant
slope failure, field and laboratory investigations are generally carried out. These
investigations can provide some data for the numerical model (e.g., location and
extent of the shear failure, unit weights of soils, ground water and pore water
pressure). In numerical models, these data can be used to back-calculate shear
strengths for the factor of safety to be 1.0. Depending on the extent of the field
and laboratory investigations, and accuracy of the numerical models and methods
of analysis, back-calculated shear strengths may provide useful information for

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design of remedial measures. However, much experience and judgment are


needed in numerical analyses and in assessing the results of numerical models.
Reference [5] should be consulted as it has useful information on back analyses
based on case studies of slope failures.

4.5.10 Multi-Stage Stability Analysis for Rapid


Drawdown
During rapid drawdown, the stabilizing effect of the water on the upstream face of
embankment is lost, but the pore-water pressures within the embankment may
remain high. As a result, the stability of the upstream face of the dam can be
much reduced. The dissipation of pore-water pressure in the embankment is
largely influenced by the permeability and the storage characteristic of the
embankment materials. Highly permeable materials drain quickly during rapid
drawdown, but low permeability materials take a long time to drain.
For high permeability soils, an effective stress stability analysis using the initial
and final steady-state phreatic surfaces and the associated reservoir loading is
appropriate.
For low permeability soils, a multi-stage stability analysis which uses a
combination of effective strength results and total strength (CU) results to
estimate a worst-case scenario should be considered.
Two-stage stability computations consist of two complete sets of stability
calculations for each trial shear surface: the first set is to calculate effective
normal and the shear stresses along the shear surface for the pre-drawdown
steady-state phreatic surface and full reservoir loading conditions; the second set
is to calculate factor of safety for undrained loading due to sudden drawdown.
Three-stage stability computations consist of three complete sets of stability
calculations for each trial shear surface the first two sets are the same as in
two-stage stability computations. A third set of computations is performed if the
undrained shear strength employed in the second stage computations for some of
the slices is greater than the shear strength that would exist if the soil were
drained.
Reference [5, 19] should be consulted for proper use of the multi-stage stability
analysis for rapid drawdown.

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4.6

References

[1] Bureau of Reclamation, Technical Service Center Operating Guidelines,


Denver, Colorado, 2005.
[2] Bureau of Reclamation, Design of Small Dams, Denver, Colorado, 2004.
(Table 5-1, Average engineering properties of compacted soils from the
Western United States, is included in appendix D.)
[3]

Hilf, J.W., Estimating Construction Pore Pressures in Rolled Earth Dams,


Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Soil Mechanics
and Foundation Engineering, Rotterdam, pp. 234-240, 1948.

[4] Lee, K.N., and Haley, S.C., Strength of Compacted Clay at High
Pressure, Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering,
pp. 1303-1332, 1968.
[5] Duncan, J.M., and S.G. Wright, Soil Strength and Slope Stability, John
Wiley and Sons, New Jersey, 2005.
[6] Lambe, W.T., and R.V. Whitman, Soil Mechanics, John Wiley and Sons,
New York, 1969.
[7] Duncan, J.M., P. Byrne, K.S. Wong, and P. Mabry, Strength, Stress-Strain
and Bulk Modulus Parameters for Finite Element Analyses of Stresses
and Movements in Soil Masses, Report No. UCB/GT/80-01,
University of California, Berkeley, California, 1980. (Tables 5 and 6
of this report are included in Appendix D.)
[8]

Bureau of Reclamation, Earth Manual, Denver, Colorado, 1998.

[9] Clayton, C.R.I., M.C. Matthews, and N.E. Simons, Site Investigation,
Blackwell Science, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1995.
[10] Casagrande, A., Seepage Through Dams, Contributions to Soil Mechanics,
1925-1940, Boston Society of Civil Engineers, Boston, Massachusetts,
pp. 295-336, 1940.
[11] Karpoff, K.P., Pavloskys Theory of Phreatic Line and Slope Stability,
American Society of Civil Engineers, separate No. 386, New York,
1954.
[12] Cedergren, H., Seepage, Drainage, and Flow Nets, John Wiley and Sons,
Inc., New York, 1977.
[13] Spencer, E., Thrust Line Criterion in Embankment Stability Analysis,
Geotechnique, Vol. 23, No. 1, 1973.

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Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

[14] Chugh, A.K., and J.D. Smart, Suggestions for Slope Stability
Calculations, Computers and Structures, Vol. 14, No. 1-2, pp. 4350,
1981. (Copy of the paper is included in Appendix D.)
[15] Chugh, A.K., Variable Factor of Safety in Slope Stability Analysis,
Geotechnique, Vol. 36, No. 1, 1986. (Copy of the paper is included in
Appendix D.)
[16] Chugh, A.K., and T.D. Stark, An Automated Procedure for 3-Dimensional
Mesh Generation, Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on
FALC and Numerical Modeling in Geomechanics, Sudbury, Ontario,
pp. 9-15, 2003. (Copy of the paper is included in Appendix D.)
[17] Chugh, A.K., On the Boundary Conditions in Slope Stability Analysis,
International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in
Geomechanics, Vol. 27, pp. 905-926, 2003. (Copy of the paper is
included in Appendix D.)
[18] Peck, R.B., The Place of Stability Calculations in Evaluating the Safety of
Existing Embankment Dams, Civil Engineering Practice, Journal of
the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, Boston, Massachusetts,
Fall 1988, pp. 67-80. (Copy of the paper is included in Appendix D.)
[19] Edris, E.V., Jr., and S.G. Wright, Users Guide: UTEXAS3 Slope Stability
Package, Vol. IV, Users Manual, Instruction Report GL-87-1,
Geotechnical Laboratory, Department of the Army, Waterways
Experiment Station, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg,
Mississippi, 1992.
[20] Germaine, J.T., and C.C. Ladd, State-of-the-Art-Paper: Triaxial Testing of
Saturated Soils, Advanced Triaxial Testing of Soil and Rock,
ASTM STP 977, Donaghe, R.T., Chaney, R.C., and Silver, M.L., Eds.,
American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, 1988, pp. 421-459.
[21] Abramson, L.W., T.S. Lee, S. Sharma, and G.M. Boyce, Slope Stability and
Stabilization Methods, John Wiley and Sons, New Jersey, 2002.
.[22] Chugh, A.K., User Information Manual, Slope Stability Analysis Program;
SSTAB2 (A modified version of SSTAB1 by Wright, S.G.), Bureau of
Reclamation, Denver, Colorado, February 1992.
[23] Johnson, S. J., Analysis and Design Relating to Embankments; A
State-of-the-Art Review, U.S. Army Engineer Waterways
Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi, February 1975.

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Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

[24] Wright, S.G., SSTAB1 -A General Computer Program for Slope Stability
Analyses, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at
Austin, Texas, August 1974.
[25] Edris, E.V., Jr., and S.G. Wright, Users Guide: UTEXAS2 Slope Stability
Package, Vol. 1, Users Manual, Instruction Report GL-87-1,
Geotechnical Laboratory, Department of the Army, Waterways
Experiment Station, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg,
Mississippi, 1987.
[26] Geo-Slope International, Slope/W Slope Stability Analysis, Geo-Slope
International, 2007.
[27] Itasca Consulting Group, Inc., FLAC Fast Lagrangian Analysis of
Continua, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2006.
[28] O. Hungr Geotechnical Research Inc., CLARA-W Slope Stability
Analysis in Two or Three Dimensions for Microcomputers, West
Vancouver, British Columbia, 2010.
[29] Itasca Consulting Group Inc., FLAC3D Fast Lagrangian Analysis of
Continua in 3 Dimensions, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2002.

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Appendix A

Selection of Shear Strength Parameters

Type of Test: Unconsolidated-Undrained (UU) Triaxial Compression test


Loading conditions and Mohr-Coulomb envelope are shown on figure A-I.
Use in Stability Analysis: Unconsolidated-undrained tests approximate the
end-of-construction behavior of impervious embankment zones in which rate of
consolidation is slow compared to rate of fill placement. Confining pressures
used in the tests should encompass the range in total normal stresses which will
act along potential failure surfaces through such impervious embankment zones.
The UU strength is highly dependent on both compacted dry density and molding
water content. Laboratory samples should be compacted to the dry density
specified for the impervious embankment zones at water contents wet and dry of
optimum within the range of compaction water content to be permitted in the
specifications. Because the UU strength is dependent on dry density, it is
desirable to obtain samples for testing by trimming cylindrical test samples from a
specimen compacted in a Proctor mold. Figure A-2 shows the recommended
procedure for a compaction test.
Remarks: Foundation materials which are stiff and fissured may fail under
drained conditions (i.e., shear-induced pore pressure equal to zero) even
though they are fine grained and subjected to short-term loading such as
end-of-construction. Therefore, for these materials, an effective stress analysis
assuming zero shear-induced pore pressures is more conservative and should be
used instead of an analysis using UU results.
In general, and particularly for foundation materials, CU testing is preferred over
UU testing because of the effects of sample disturbance and of high rate of strain
in UU testing. These effects tend to offset each other, but not in a predictable
way. Reference [20] should be consulted for a more detailed discussion on the
relative merits of these two tests.

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Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

l10.

+c

Saturated samples

~D~
tOe

l1o.

OJ= 0c

1=OC+l!J.O.

T
Partially saturated samples

NOTE: As degree of
saturation approaches
100 percent, failure
envelope e1pproaches

horizontal

Figure A-1. Unconsolidated-Undrained (UU) triaxial compression test.

Dry density Vd

Laboratory compaction curve


Vdmax

Obtain test samples from Proctor


mold samples at water contents
equal to w dry and w wet

Min. req'd Vd

Compaction water content,

Figure A-2. Compaction test.

A-2

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Chapter 4, Appendix A
Selection of Shear Strength Parameters

Type of Test: Consolidated-Undrained (CU) Triaxial Shear with pore pressure


measurements test
Loading condition and Mohr-Coulomb envelope are shown on figures A-3 and
A-4.
Use in Stability Analysis: Consolidated undrained triaxial tests with pore
pressure measurements have two primary uses in stability analyses: (1) they
furnish effective stress shear strength parameters, <p' and c', for use in analyses for
steady-state seepage or other loading conditions where shear-induced pore
pressures can be taken as zero (e.g., pervious zones in rapid drawdown or
end-of-construction), and (2) they furnish undrained shear strengths as a function
of effective consolidation pressure for saturated materials, for use in analyses for
end-of-construction condition, or for analyses related to rapid drawdown
conditions. As discussed in the main text, rapid drawdown analyses should use
shear strengths obtained from a composite of the effective stress and undrained
strength envelopes. The normal stress used to select the shear strength from the
composite envelope should be the effective consolidation stress acting on the base
of a slice prior to drawdown; refer to figure A-5 (i.e., the total normal stress minus
the pore pressure taken from the steady-state flow net corresponding to pool level
before drawdown).
Consolidation pressures used in the CU tests should encompass the range in
effective normal stresses which will act along potential failure surfaces prior to
drawdown. Because the undrained shear strength derived from the CU tests is
highly dependent on both compacted dry density and molding water content,
samples should be prepared as discussed for UU tests.
CU triaxial tests can be performed in compression or extension. The loading
condition should be based on the expected state of stress at failure. Also,
attention should be paid to choosing the consolidation conditions used. Modern
computer automation and control allow for anisotropic or Ko consolidation to be
employed in triaxial tests. Isotropic consolidation can lead to unconservative
strength parameters if the in situ state of stress is anisotropic [20].
Remarks: Because derivation of the effective stress shear strength parameters
from the CU tests depends on the accurate measurement of shear-induced pore
pressures, samples must be pressure saturated to ensure 1OO-percent saturation.
Complete saturation can be verified by applying an increment of all-around
pressure with the drainage line to the sample closed, measuring the pore pressure
induced in the sample, and computing the B coefficient (observed pore pressure
divided by increment of all-around pressure). The B coefficient should be at least
0.95 before conducting the axial loading stage of the test.

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

A-3

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

Stage I
(Consolidation)

Stage II
(Undrained compression)

cr'c

~aa

a'c

a'c

... a'c

II

a'
c.,

=>

... a'c

11-

=>

cr'c

a'c

t ~cr.
At failure:
Total stresses

a 3 = a'c
a 1 = a'C + ~a a

Effective stresses

where

Uf

a'3 a 3 - Uf a'c - Uf
a'1 = a'3 + ~a a = a'c +

~a a

- Uf

=pore pressure at failure


induced by

Undrained shear strength

~a a

Su = 0.5

~a a

cos

<J)

Figure A-3. Consolidated-Undrained (CU) triaxial compression test with isotropic


consolidation.

A-4

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix A
Selection of Shear Strength Parameters

For U,

=+ (increase)

For U,

=- (decrease)

0',

t.o,

Undrained strength

envelope (Su vs. 0', )

-i

Effective stress

circle

Total stress
envelope

~ T~tal stress
~
circle

.1

Figure A-4. Shear strength envelopes for Consolidated-Undrained (CU) traxial


compression test.

08-13(4)-6

October 2011

A-5

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

Effective stress envelope - (from CD or CU tests)

_
-/
/
/

/"

-
5 -+-------_--------/---/-...:::-~-.,,7-"""/'-----------=,--,--::i::.,~
/

./ /
SQ) -+------------,......
/
/

envelope (constructed
from cu tests)

/"

a
O'N

(2)

Effective normal stresses on


\
failure surface prior to drawdown

Figure A-5. Shear strength envelopes for Consolidated-Drained (CD) or


Consolidated-Undrained (CU) traxial compression test.

A-6

DS-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix A
Selection of Shear Strength Parameters

Type of Test: Consolidated-Drained (CD) Triaxial Shear test

Loading condition and Mohr-Coulomb envelope are shown on figure A-6.


Use in Stability Analysis: Consolidated drained triaxial tests are used to obtain
the effective stress shear strength parameters, <p' and c'. These parameters are
appropriate for use in effective stress analyses. Examples would be steady-state
seepage for all embankment and foundation soils (except for natural soils such as
overconsolidated clays or shales which may have been subjected to past shear
deformations and for which the residual shear strength, determined from repeated
direct shear or torsional ring shear tests, would be appropriate) or end-of
construction or rapid drawdown loading conditions for pervious soils only. The
effective stress shear strength parameters from the CD test can be used in lieu of
the parameters determined in the CD test to formulate the composite Mohr
Coulomb envelope for rapid drawdown analyses.

Because the effective stress shear strength parameters are a function largely of
initial dry density for a given soil, samples should be prepared as discussed for
UU tests.

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

A-7

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

Stage I
(Consolidation)

Stage II
(Axial Compression)

o'c

R
~8~
o'

o'

+o'c

t ~Oa
At failure (all stresses are effective stresses):

I:

~oa

:1

Figure A-G. Consolidated-Drained (CD) triaxial compression test with isotropic


consolidation.

A-8

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix A
Selection of Shear Strength Parameters

Type of Test: Direct Shear (DS) test

Loading condition and Mohr-Coulomb envelope are shown on figure A-7.


Use in Stability Analysis: The direct shear test can be used to determine drained
shear strength parameters for many types of soil, provided the shear box is of
adequate size according to the maximum grain size of the soil. Undisturbed or
compacted samples can be tested. The test is also appropriate for determining
fully softened strength (i.e., normally consolidated peak strength). Consolidation
stresses should encompass the range of in situ stresses expected to occur on the
anticipated failure surface.

In foundations consisting of highly overconsolidated clays or shales, prior


deformations along bedding planes, shear zones, or faults may have occurred in
the geologic past such that the maximum available shear strength along these
discontinuities is the residual shear strength. Under such conditions, the direct
shear test is appropriate for obtaining the residual strength. Samples should be
oriented in the direct shear device such that shearing occurs parallel to the
discontinuity so that the residual strength is measured. If the residual shear
strength is used in analysis, somewhat lower factors of safety than shown in
table 4.2.4-] may be acceptable.

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

A-9

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

IQC
aN

NC Peak Strength (fully softened strength)

~~t--------~~~
t

Peak Strength

------=----

L..

C"""Residual Strength

III
4>

.r:.

ell

aN

Shear Displacement
T

O"~

=EHoctiVG stress on f<lUure


plane

r. ~"l( =Peak shear strength

T ....c
~.

Tpulo.-I---------'Y'J

1"0'

~~'~.

~ 1--------7'c----:oIr"'r

=Residual shear strength

= E:Hec1llle angle of shearing

resistance

0 ...

=Residual angle of sMarlng

a')j

r6sist3nce

Figure A-7. Direct shear test.

A-10

DS-13( 4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix A
Selection of Shear Strength Parameters

Type of Test: Direct Simple Shear (DSS) test


Loading condition and Mohr-Coulomb envelope are shown in figure A-8 [21].
Use in Stability Analysis: The simple shear test imposes constant volume,
undrained shearing. The strengths derived from this test can be used in a manner
similar to the strengths derived from CD tests.
The simple shear state of stress corresponds to plane strain with constantly
rotating principal stresses. The simple shear state of stress occurs in the field
directly beneath embankment slopes. It should be noted that the state of stress
within the specimen is not as uniform or well defined as for triaxial tests.
Although the results are plotted in terms of the shear stress and normal effective
stress on the horizontal plane and are useful for engineering purposes, the results
cannot be directly compared to effective stress strengths derived from other tests.

sample

I~ O'h
~

Initial Conditions

With application of shear

stress on top and base only

<P

/------'-

,r---

Circle at failure
Initial circle

0'1f

Normal stress, 0'

Figure A-B. Direct simple shear test.

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

A-11

_len Slo_cIs No. 13: Embonkmon' Oomo

""".r 'co,

II i. SUMi'y Atuly.io. Th< lOI':Oi<Jnal nng


cal1 be u..,o to dctcnni""
fully ",Ilen! ond ~id ...1
of roI>c,o;'. (silt on<! <I.y) "",,,,n.I,, T<8/'o&
i. f"rlormcd u'Hkr dl1lin! rondj,iom ond i. 'yp,cally ac<:ompli.hocl u.i"l!
rocoo"ito'cd ... ,lolT)' 'Yl'" ,,,,,,,,rocn., Th. oppar>'u, ''''''''' the
"",,.1
.,00 of ,be 'bear ...... fae<: c""""", durinl: shear .nd """'" Ii><: ."""irocn
ooo'inOOll,ly in one dircclion of
f.... ny mlIgni''''''' of dioplllCcrllCTl', Th"
.llow, <I.y ",,,,,los to I><rome oligncd ","'llcl '" rho ~i"""ioo of ""'or and
0110"'" th< n:,id...1c<HHli,ioo to be n:..,bed, Fully i<>l\CIled "n:ngll> i, dclcn",ned
by tosting ,lolT)' 'I'"""",n., '1be folly IIOn.ned """nsth i. often tol.on to I>< tl><
"".k >lrcngth of,"" """",.lIy <oo",lid"ed ",il.

""'"1:'"'

c"""__

"""i""

"
oc_
Fulyoofl_

(NC> ....k

FlU"" A-9.

TotO~ ring

0110"''''.

Appendix B

Spencers Method of Analysis

Figure B-I(a) is the general description of the slope stability problem. For any
vertical slice, abdc, the forces acting on it are sho'.vn in figure B-I(b). HL and H R
are the hydrostatic forces exerted by the subsurface water on the vertical
boundaries of the slice (assumed to be known). Other forces acting on the free
body diagram of the slice figure B-l(b) are defined at the end of this appendix.
The static equilibrium of forces acting on the slice shown in figure B-l(b) can be
expressed as:

~
ZR = ZL

C/

b sec tI.

W sin l:t

~ (W cos Ci
F

U) tan/

+ -------.....--------------

cos(o - a)

[1 - ~ tan(o-a) tan $']

P cDs(p-a) [tan(p-a)

cos(/;-a)

~ tan

$' ]

[1 - ~ tanio-a) tan $' ]

H L cos a

[1 + ~ tan a tan $' ]

(1)

+
CDS(

0- a)

[1 - ~ tan(1i -a) tan $' ]

H R CDSa
cos(li-a)

08-13(4)-6

October 2011

[1

tan a tan $'

[1 - ~ tanio-a) tan $' ]

B-1

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

The moment equilibrium of the slice shown in figure B-I(b) can be expressed as:

!!.- [tanS

[1 ZLJ
+

ZR

- tana]

~ cos~ sed) [h 3 tan~

(2)

- e]

ZR

+ -

ZR

B-2

sed) [H L h4 - H R hs]

08-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix B
Spencer's Method of Analysis

(a) General slope stability problem description.


p

HR

h2

~I!4I= _H~ l=.: ~dC: : : :-: -~s~-i=-:-: _:-: :th=~-=_=u

u
W

b/2

b/2
N

(b) Forces acting on a typical slice.


Figure B-1. Free body diagram of a typical slice.

DS-13(4)-6

October 2011

B-3

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

The unknowns in equations (l) and (2) are ZL, ZR, hi, hz, 0, and F. The boundary
conditions are defined in terms of ZL,I, hl,1 for the first slice and ZR,], hz,1 for the
last slice. By using an assumed value for the solution parameters (F, 0) and the
known boundary conditions ZL,I and hl,1 for slice], it becomes possible to use
equations (l) and (2) in a recursive manner, slice by slice, and evaluate ZR,I and
hz,1 for the last slice. The solution of equations (l) and (2) proceeds along the
following steps [] 4,22]:
]. Assume some nonzero value for the factor of safety, F, and thrust line
inclination, o. (F, 0) are the solution parameters for the problem.
2. Knowing the boundary conditions on the left face of slice], i.e., ZL,I and
hl,l, calculate ZR,I and hZ,1 for the right face of slice 1. Because of
material continuity between slices along vertical boundaries, ZL,Z =
ZR,I and hz,1 = hl,z. Thus, one can calculate ZR,i and hz,i for i =i to n, where
n is the number of slices.
3. Compare the ZR,i and hz,i for the last slice against the known boundary
conditions ZR,I and hZ,1 and the differences are due to error in values of
(F, 0) assumed in step] .
4. Adjust the values of (F, 0) and repeat steps 2 and 3 until the calculated
values of ZR,i and hZ,i for i = n agree with the known boundary values ZR,I
and hZ,1 to the desired accuracy.
5. The refined value of (F, 0) for which the boundary conditions are satisfied
is taken as a solution to the slope stability problem.
There are special nonlinear numerical procedures such as Newton-Raphson
algorithm and/or quasi-Newton algorithm for solving transcendental equations
which are used in the computer program SSTAB2 [22] for making adjustments to
(F, 0) values at the beginning of each new iteration past the first calculation cycle.
The input data for the example problems included herein are formatted for use in
the computer program SSTAB2 [22]. A different format for data preparation will
be required for use of other computer programs.

8-4

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix B
Spencer's Method of Analysis

Meaning of Synlbols
b

Width of slice

c'

Cohesion with respect to effective stress

Eccentricity of external force

Factor of safety

HL

Hydrostatic force on the left side of a slice

HR

Hydrostatic force on the right side of a slice

h1

Location of left interslice force above slip surface

h2

Location of right interslice force above slip surface

h3

Location of external force above slip surface

h4

Location of left hydrostatic force above slip surface

hs

Location of right hydrostatic force above slip surface

hl,1

Location of boundary force at toe of slide mass

h2,1

Location of boundary force at head of slide mass

h 1,i

Location of interslice force on the left face of slice i

h2,i

Location of interslice force on the right face of slice i

Number of slices

External force acting on slice

Force exerted by the pore water on the base of a slice

Weight of slice

Interslice force

ZL,1

Force boundary condition at toe of slide mass

ZR,1

Force boundary condition at head of slide mass

ZL

Calculated interslice force on the left face of a slice

ZR

Calculated interslice force on the right face of a slice

Angle of inclination of base of slice

f3

Angle of inclination of top of slice

Angle of inclination of interslice force

cp'

Angle of internal friction

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

8-5

Chapter 4, Appendix B
Spencer's Method of Analysis

Example Problem A

Example Problem A illustrates an analysis of the upstream slope of a zoned


earthfill embankment under end-of-construction loading condition. ]n this
example, the embankment and the foundation are described by six types of
materials as shown on the figure B-2. The input data for this problem are
described and a listing of the input and output data is included at the end of the
description.
Profile lines were specified as described in the user's information manual of the
computer program SSTAB2 [22]. Shear strengths of six material types are
described on the figure B-3. Because of undrained strength analysis concept, pore
pressures were not considered. Submerged weights of foundation, materials were
used which are below the ground-water table. The factor of safety for a single
circular shear surface, shown on figure B-3 is computed. The center of the circle
is located at the coordinates x = 222.0, y = 378.0, and passes through the upstream
toe of the embankment. The circle is subdivided into slices by using maximum
arc length of 30 feet. The initial values assumed for the factor of safety and side
force inclination are 2.0 and 25, respectively. A maximum of 40 iterations is
permitted in order to satisfy force and moment equilibrium of the last slice within
100 lb and 100 lb-ft, respectively. The input for the computer program is listed in
table B-A.l. The output from the program is illustrated in tables B-A.2 and B
A.3. A free-body diagram of a typical slice is shown on figure B-3. Horizontal
E-forces for a typical slice as obtained from table B-A.3 are divided by cosine of
the side force inclination (0) to obtain side forces ZL and ZR. Typical force
polygons for two slices are shown on figure B-3 where <po is the mobilized angle
of friction of the base material of the slice and Cm is the mobilized cohesion
intercept. Error of closure of each force polygon must be zero, based on the
formulation of Spencer's method in the computer program. It should also be
noted that horizontal side forces are always positive for all slices. The factor of
safety of the failure mass as shown on figure B-3 is ] .3] 8. By comparing with the
required factor of safety of ] .3 (table 4.2.4-]), the upstream slope meets the
minimum factor of safety criteria for the end-of-construction loading condition.

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

B-7

Desig n Standards No. 13: Em bankment Dams

"

'

Cl

... ' '

..

'"'"

-..,

Cl
Cl

'"

".""

. ":.'..
..
"

.', ~'.

'._.
...,t;;\
~ ...

'"

Cl
Q

'"

Cl

Cl

'"'"

Figure B-2. Cross section of an embankment


dam used for example problems.

8-8

DS-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix B
Spencer's Method of Analysis

Table B-A.1 Input data for end-of-construction loading


1
Example Problem A
9
6
3
1
100.0
70.0
460.0
190.0
465.0
190.0
3
2
400.0
70.0
465.0
190.0
470.0
190.0
4
3
405.0
70.0
470.0
190.0
190.0
475.0
535.0
70.0
2
3
475.0
190.0
485.0
190.0
540.0
80.0
4
3
485.0
190.0
490.0
190.0
710.0
80.0
2
2
540.0
80.0
710.0
80.0
5
5
0.0
70.0
70.0
100.0
400.0
70.0
405.0
70.0
50.0
425.0
4
5
515.0
50.0
535.0
70.0
730.0
70.0
1000.0
70.0
2
6
0.0
50.0
1000.0
50.0
0.0
0.0
1200.0
0.0
200.0
2000.0
0
0
0
1
End of construction loading u/s
7
70.0
0.0
100.0
70.0
460.0
190.0
480.0
190.0
710.0
80.0
730.0
70.0
1000.0
70.0
1
1
222.0
378.0
99999
0.0
2.0
25.0
100.0
1
2

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

62.4

35.0
30.0
5.0
30.0
2.0
10.0

135.0
130.0
135.0
125.0
128.0
63.0

0
0
0
0
0
0

0.0

30.0

100.0

100.0

40

0
0
0
0
0
0

70.0
0.1

8-9

m
I
~

Table B-A.2 Output for and-of-construction loading-slica information


S

LEFT

100.00
lilO. 00
lOO.OO
;'
11<.18
128.3&
J.
1 '1,2. ~J:
l:n .'B
~
166,.4e
11\. ,9
~
190.!' 1
205.J'
6
113.01
222.00
")
236. ~8
251. H
I

2bD. 2:4

fl

2.~.5\

3j:"l"7.;,e
J~8.''''

>
.....
w

~
I

C1>

o
C"l

o0

...
ro

!'.)

o.....
~

~OO

.00

60.0D

PSf

"

F;HCJION'

~Sf

H
rRIC1"rC~

COM"SlQ~

BIroR..
STRESS

.... ~",jt.2.

psr

>"NGL~

1D-1:-G];\

~Rl.

B,OOHDAR.'V fQRC.:=::S
,() SUnFN?e

f'RESSUnE
PS f"

Cwn:R

I .....

~ ...... }

'10.00
70.M
70.00
"'.Il
&0.23
~ij.

II.

ON
X

0.00

o. 00

O.

,00'

WCL1N"1"ION

(':..crOJ( Or

SAr\'Y

o .O~

200.00

O.OC

O.

0.00'

0, aD

1.000
I.OGO

llaH.

:20Q .00

,.00

1.000
1.000

6:5

1060]6.

lOO.OO

l.OO

,OD

7.00.00

l.OO

0.00

O.

~l.SJ

96,16:2.

~ao. 00

'.00

0,00

-lOO.DO

1,00

0.00

o.

~1

:Z:OO:-Ui.

>000.00

\0.00

0.00

2000.00

10

.O~

0.00

0,

0.00'

~".n

UlDa .

1000. 00

\ 0.00

,00

2000. 00

10.00

0.00

o.

0.00

.1,0

;/6211.

2000. DO

10,00

, 00

2000 ,00

10.00

0.00

o.

1~. D~

115273-1.

>000.00

\0.00

0, 00

20M. Do

10.00

6. 00

O.

1.000
l.OOO
1. 000

50.00

1.000

)',8:.

n.l;

'. 000
1, 000

,6. H
~~.

SHAP[,S

or

1.000

0,00

51. 06

C:-l};RAC'TE:;~~~jIC

&" 5 I (J- f"ORC:Z

f()~Ce-LOCA71

(LBS)

I,

308006.

100.00

1,00

0.00

31 HSI.

'00.00

2.M

0.00

189'1.2.

~oo,

-l,

aD

0.00

00

2.00

0.00

o.

0,00

;'00.00

.00

0.00

o.

0.00'

200,00

2.00

0.00

o.

0.00

1.000
1.000
1.000
1.000

1.000

t .000

15.

0,00

lS.OO

0.00

0.00

3'.00

C.OO

o.

0.00

n"og~.

0.00

l5.00

0.00

0.00

,]5.00

0.00

O.

0.00'

2.;HCl.

0,00

J5,00

0.00

0.00

35.00

O. 00

O.

0.00

P~60.

0.00

lS.OO

0.00

0.00

J5.0o

0.00

o.

0.00

29;~

1.000
l.OOC

1.000
LOGO

1.000

l.ODD
1.000

,000

:HI.":;:O

,.000
,000

1'8129.

0.00

lS.OO

0.00

0.00

315.

0.00

lS.OO

0.00

O. DO

1ISO.

0.00

lO. 00

0,00

0.00

ISll6S.

1200 .00

\.00

0.00

1200.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

O.

0.00

J~.OQ

0.00

o.

0.00

5.00

0.00

O.

0.00

l5.00

1.000
, 000
1.000
l.OOO

1.000
l ,000

I.oao

1.000
;n116.

17.00.00

\.00

0.00

1200.00

~.OO

0.00

O.

0.00

HG36.

1200.00

~.OO

0.00

120Q .00

~.oa

0.00

o.

0.00'

2Jl 0").

1200.00

;.00

0.00

1700.00

O.OC

O.

0.00'

19~09.

1200. 00

~.

0.00

1700.0"

0.00

o.

0.00'

t-P.se

161. ,,0
1 SO .lO
1j6~ .Od
tS2.:;1
2):
'161. ~O
1 ~5. '0
PO.OO
1IS.)~
2J
0:/.50
101.'-,
115.00
16'-'J

1.000

1-000
0.00

g"1.01
~1.{l1

oae

1.000

08

50.00

402.50
100.23
'05.00
10\."S
H
HS,OO
J O~ .01
,:1',00
\\6.20
l'
),25.02
11,.22
12S .0':'
1 \t;.~-;
\8
'29.n
119.7~
:..lj. 5l~
123. ~s
\9
1,41.~B
IJJ.H
.,56.06
I';). ~ii
20
458.0J
115.56
IJ

RIGHT

\5

2~

CO~ESION

lDEGSj

281. 25
~2. 'S
191.98
'1.55
to
J11. {I
59. &S
326.3J
63.11
tl
.BS.lll
66.8"7
~~~.OO
70.00
12
3~1, 61
7{; .15
]1[,35
a:l. ".
11
30 . <2
89,&5
14

~l

Y.t!G!-il'
I LB$ Inl

Ltn

ct~nE:Ft

PIGHT

1.000
1.000
I.

~OO

l.OOO

1.000
1.000

00

.oon

1.000

3
e
el)

:::::I
7'

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.....

o
ClJ
3

I/J

(j)

Tabla B-A.2 Output for end-of-construction load ing-slice information

->

~
~

s
NO.

c
v

LE{j

a>
.....

!'.)

->

......

;>Sf

"

1>.lJ~~~

(OtCSI

..

tSf

CO(i~S1"'~

nt1UR.
S7f<rSS

PSf

,.IC7JON
1\,'lGt~

(DGS\

POR'f
r~rtt::i5UR.t

rSf

CEN',~~

eOUNnj\~Y

~f

fCRC?.s

.un"~CS

I,
fORC~- LOC~71oN

;l.8&.

~e5.'1"

11)

~j

~J

11ft.

87. gO

]9

ISLa,.

1700.00

5.00

0.00

1200.00

S .00

0.00

D.

.S~

180 .l~
In.9'
1 B~. ~~
DO
183.2"
r.90.~J
lBJ. ~.1
'B9.~:>'

~ ~O.

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m
I
->

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~:>

111';.'?1

ltJCI,l'::;\'rlW

0.00-

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FltC":OR Of
SA-fET'/

1 .oo~

1.000

679. ,

12M.00

S. DO

0.00

1)00.00

S .00

0.00

o.

0.00'

HI,.

O.OQ

lO. DO

0.00

0.00

30.00

0.00

o.

0.00'

1'~9.

0.00

30.00

0.00

o .Ol

30.00

0.00

o.

0.00-

1.000
1.000
1.ono
LOOO

1.000

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1 B92.

a.oo

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0.00

0.00

]0.00

0, DO

O.

0.00-

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0.00

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0.00

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JO .00

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0.00-

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0.00

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0.00

0.00

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0.00'

-l8~.O3

:I'>

t sr Ie:
0,

s:rDe-PORC~

l.OOO

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25
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172 .O~
1,,'1].Ol
11 ,j, 9~
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~ s ~. 00

80. DO

11

Cl-lArJ,.C7r:.~

ILSSl

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rnrC710N

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H

COlU.~ION

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0
0

0-

1.000

1.000

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1.000

1.000

l.OOO

m
,

[J

Table B-A.3 Output for and-of-construction loading-solution information

<D

I/J

tv

FACTOR Of

l'

1. J19

S~fETY ~

SIDE FORCE I NCLINhTrOill


SLICE
NO.

XAIlG

TO'i'At
NORHAL

NOMHIAL

S7RESS

STRESS

I~SF')

0
1
2
3
4
5
6
J

190.4
213.7
.237.0

260.2

283.2
Jl2.4
335.4
357.7

10
11

12

0......
W

-,

38~.4

1"

He.7
402.5
415.0
425.0
429.5
445.0
459.0
462.5
467.5
472.5
417.5
491.5
484.0
495.8
487.8
499.5
490.5

16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24

25

C1>

26

C"l

0
(J

...co

tv
0

......

16G.5

13
1.5

100.0
114. ;{
142.9

2/
28

29
30

AVBRJlG

C.
1519.

SHEAR

9384.

2774.

99~8.

2649.
416.
420.

9~85,

10115.
9988.
0845.
7758.
JU6.
6924,
0226.
5682,

5573.
4'l22.
3929.
3453.
2B61.
2249.

'l]7.

001.
4123.
3792.
3680.

1172.

1140.
110l.

~03.

420.

184.
9s.
29.

193,
66.

"ACTOR-Of-SArT~

or

:i'
(>

:::l

~~~

CIl

'I' 11 R (j S l'

~f10RlZON:rAL

M~.~~".~;.'VW_~

E-FORCE
(LBS)

YT/'fOT)

F'RACTlON

100.0
100.0
128.4
157.5
175.5
205,3
222.0
252.0
268.5
298.0
326.8
34/, .0

70.0
70.0
68.9
66.)
66.1
62.1
6.2.B
66.2
68.9
7'L 7
9;'.4
110.8
113.8
121. 7
122.6
124.5
132.8
1]2.9
137.3
152.8
156.0
160.4
165.1
110.2

0.0000

O.

IL4S30

0,
2029a.
56146.
19925.
118933.
227276.
297641 .
325665.
28252t.
211766.
lS<iH9.
116252.

liS.4

0.2611
0.1999
0.2053
0.2;'13
0.2491

46S ,0

490.0
c

470.0
475.0
480.0
483,0
485.0
486.6
489.0

1C~0,

~9).

".C~

397.5
:,00.0
405.0
425.0
425.0
433.9
456.1
460.0

3309 .

1016.
'175,
407.

N E

37L~

3020.
2444.
1239,

966.
929.

1536.

LI
r

O.

alDS.

S747 .
7844.

F'

~-1".B3 D!SGRE?:S

(PSn

192.
25$.
304.
2566.
2683.

40)6,

0
1\ ~l
0 ITERATIONS)

491.1
1.318

17".9
179 .8
180.4
182.9
184.2
184.7

(FEET)

(LBSi

EFFECTIVE
PHI REQD
(DEGREES)

II/WCOSA

SHEAR

ST/NO~~L

168022 .

16392~.

5.96

140153.
140692.
122653.
50619.
39513.
26960.
15671.
e~n6 ,
4444.

24.62
0.06
11. 36
29.99
5.62
1.21
1.45
7,64
7.86
4.8"
3.26
2,60
4.12
1. 64
1.79

0.23~1

.
.

or

:::::I

0..
Q)

0..

I/J

0.00
29.99
29.99
18.21
29.99
16.66
29.99
16.66
2<;.99
29.99
18.21
29.99
29.99
2.98

0.365~

ST

..,

<

0.4 .. 95
0.3560
0.2580
0.251"7
0.2492
0.2'179
0.3008
0.3865
0.5019
0.4()25
0.3425
0.3368
0.325l.
0.2677
0.2676
0.2406
0.:2049
0.1997
0.2031
1),2122

LENGiP. SHE:i\.R r-ClRCE

16')802.

371~.

2132 .
ll17.
239 .

O.471.~

65,

(l.0000

O.

SUl1 c

0.00
5759.94
770.2B
5556.06
7')001.02
IL 410 9.03
SHe8.35
47482.64
12498.89
12592.25
7609.92
14:)%7.52
123644. H
I L264. 94
2L941.48
81443.85
170.64
27757.93
37116.60
658t. 50
829L.80
al97.87
0100.82
7982.52
4717.69
1)25.64
7B8.37
759.51
lJ e. 76
.'it. 71
0.795E'06

0.000
1<1.834

9.566
11 .594
12.120
11. 8S7
12 ..31a
13.H3
14.175

14.285
14 .517

.834
14.834
14 .834
14 .834
14.a:H
l~

14.834

11.834
14 .834
0,000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0,000
0.000
14 .834
14.IH<I
1/j .8)4
14.83<1
14.934
-14.834

Z
:1 .12Q

1,345
1. 176
~.104

l.1 7 8
;'.107
1.0S8
L026
0.939
1. 00,
1.029
0.988
!..007
L. 027
1,033
1. 059
i.084
1.136
1.304
1. 361
1 . .373
1.37~

1. 353

'<.281
1.107

1.490
1. S1 0
1. 535
1,557
1. 570

0.531
0.12&
0,064
0.053
0,327
0.308
0,296
0.286
0.042
0.042
0.0<12
0.531
0,5)1
0.531
0,5)1
0.531
0,531
0.438
0.251
0.298
0.330
0.385
0,411
0.641
LOO9
0.438
0,438
0.<138
0,438
0.438

.....
(.,)

3
eQ)

:::::I
7'

:::l

.....

[J
ClJ

I/J

Ch........ "",,pondl. B
M _ 01 AooIysls

Sf>o_~'

,, ,l

, ,

_..

,
.
. \]
.....

,,

,-0

'.

'/

,
,

~
!
I
-I

I
!

.. "

lJ'
.{ !

I I

'I
I .

! ! ! ! !

II- ..

......

Fiw.... B-3.

,
I
;~

0
J

I'1 I

illi

!Ill
". . ,

"

." .'. !

""''"1iI)I .....,.... of , .... _

.... m ....... "" .....-01""""""ucbon

Chapter 4, Appendix B
Spencer's Method of Analysis

Example Problem B

Example problem B presents a stability analysis of the upstream slope of the


zoned earthfill dam as shown on figure B-2 under rapid drawdown loading
condition using effective stress envelope concept. The input data were prepared
in accordance with the user's manual of the computer program SSTAB2 [22].
Shear strength of six material types is described on figure B-4. With coarse
granular soils, dissipation generally occurs so rapidly that no measurable
additional pore pressure actually develops. Thus, the pore pressures are
hydrostatic in granular soils like shell material in the example problem. In low
permeability medium, excess pore pressures are caused during undrained loading.
Effective stress analysis by using pore pressures measured by piezometers assume
that the stress path to failure has an A f value of 0.5 (] -sin <p') where A f is the
Skempton's A-parameter at failure and <p' is the effective friction angle [23]. This
may not coincide with actual A f values developed in undrained shear. If the
actual A f value is less than 0.25 to 0.33, pore pressures measured by piezometers
are conservative. However, if substantial shear-induced pore pressures are
developed (A f > 0.25 to 0.33) the pore pressures by piezometric method renders
too high shear strengths. In this case, excess pore pressures are computed by
using the following relationship:

where:
A f and B are the Skempton's parameters,

~u = excess hydrostatic pressure,

~(J3 = change in confining stress, and

~(JJ = change in applied load.

Estimation of shear induced pore pressures can be eliminated by using undrained

strength of cohesive materials. In the example problem, CL-ML and CH

materials in foundation are assumed to have Af values less than 0.33 and, thus,

the piezometric method is applicable to obtain pore pressures. The phreatic

surface intersects the upstream slope at the inactive conservation pool water

surface at elevation] 00.00 feet (after drawdown reservoir level), then follows the

upstream slope (which satisfies Skempton's pore pressure coefficient, B = ]) until

it reaches the active conservation pool (before drawdown reservoir level) and then

follows the steady-state phreatic surface. If upstream shell material is very

pervious, pore pressures should not be considered in that material. The factor of

safety for a single circular shear surface is computed. The center of the circle is

located at the coordinates x = 220.0, y = 375.0, and the surface passes through the

upstream toe of the embankment. The circular arc is subdivided into slices by

using maximum arc lengths of] 5 feet. The initial values assumed for the factor

of safety and side force inclination are 2.0 and 25, respectively. A maximum of

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

8-15

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

40 iterations is permitted in order to satisfy force and moment equilibrium


equations of the last slice within 100 lb and 100 ft-lb, respectively. The input
listing is shown in table B-B.l and the output from the program is illustrated in
tables B-B.2 and B-B.3. A free-body diagram of a typical slice is shown on figure
B-4 to describe internal and external forces. Typical force polygons for two slices
are shown on the same figure, where <po is the mobilized angle of friction and Cm
is the mobilized cohesion intercept. Based on the formulation of Spencer's
method, the forces must be in equilibrium for every slice and, thus, the error of
closure of each polygon must be zero. The horizontal E-forces must be positive
for all slices unless tensile crack develops in which case, crack should be assumed
in accordance with the procedures in the user's manual. The factor of safety of
the failure mass as shown in table B-B.3 is 1.278 and by comparing with the
required factor of safety of 1.3, the upstream slope did not meet the minimum
factor of safety criteria under rapid drawdown condition.

8-16

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix 8
Spencer's Method of Analysis

Table 8-8.1 Input data for rapid drawdown (effective stress)


1

Example Problem B
12
3
430.0
460.0
465.0
3
100.0
430.0
459.5834
3
459.5834
465.0
470.0
3
400.0
459.5834
464.5834
4
464.5834
470.0
475.0
515.0
4
405.0
464.5834
515.0
535.0
3
475.0
485.0
540.0
J

485.0
490.0
710.0
2
540.0
710.0
5
0.0
100.0
400.0
405.0
425.0
4
515.0
535.0
730.0
1000.0
2
0.0
1000.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
500.0
300.0
0.0
0.0
400.0
0
0
0
12

D8-13(4)-6

9
1
180.0
190.0
190.0

70.0
180.0

180.0

180.0

190.0
190.0

70.0

180.0

180.0

180.0

190.0
190.0
110.0

70.0

180.0

110.0
70.0

190.0
190.0
80.0

10

11

62.4

40.0
40.0
35.0
35.0
28.0
28.0
35.0
25.0
29.0

125.0
135.0
122.0
130.0
126.0
135.0
125.0
128.0
125.0

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

190.0
190.0
80.0

80.0
80.0

70.0
70.0
70.0
70.0
50.0

50.0
70.0
70.0
70.0

50.0

50.0

October 2011

0
5
0
5
0
5
5
5
5

B-17

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

Table 8-8.1 Input data for rapid drawdown (effective stress)


0.0
100.0
190.0
0.0
190.0
430.0
459.5834
464.5834
515.0
540.0
710.0
1000.0
1

Rapid drawdown

70.0
70.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
180.0
180.0
180.0
110.0
80.0
80.0
80.0

1872.0
1872.0
0.0

10

10

10

11

11

11

11

11

11

11

11

11

loading u/s (effective stress)

0.0
100.0
460.0
490.0
710.0
730.0
1000.0
1

220.0
0.0
2.0
1

8-18

70.0
70.0
190.0
190.0
80.0
70.0

70.0

375.0

99999

0.0

15.0

100.0

25.0

100.0

100.0

40

DS-13(4)-6

70.0
0.1

October 2011

Table B-B.2 Output for rapid drawdown (effactive stress) - slica information
S

1
'ti~.lGHT

l(

{l..,BS/fT)
LITl'

a>
.....

.1

.....

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f'QaCf;.s

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4"'~'"

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...

r~;CJ....DJ)i.1'lCN

5;;.38

0.00

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0.00

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0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

t.OG

0.00

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IB11 .9d

2.

2033.32

2~608.

100.0;)

;\.00
,~.

00

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0.00

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2,.00

t 12, 7.

o.oe

0.00

2~.

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1.000
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0.00

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29.00

0.00

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0.00

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16<.20'

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12

1.000

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1.000
1.000

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181.72'

1.193.9]

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1.000
19.10

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51.05
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306.50
58.96
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15'598.

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7 .81

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1. 000

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152j1{.

320.81

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1.000

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33 .03

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221.50
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1738.

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220.

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115. Jlo
1.000

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21562.

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CHJ"RACT ER 157 1C

AT SUAUoJ:t
L'"

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112.32

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Chapter 4, Appendix B
Spencer's Method of Analysis

Example Problem C
Example problem C presents a stability analysis of the upstream slope of the
zoned earthfill dam as shown on figure B-2 under rapid drawdown loading
condition using undrained strength envelope concept. The analysis is done in two
steps: the first step includes analysis of the upstream slope at predrawdown level
under steady-state seepage condition. The second step involves the analysis of
the slope at the after-drawdown level and by incorporating undrained shear
strengths of the sliding mass at normal stresses corresponding to steady-state
condition from step 1.
The input data were prepared in accordance with the user's manual of the
computer program SSTAB2 [22] for predrawdown level. Effective shear strength
of six materials is described on figure B-5. Phreatic surface method is used to
determine pore pressures at the base of slices. The factor of safety for a single
circular shear surface is computed. The center of the circle is located at the
coordinates x = 220.0, y = 375.0, and the failure surface passes through the
upstream toe of the embankment. The circular arc is subdivided into slices by
using maximum arc lengths of] 5 feet. The initial values assumed for the factor
of safety and side force inclination are 2.0 and 25, respectively. A maximum of
40 iterations is permitted in order to satisfy force and moment equilibrium
equations of the last slice within 100 lb and 100 ft-lb, respectively.
The input listing is shown in table B-C.] and the output is listed in tables B
C.2 and B-C.3. Typical slice and force polygons are shown on figure B-5. Force
polygons illustrated are for predrawdown condition.
The computer program SSTAB2 is not equipped with the formulation of two-step
analysis. Hence, using the normal forces (effective) from the first step, and by
obtaining corresponding undrained shear strength as shown by the bilinear shear
strength envelope on figure B-5, the factor of safety of the failure mass after
drawdown condition is computed. The computation is illustrated in table B-CA.
The computed factor of safety is ] .38 and, thus, it meets the minimum factor of
safety criteria of the upstream slope under rapid drawdown condition.

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

8-23

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

Table B-C.1 Input data for rapid drawdown (undrained strength)


1

Example Problem C
12
3
430.0
460.0
465.0
3
100.0
430.0
459.5834
3
459.5834

190.0

400.0
459.5834
464.5834

70.0
180.0
180.0

464.5834
470.0
475.0
515.0

180.0
190.0
190.0
110.0

405.0
464.5834
515.0
535.0
3
475.0
485.0
540.0
3
485.0
490.0
710.0
2
540.0
710.0

70.0
180.0
110.0
70.0
3
190.0
190.0
80.0

125.0

515.0
535.0
730.0
1000.0
2
0.0
1000.0

50.0

o
o
o

40.0
40.0
35.0
35.0
28.0
28.0
35.0
25.0
29.0

190.0
190.0
80.0
80.0
80.0
8
70.0
70.0
70.0
70.0
50.0
8
50.0
70.0
70.0
70.0
9
50.0

0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
500.0
300.0
0.0
0.0
400.0

62.4

190.0

70.0
180.0
180.0
3
180.0

470.0

180.0
190.0
190.0

465.0

0.0
100.0
400.0
405.0
425.0

72.6

122.0
67.6
126.0
72.6

125.0
65.6
62.6

o
o
o
o
o
o

o
o
o

o
o
o
o
o
o

o
o
o

8-24

08-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix B
Spencer's Method of Analysis

Table B-C.1 Input data for rapid drawdown (undrained strength)


Rapid drawdown loading u/s (total stress)
7

0.0
100.0
460.0
490.0
710.0
730.0
1000.0
1

70.0
70.0
190.0
190.0
80.0
70.0
70.0

220.0
0.0
2.0

375.0

99999

0.0

15.0

100.0

70.0

25.0

100.0

100.0

40

0.1

1
2

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

8-25

m
I

Table B-C.2 Output for rapid drawdown (undrained strength) slice information

I\.)

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1 . 2~ 1
t.218

3
c
3

O. )11
O.J"ll

1 . 3~'"

(.,)

0.20\,
O.201j

\. _ 1,~J~

. 107

......

0.279

t. \ 38

Z
0

.Y7\.

0.2S6
0.2,3
0.'9
0.296
.30
0.309
0.309
O.nl

1.d~7

O.~?)

l . .;61
1.6).2
1. i516
l. 116

C.425

0.310

1.743

0.3J~

0.3JO
U.

:no

ClJ

I/)

C""""'., "1>".",", B

SP*'<"~'

_IlO<l 01 An.....'"

,' .....}.,,\ ~
,

,
,.,
.
,. ,

\"

I,

."."

..
I-. --..
1.-
\

...

...

.".

I .. f
I .... ,
Il II 11

I II II

I'j -.
.. ..
,.
n ;;
I"
I .. .. ,

10 , 11

II"

....

I'

iii

;.

". I

i ,,

0' oJ.

~ ,~_-I
.

:.

,
li~'

0'

I',,

...
,

I,

It

!!! !

II . .....

ft1'1!li,

.. .

,
,

,>--,,_-';,f-L'.--l.'

Flgw. 8-5. S".lIIty ....."'010 01..,. .." . _ olcpo ......, .. pld d,_ _ n

- . . . 1""....I....d

,,_,n on_po conupll.

,-.

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

Table B-C.4 Computation of factor of safety for after-drawdown condition


Slice
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43

ND

tan <p

0.02
12.75
23.13
32.55
41.0
48.5
18.87
58.26
63.49
56.52
71.0
74.0
63.7
77.94
79.05
79.47
79.2
78.3
27.45
72.23
69.0
65.22
60.99
29.54
22.2
51.71
31.23
11.56
7.78
27.72
40.56
36.38
2.54
1.37
14.37
1.24
15.12
11.27
3.91
13.72
5.11
2.02
1.04

0.839
0.4663
0.4663
0.4663
0.4663
0.4663
0.4663
0.5543
0.5543
0.5543
0.5543
0.5543
0.4663
0.364
0.364
0.364
0.364
0.364
0.364
0.839
0.839
0.839
0.839
0.839
0.839
0.839
0.839
0.839
0.700
0.700
0.5317
0.5317
0.5317
0.5317
0.5317
0.5317
0.5317
0.5317
0.5317
0.5317
0.7
0.7
0.7

ND tan <p

cilL

0.017

82.44
6.0
6.0
5.02
6.0
6.0
8.78

179.24
29.7

143.40

347.1
24.85

15.75

6.25
74.69

5.72
2:887.2

2:59.8

W sin a*

0.0
4.78
14.32
23.55
32.37
40.7
16.33
42.01
58.66
68.79
0.2
78.19
86.72
78.39
99.94
105.65
110.3
113.85
116.31
41.62
117.61
116.93
115.17
112.39
41.79
14.49
42.53
91.51
38.66
28.09
21.94
64.01
67.85
55.98
5.69
22.13
18.7
15.08
13.36
4.56
1.79
0.91
0.02

0.0
-1.65
-4.32
-6.06
-6.89
-6.84
-2.25
-4.64
-4.03
-1.58
0.0
1.79
5.95
8.66
15.2
20.83
26.67
32.55
38.32
14.92
45.55
50.17
54.13
57.3
22.43
7.92
23.69
53.23
23.44
17.41
13.83
41.54
46.13
39.9
4.16
16.38
14.12
11.62
10.53
3.66
1.45
0.75
0.02
2:685.99

* Additional resisting moments due to the boundary hydrostatic forces on


the lower slices are neglected.

F=

8-30

INo tan<p+ IC&


IWsina

887.2+ 59.8
=1.38

685.99

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix B
Spencer's Method of Analysis

Example Problem D

Example problem 0 illustrates an analysis of the downstream slope of an


embankment dam as shown on figure B-2 under steady-state seepage condition.
Selected shear strength parameters and type of triaxial tests to obtain the
parameters are shown on figure B-6. The input for the computer program is listed
in table B-0.1 and the output is shown in tables B-0.2 and B-0.3. A free-body
diagram of a typical slice and force polygons of two slices are illustrated on
figure B-6. The maximum arc length of slices is limited to ] 5 feet. The factor of
safety of the failure mass as shown in table B-D.3 is ] .443. By comparing with
the required factor of safety of 1.5 (table 4.2.4-]), the downstream slope did not
meet the minimum factor of safety criteria.

D8-13(4)-6

October 2011

8-31

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

Table B-D.1 Input data for steady seepage condition


1
Example Problem D
12
9
3
1
430.0
180.0

460.0
190.0

465.0
190.0

3
2

70.0

100.0
430.0
180.0

459.5834
180.0

3
3

459.5834
180.0

465.0
190.0

470.0
190.0

3
4

400.0
70.0

459.5834
180.0

464.5834
180.0

4
5

464.5834
180.0

470.0
190.0

475.0
190.0

515.0
110.0

4
6

405.0
70.0

464.5834
180.0

515.0
110.0

535.0
70.0

3
3

475.0
190.0

485.0
190.0

540.0
80.0

3
7

485.0
190.0

490.0
190.0

710.0
80.0

3
4

540.0
80.0

710.0
80.0

1000.0
80.0

5
8

70.0

0.0
100.0
70.0

70.0

400.0
70.0

405.0
425.0
50.0

4
8

515.0
50.0

70.0

535.0
730.0
70.0

1000.0
70.0

2
9

0.0
50.0

1000.0
50.0

0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
500.0
300.0
0.0
0.0
400.0
0

8-32

10

11

62.4

40.0
40.0
35.0
35.0
28.0
28.0
35.0
25.0
29.0

125.0
135.0
122.0
130.0
126.0
135.0
125.0
128.0
125.0

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

08-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix B
Spencer's Method of Analysis

Table B-D.1 Input data for steady seepage condition


11
0.0
100.0
430.0
0.0
430.0
459.5834
464.5834
515.0
540.0
710.0
1000.0
1
Steady seepage
6
0.0
100.0
460.0
490.0
710.0
1000.0
1

650.0
0.0
2.0
1
2

DS-13(4 )-6

70.0
70.0
180.0
180.0
180.0
180.0
180.0
110.0
80.0
80.0
80.0

6864.0
6864.0
0.0

10
10
10
11
11

11

11

11
11
11
11

analysis
70.0
70.0
190.0
190.0
80.0

80.0

375.0

99999

0.0

15.0

730.0

70.0

25.0

100.0

100.0

40

0.1

October 2011

B-33

m
I

Table 8-D.2 Output for steady seepage condition - slice information

NO.

E
Xs'!(l.H1

"f

'LaS/f"T1
cE'l"TE:R

10GSI

Sift) .

'''"L
I

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PSf I

'i

CO\l~S ro~

PST

f'R rc-r 10"


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I O~GSI

'PaRr.
1l0lJMDARY ?-ORCE:S CH:.R.R;.C!ERIST]C: S~APr.s
P;;:ESSUJ:l;:
J-S ~UR~At:E:.
or
?Sf ) . ~ . . . . . . . . . . . . . ~. So 1O:- FORCE
FAC'TOR Of'"
rXl."'::r.IIU\T!G~
,s.:,,'F"1:T),
fORCF.-l.OC"..AT 1O~j
( L5S)

RIQfrr

1 n. 11

,108.1.1
..I I'd

.~

,nerlOx

C~:~1'r:R

RIGHT

:2

18fT

UrI

COHE:S t 01-:
(
P'.
\

1.000

").01
161.01
02
Ilil . .',-;
421.;'1
l5/.7"1

00
1:,,'. O~
j
12) . ,Q
l~, 1. 60
"30.08
1<9."

~1)0.

D.OO

11l.00

1828S.

o. 00

10.00

0,00

'0.00

O,Do

,0.00

3672.

,t P.

~~.

I.DOG

]]31. <f

~2S.

D~.~G
~
~

~~1.6~
,:'6.,1~

j~).30

12<,.D8
123.67

~67.50

no.oo

"2.~O
,n~.oo

13

Ii~.

IB

C1>

o
C"l

o0

21

!'.)

2]

...ro

o....
~

,8. 00

o.nG

~1

1 . ~00

OD. GO

:S. GC

O.

O. 00'

300.00

28.08

O.

O. 00'

lB. 00

,00

100.00

:18.00

" , 00

0.00

';00,00

"B.OO

O.

0.00'

300.00

308.00

28.00

O.

~?~~".

300.00

SOOSI.

300.00

'{'6.

300.00

!8.00

0,00

300.0D

n. oc

O.

0.00'

0.00

3~0.M

,e.o.o

O.

0.00'

0.00

300,~0

<8.0C

O.

0.00'

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00

0.00

300, 00

2~.

OC

O.

O. 00'

H6-S~.

300.00

cB.OO

0.00

300.00

:l8.C0

O.

0.80'

0.00

300,00

<~.OO

300.00

28. C8

O.

1. ()QO

1.()00

0.00

D.00

~.\.

00

O.tO

O.

I. 000
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0.00

Jr::.OO

0.08

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;,;.00

O.

0.00'

l~~(~S.

0.00

l5.00

0.00

0.00

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0.00'

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7 -I. 60
561.3j
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14T761.

0.00

;'>.00

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0.00

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0.00'

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0.00

1,000
I. 000

1.000
1,000

an

1"1~.

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!S.

1~)2~~.

0.00

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O,O~

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,,>,0

0.00

2S.00

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o.

O. 00'

7 31.

~2

J.OOO
I. ODD

'jO.IJO
6iS. SI.

J.OOO
I. 000

70.18

63.27

1 DOD

0.00'

19. H

10.19

1.000

1. COO

77.o,

169,~~

l. ODD

O. )0'

81."0

80 5

I. Don
l.DOO

1.000

'5.00

5j1.30

1 .000

1.000

0.oe

a2.e~

3063. '0

300.00

'69~).

S7D,OD

1. ['00
1. 000

~.,<os.

'8.00

5~7.0g

:::l
....

1.000

!S. 00

~37.~0

1 .000

1.000

I.OM

".00

JOO.06

~3.

:::::I
:II'"

1.000

0.00'

1.000
1.000

3
e
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1.000

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99.6<
~9

1.000
1.000

300.0

300.00

~31.~7.

2520.

1.000

lO".~O'

llS.

1.000

1.000

300.00

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5iHL 57

2:1

:13.00

juL!.OO

1;"'06.

5,'0. 00
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or.

535.00
19

eO~Jl.

SIS. 0.0
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52 J. ~ ,
e) . \ 8
s;n.S5
tH.:n

50~. O~

]~.00

112.10

';%.~S

1'0

1.DOO
0.00'

1.000

111.C3
)10.) 1
;14.41

.0.00

~OJ..

177\.90

1.000

o.

'S5.00
106.)0
l<
<87.,0
101.80
ao.oo
)0:;.29
11

<0.00

O.
0.00

15.00

5HOl.

1B9i.

.~I.3C7~

I,

0.00

J2&.(B

"19.81

1t

I'

1"11.

6"';'~.

,16".00

0,00

1.000

~).J6J.

10

0.00

J21.f6
J19.96

Hj2.2~

H;.5B

>
....
w

O.O~

10. 00

459.79
l.?).j'l
Ij(jO.OO
l:n. J

10.00

0.00

1.000

1]~.61

;~9.58

0.00

lH.ll

~'3.19

.,

1 i GO;.
~)~~:-:i.

Ul.j2

"0.21
oljl.S9

1. 000

H~.l:!

-t38.:)2

1.000
\.000

O. 0

o
ClJ
3

I/J

Table 8-D.2 Output for steady seepage condition - slice information


S

"!

X
tH"r
i\lGHT

o~4.60

r:Y

2,.

!'.)

2::

a>
.....

.....

IO~GSI

6~ I]

12

2~

0
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l:'

,RlCTlON

~sr

ANGL

10'3SI

BOUJ~ ~ARV

POFE
P'~~S:S(lRC

IPS.

CO?C:::.S

Ai StlRi"'.':"Cr;:
rORc~~L02A:IO~

l:no:~o.

1289): .

0.00

~5,OD

O.M

0.00

2~.

00

92~.9~

o.

::'>.00

0.00

(LOO

2).00

10'6, J 1

o.

0.00'

O.DO

25.00

0.00

o.on

25.00

1132.5S

O.

0.00

!5.00

0.00

0.00

?~.

00

12401.47

o.

0.00'

38516.

0.00

,5.00

0.00

0.00

/.~.

00

126;:;. OJ

0,

0.00 '

.07~ll

1.000

eo

0.00

,~.oo

0.00

0.00

2~.00

1256.61

:5.00

0.00

0.00

2,.00

1212..12

o.

O.GO'

61, \1
6~.OO

)In. ;;:;

'.000

0,00

25,00

0.00

O.CO

2~.

0,

O.DO

0.00

lS.OO

0.00

0.00

25.00

0,

0.00'

0,00

2S.0a

0,00

o,co

2~"CO

u,

0,00'

0.00

0.00

0,00

2~.oa

c,

0.00

0.00

J.OO

"s.oo

0,

0.00'

O.OC

(). 00

o.

0.00'

00

m
I
W

CJJ

1.0CO

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1.OCJ

1. 000

B~

13

3'"15CJ~

6:',38
65.j 1

1.000
1.000
1.000

\. 000

os

1. 000

1<09.

0.00

J~.OO

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I.OCO
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O,O~

l5,00

o.oc

0.00

35.00

Ib.5i

0.00

15.00

0.00

0.00

"~.Oo

2.t-'.. J:

78.98
759.98
79.0
761.3S
80.0a

0.00

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0.00

0.00

15.00

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o.

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0.00'

1.000
1. 000

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156.61.
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i..CiOO

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"i27. 32
1l0.0C
10.00
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730,00
70.00
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72.06
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724.65

1H.jl

1.600
1. 000

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1.000

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62.

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31
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32
702.2.
709. 64
33
'109,82
710.00
3~
711.33

COHES[O~

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10

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ILB51

6S,16

i),~7.06

(SO,OO

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63~.61

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63.18
599.14
601::.7:
62.75
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61.0,
2~
021.6"
629.j-1

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R.
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0
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f"l'lCTION
PS'
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1. 000

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1.000
1. 000

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17
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20
21

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Spencer's Method of Analysis

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condition.

08-13(4)-6

October 2011

B-37

Appendix C

Computer Programs

Chapter 4, Appendix C
Computer Programs

Two-dimensional analysis using limit equilibrium method


In limit equilibrium method, only static equilibrium of slide mass is considered.
In a given soil deposit, the slide mass geometry is defined by a shear surface. The
material properties required for analysis are density or unit weight of soils and
their shear strengths. Boundary conditions are generally included implicitly in the
formulation of the equilibrium equations which are solved using numerical
methods [17].
There are several procedures devised to solve a slope stability problem using the
limit equilibrium method and some of these procedures have been implemented in
computer programs to facilitate computations. The difference between various
procedures relate to the assumptions that are made in order to achieve statical
determinancy some of these procedures satisfy only force equilibrium equations
or only moment equilibrium equation, and others satisfy both force and moment
equilibrium equations. Additional limitations of the various procedures apply to
the geometry of the slip surface, i.e. circular, non-circular, log-spiral, etc.
The Bureau of Reclamation prefers use of slope stability analysis procedures
which satisfy complete statics and accommodate general slip surface geometry Spencers procedure is one of them. It is similar to but simpler than Morgenstern
and Price procedure which also satisfies complete statics but requires additional
information (variations in interslice force inclination) not commonly available as
a priori Spencers procedure assumes the inclination of interslice forces to be
the same (i.e., parallel). The Bureau of Reclamation prefers use of Spencers
procedure for slope stability analysis.
There are several computer programs which implement Spencers procedure
SSTAB2 [22] is one of them, developed at the Bureau of Reclamation by
modifying SSTAB1 [24]; others include UTEXAS2 [25], UTEXAS3 [19),
SLOPE/W [26], amongst others. All of these computer programs have been used
in the Bureau of Reclamation with approval from line supervisors and managers.
Two-dimensional analysis using continuum mechanics method
In continuum mechanics method, force equilibrium and strain compatibility
equations of engineering mechanics are considered and the differential equations
relating forces and displacements in a solid are solved using numerical
procedures. Unlike limit equilibrium based solution procedures for slope stability
analysis, continuum mechanics based solution procedures require their adaptation
for solving slope stability problems. Also, continuum mechanics based solution
procedures require data for deformation properties (for elastic and plastic
deformations) in addition to the data for shear strength parameters and
material density or unit weight. Boundary conditions are explicitly stated as a
part of the input data. In a continuum model, shear surface is not defined as a

DS-13(4)-6

October 2011

C-1

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams

priori instead, it is determined as a part of the solution. The problem is solved


successively using reduced values of shear strength parameters, c' and ', (by a
scalar factor) until the model becomes unstable (i.e. the solution fails to
converge). The scalar factor for reduction in shear strength parameters for which
the numerical model becomes unstable is taken as the factor of safety and the
interface between the elements undergoing displacements and elements with
virtually no-displacements is taken as the shear surface.
There are several procedures devised to solve the force-displacement equations of
engineering mechanics. In Reclamation, finite element and finite difference based
solution procedures are commonly used.
For slope stability analysis, when needed, we use finite difference based computer
program FLAC [27] for continuum mechanics based slope stability analysis. The
same problem is also analyzed using the limit-equilibrium based Spencers
solution procedure and computed factor of safety and associated shear surface
results are compared.
Engineering judgments are used in deciding relevance of the results to the project
and issues of interest/concern.
Three-dimensional analysis using limit equilibrium and continuum
mechanics methods
Stability of natural or manmade slopes is affected by its lateral extent in the third
dimension. Three-dimensional solution procedures are extensions of their twodimensional counterparts, and use the same solution strategies. However, the
addition of the third dimension increases the complexity of the problem solving
methodologies.
For the limit-equilibrium based solution, we use computer program CLARA-W
[28] for 3-dimensional slope stability analysis. CLARA-W has 3D extension of
Spencers procedure. The same problem is also analyzed in 2-dimensions using
the limit-equilibrium based Spencers solution procedure and results compared.
For the continuum mechanics based solution, we use finite difference based
computer program FLAC3D [29] for 3-dimensional slope stability analysis.
FLAC3D is a 3D extension of FLAC program.
Engineering judgments are used in deciding relevance of the results to the project
and issues of interest/concern.
Note: There are other commercially available computer programs based on limit
equilibrium and continuum mechanics methods which can be used for static
stability analyses. The programs named herein have been used in Reclamation

C-2

DS-13(4)-6

October 2011

Chapter 4, Appendix C
Computer Programs

and their inclusion is for convenience; however, no endorsement or


recommendation of their use is implied.

DS-13(4)-6

October 2011

C-3

Appendix D

Guidance Papers for Static Stability


Analyses
Part 1

The Place of Stability Calculations in Evaluating the Safety of


Existing Embankment Dams

Part 2

Suggestions for Slope Stability Calculations

Part 3

Variable Factor of Safety in Slope Stability Analysis

Part 4

On the Boundary Conditions in Slope Stability Analysis

Part 5

An Automated Procedure for 3-Dimensional Mesh Generation

Part 6

Average Engineering Properties of Compacted Soils from the


Western United States

Part 7

Strength, Stress-Strain and Bulk Modulus Parameters for Finite


Element Analyses of Stresses and Movements in Soil Masses

Each of these documents is self-explanatory, and no additional comments


are considered necessary.

Appendix D
Part 1

The Place of Stability Calculations in Evaluating the Safety of


Existing Embankment Dams
by Ralph B. Peck

This article was published in the Civil Engineering Practice, Journal of the Boston
Society of Civil Engineers Section/ASCE, Volume 3, Number 2, pp. 67-80, 1988.
It is reproduced here with permission of the publisher.

CWIL ENGINEERING

PRACTICE'
)OUR"AI. Of THI! lIO$To.. SOCJ1!'IY

01' CIVIl. ESCINHIIS

VOlUME

i'WM ,

litshtw'ighl CoT><T<t. 11.<>01 Sl.b>

AI50 in Thi, I ..",:


E1_n h""tiv.li"" of

P.,hoS...

O",crde Fonn.. orI<

BSCES Han"'.')' M.",t>trs

E''''ing Embankment Dam S.f.ty

socno""aS(];

--

Site Analysis

The Place f ta ilit


Calculati
fe f
Evaluati
Existing
t
Dams
Thorough
of
conditions and constmction
records should have precedence
over
analyses
determining the safety of
embankment dams.
RALPH B. PECK

HE
evaluating the
of an existing embankment dam is to
ensure that the catastrophic loss of the
reservoir will not occur. Many
in which
the safety of existing dams is evaluated
the safety to the results of stability analyses. Yet
seismic
aside, stability ;:\n,~lv"p",
are often
and may even be m1:sje,~dTo be sure, one the great achievements of
soil
has been the development of

"""",,,,,,U ili bri u m


of sta bility
analyses. Every soils student learns about
them. Sophisticated computer programs exist
for carrying them out. They have an important
place in embankment dam engineering,
primarily in design, but they can be misleading
in evaluating dam safety if too much depend
ence is placed on the numerical values of fac
tors of safety derived from them.

Purposes of Stability
Analysis in Design
the implications of stability analyses
with respect to the safety of existing dams can
considered, the ways in which such analyses
are useful in design should be reviewed. The
discussion herein is [imJted to limit-equi
librium analyses. Other techniques are re
and
quired for investigating
liquefaction.
In practice,
slopes for embankment dams
are not chosen on the basis of stability calcula
tions; they are
The

OVJL ENGINEERING PRACTICE FAlL 1988

67

selection is based on the designer's judgment


that takes mto account foundation conditions,
economics,
of materials, logis
non
tics and a whole series
tec.hnical considerations.
tentatively
selected both exterior and interior slopes, the
ae:'lgJt1er carries out
to ensure
that conventional
are adue'veci,
This
tion
is a
legitimate
Uel,J~LI.
Furthermore, inasmuch as
ment dam di,ffers in some res,pe,ct
it is
tohavca
the proposed darn with others whose
mance is known. Factors
stalbilil:y anaJY!*'s for the pre_po,sed
for
dams constitute such a
Moreover, stability analyses are valuable in
comparing
efficiencies various arran;ge
ments
the
of the
The aniMvses
can provide insights regarding the relative
merits and economies of placing superior or In
,..,..."t""n;:lllC: of
costs in different
parts of the embankment.
Stability
assist
in avoi,ding
shear failmes during construction. Many dams
have experienced upstream or downstream
failures
construction because of
weak seams in the
Such failures
can often be
and avoided by
investigation and appraisaJ of the foundation
conditions and
te equilibrium

In addition, faillll'es during constnlction


have been known to occur as a
of
induced in relatively imper
vious zones by the
of fill. These
tallurl'''> can
predicted by suitable
librium analyses combined with investigations
pore-pn::SSlue COl~thClents in the relevant
rnateria.ls and studies of the rates
These faUuresalso can be avoided by im
plementing a
that enswes
that sufficient dissipation
su res occurs
aPloropnate
nt>l"if'\rl<: during filling.
Finally, stability analyses are llsed to provide
assmance that a dam will not
under oplUat
ing conditions. A
enough factor of safety
is
to guard
downstream slid
ing under a full reservoir a.nd J in addition, an

b8

CIVIL E,'<c.:J"1 FHlt-.C, PI:ACTJ(F FALI_ J98!l

appropriate
safety is specified a1!:ainst
an upstream failure resulting from rapid
do't'm.
All
uses of stability
are
legitimate parts
They
knowledge of foundation conditions a.nd of the
pertinent
of the
materials inVUIIVrlL!. Th~
from the
field
the
are usually
in
successive
refinement.

Stability Analyses of Eristing Dams


The application of
in the
design phase makes use of
or genera 1
ized soil
ties,
known
geometries and
of sliding. In
contrast, if the
of an
em
bankment dam is 10 be determined correctly,
facts rather
are needed. Ob
facts is no simple
both the external and internal
geometry of the dam must be ascertained,
which may be difficult if reliable l\S-buiH drawthe
!lre not available.
the
properties
the
need to be deter~
mined, either from good records as they were
actually
or by investigation. The
sw:tac:eof
can be
me'a5trrlme.n ts il
or it can be
estllbli.shE~d n~a.li!;tic1ally from knowJedge
the
subsurface conditions. The shear strengths
have to be
in terms of effec!ive~
stress
along the
of sliding
mlU(:H.nl~ that portion of the surface within the
foundation. The
on the actual
c, "-t:"",,, of sliding
on
potentia I
of
if the actual one is not known) must be
determined as well.
All these data are at best
to
evaluate
and in many instances
may
to determine. Obtaining
them may necessitate exploratory work within
and beneath the dam., itself often an
detrimentaJ to the safety of the
llIUI~'~, it is fair to say that if good consl:rUc
lion records are unavailable, it may be imprac*
Heal or virtually
to
adequate
{or
the factor
reliably.
HOWt~e.r, this limitation is only one
considerations
to the conclusion that
stability
may irrelevant or ml:5je(~a-

ing with respect to prediclil,g the safety of an


existing dam.

Failure of Embankment Dams


Embankment dams can fail either catastrophi
cally or non-cahastrophically. A catastrophic
failure of whatever natwe is de6ned as one that
:results in the uncontrolled loss of the reservoir
with consequent loss of life -and damage to
property. It is the avoidance of catastrophic
failures that justifies the authority given to
regulatory bodies to require assessments of
dCl.ffi s<'lfety and to mandate remedial measures
where safety appears to be questionable or in
adequate. It is the legitimate goal of govern
ment, through regulatory bodies, to avoid fu
ture Sf. Francis (California), Telon (Idaho),
Johnstown (Pennsylvania> or Baldwin Hills
(Californ ia) catastrophes, Non-catastrophic
failures, which may be expensive, annoying or
embarrassing, shouJd also be avoided. Owners
of dams may be well advised to evaluate the
probability of such failures and to take steps to
prevent them. Yet, since their consequences faU
far short of the calamities associated with the
flood folJowing a catastrophic failure, they f;tll
outside the domains of public safety and the
regulatory powers of government, and they do
not fall within the scope of this study.
Catastrophic failures have one of iour
causes: overtopping, piping by backward
erosion, liquefaction, or downstream sliding at
high reservoir (possibly associated with toe
failure due to piping by heave). The first three
of these types of faiJwes - overtopping, back
ward erosion and liquefaction - cannot be
predicted by stability ana lyses. HencJ the
legitimate application of stability analyses to
catastrophic failure is restrided to downstream
sliding, with or without loss of toe support,
when there is enough water in a reservoir to do
catastrophic damage if released.
Non-catastrophic failures can occur by
downstream or upstream sliding, including
sliding originating in the foundation, when
there is no pool orwhen the pool is so smaU that
its release is inconsequential. In addition,
faiJures can occur by rapid drawdown, but
such failures are not in themseJves catastrophic
even if the reservoir contains a high pool.
Rapid drawdown has led to significant

damage in a number of instances, but there ap


pears to be no record of catastrophic Joss of a
reservoir resulting from this mode of failure.
Therefore, it is not included as a cause of
catastrophic failure. However, the potential for
catastrophic failure exists if a rapid dra wdown
slide could block outlet works and if SpillwCly
capacity would be inadequate to prevent over
topping in the event of sud, blod-cage. Under
U,ese circumstances the potential for a rapid
drawdown requires assessment.

Critical Periods for Sliding


If an embankment dam were to fail under con
ditions that could be appropriately defined by
a limit-equilibrium analysis, it would do so at
one of three critical periods. The first of these is
during construction. As the embankment rises,
the factor of safety against a slope failure, and
pa rtieu lad y aga inst fou nda tiOll fa il u re,
decreases. Such a slide would not be
catastrophic unless the pool had been allowed
to rise against the embankment as it was being
placed. Under these circumstances, whatever
pool had been accumulated might escape and
cause flooding.
The second critical period is Ule Hrst filling
of the reservoir, [f the dam survives the initial
filling and if there is no blowup at the toe, the
dam can be considered safe On effect, proof
test(:'d) against faiJure by piping due to heave.
TI,e third critical period is achievement of
mi'!ximum pore pressure under a full reservoir.
If the dam has not faiJed when this condition
ha s been rear hed, its sa fety aga inst
downstream slope fa i1uTe has been
demonstrated. Under many circumstances, in
duding the presence of relatively thin cores or
ample well-drained downstream shells, pore
pressure maxima follow so rapidly after the
first filling that the survival of the first 6lling
can be considered to be iI demonstration of the
ultimate safety of the dam under full-reservoir
conditions. However, if the impervious section
of t he dam is thick and impermeable enough to
create a time lag betwe-en the rise of the reser
voir and the rise of piezometric levels in the
core or supporting downstream zones, pore
pressure equilibrium may not occur for severaJ
years after the reservoir is fixst ruled and the
critical period may be delayed. So-calJed

CMl. ENGINEERING P!<AC1'ICF. FAU 19M

69

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"'proaUy ;.

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I\od bom _

Lamp Post

__________

Ori~n~Ground-1...

----

Benn

L:.

,-,J
-, \

ConSlfUclion WellpoiJ"lLS

".'.:t.

Cretaceous

',t

Wealhered Schist

Schist

FlGURE 2. Longitudinal section through the east end of the Walter Bou..ldin power house and
the junction with east wing dam.
est...i.blished. They discounted the likelihood of
piping at a lower elevation where il probably
occurred.
The essential features of the project lncJuded
an earth claro about 165 feel high across the
de~pestpartala valley, flanked on the west and
east by wing dams founded on Pleistocen.e ter
race deposits al a higher level. A power house
was embedded in lhe downstream slope of the

highest part of the dam;

th~

roof of lhE' power

house was at lbe same ele.vation as a berm on


the downstT'eam slope. The power house's
foundation eXlended into Precambrian schist
bed.rock overlain by Crel:3ceous sedim-en ls con
sisting largely at slightly cohes.ive sands -and
silts with layers of stiff clay. Beneath the wing
dams these sediments were overlain in tum by
the terrace deposits. The relationships are
shmvT\ diagrammahcally in Figure 1. Figure 2
depicts a longitudi.nal section of the a.rea
through the east end of the power house and its
junction v.ith I'he east wmg dam; it shows the
e'Xcavahon made through the CrelE\CeoUs soDs

into the schist to reach suitab~e foundation sup


port for the power house fa ft.
n'ere was one eyewitness to the events lead
Lng up to the faiJure: Mr. Sanford, the night
guard. He was interrogated many times i.n the
course of the ensuing investigation and
recounted a remarkably conslstent series of
recoUectiC5ns, As a non-teclUlicaI person, he had
no hypothese5 about the causes of failure and
appare.ntly had no feaSOI'\ to report o~her than
what he experienced.
The chronology ofSanforo's activities on the
cloudy, moonless night of the failure C1Ul be
traced with refere.nce to Figure 1, a simplified
sketch of the power house and dam as seen
from downsb:eam. He went on duty about9:45
p,m" made his first routine inspection startirlg
at his office in ~he reception room (A) at the
northwest corner of the roof of the power
house, and rerurned about midnight without
hi! ving observed anything unusual. After read
ing the 5unda y paper for some time in !..he
reception room, he glanced. out a west window

CIVIL E\:CtNFERtNG PRAcnCE FALL 1938

71

11!.r><!

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north od~' 01 ri.. ,001 .... ""'''08 """" n.1I

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lot
col).
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,."" th<y ""'''' .... w<,k ,'"
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... " ,"'." ",,' ... Not ",,,....U I~I_ Il. i "II ''''''"I~
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htco.'" ""'_, w"" w...... '0 now """ ,.. pow" """"
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,....... oI'.. d."'

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""""' .. 10' .. ,,.,. .....-... Tho .....' >1
by f.1l ;n~ nJ"'p, b.._

""... '"""'P'''''"

FIGURE 4_ Erosion of cut slope in Crtlaceous soils during Bouldin Dam reconstruction.
the crest. TIle similarity of the events to the
development of ~he erosion tunn.el through
Teton Dam is evideJlt (see Figure ).
The official reports concluded thai the
failure started as an upstream slide exlensive
enough to breach the crest to a level below the
reservoir surface, whereupon the water flowed
through the gap and injtiated the erosion. This
scenario is incompatible with Sanford's
count. Foremost among the {acts Ih<ll cannot be
explained by the upstream slide hypothesis is
that the tight at the crest of the dam, located
where the gut ultimately developed, remained
iJluminaled for more than 20 minutes after
muddy water began 10 flow over the roof of the
power house. Had overtopping occurred
through a slide-produced gap, the lamp post OJ:
its power supply cables would have been
among Ihe first casualties, and the events
described by Sanford would have taken place
in the dark. Furthermore, the temporary
decrease in the flow that he observed when he
reached the gate is characteristic of blockage
caused by collapse of material overlying a run
nel, whereas the flow through an open channel
would only have increased with time. It is also
noteworthy that the horizontal thickness of the
dam atthe water line wassome64 feet. To allow

,le

the reservoir to escape, a slide would have had


to extend upstream at least tltis distance. The
extent of such a slide parallel 10 the axis of the
dam would have had to be of comparable mag
nitude, several times greater than the 26 feet
from the end of the power house to the lamp
post at (C), Thus, the crest light would havedis
appeared with the first earth movement. Yet. it
continued 10 function for at least twenty
minutes after the dam was releasing water.
From the rune that Sanford first detected
lrouble, his description fits the classic
mechanism of the upward development of aJl
erosion tunnel. Thescenario would notbccom
pJete, however, unless a set of physical condi
tions existed that wowd pennit the initial un
detected development of such a tunneL The
official reports correctly noted illa! seepage
was expected by the designers and had oc
curred extensively CIt the downstTeam loes of
the east and west wing dams where they rested
on permeable terrace deposits. Relief wells had
been installed, along with other remedial and
observation works, to conlTol the seepage. In
deed, the record is replete with references to the
attention given ro the prevention of piping at
<lnd above the Tertiary-Cretaceous interface.
The investigators, however, discolUlted the
OVlL I)..'GlNEERlNG rRAcna. F.... U 1988

73

FIGURE 5. Erosion lu.nnel at the contact of


two layers of Creuceous soils in excavation at
the Bawdin diUnSile. Note theverti,cal joint in
the cohesive gravelly material.
possibility of piping in the underlying
Cretaceous materials. although these materials
cOIHained many slightly cohesive, highly
erodible sands and ');115 (see Figures 4 and 5).
The foundation raftof the power house was
cast inside formwork in an excavation extend
ing a few teet into somewhat weathered schist
underlying the Cretaceous beds. An ap
proximate section through the edge of Ihe raJl
and adjace'Ilt materials is shown in Figure 2
The geometry of the backJilled zone would
have favored seepage along its boundaries.
Seepage could Ats<> have d~veloped readUy
through tlle )ointE. and more pervious zones in
lhe Cretaceous deposits.lndeed, lheexcavaHon
foy the po\Ver house and intake structure re
quired dewatering by weU points; three tiers
were instalJed, the !owi:;r two of which were en
tirely in the Cretaceous beds. Thus,avenues for

se.epage were undoubtedly present. Backwarrl


eroSiOll could \.lave gone unobserved below
laihvater level lor a long tUne until finaUy an
erosion f:uN1el reached the reservoir and per
nutted concentrated destructive nows to cause
rapid enlargement and failure.
The course 01 events before the runnel
reached the. level of the po\\let: house roof is
speculative. but the existence of conditions
favorable to the development of a tunnel by
backward erosion is 110t. Neither are the events
observed after the tunnel reached the level of
tl,e power house roof. TheconciusiQn seems in
e-scapable. Ihat failure acrually occurred by
piping, and tha.tany supposed shortcomings in
the construction of the embankment, even if
they existed, were irrelevant.
The official reports postulate an upstream
slide without the destabilizing influence of a
dr?\vdown. This explanation in itself is logica 1
Jy questionable. An earlier shallo\... d.rawdown
slide in the steep upstream slope had occurred,
however, and had been repaired by dumping
crushed stone and rockfill in the affected area.
The investigators reasoned that Ihe strength of
the clayey materials under the dumped fill had
graduaUy deteriorated as their moisture con
tent increased, and that at the time of failure the
strength had reduced to theexlent thallheslide
was r~cti.valed. This hypothesis, like. that 01
any upstream slide. is lncompatible with the
events recounted by Sanford and with the ex
tento[ a slide that wouJd have been required 10
lower the top of the dam below reservoir leve-J.
l1I short, Ihe failure of Walter Bouldin Dilrn
occurred because of piping by backward
erosion. As no 01 her e)(ample of catastrophic
failure and loss of reservoi.r has been attributed
to an upstream sljde, it may be conclUded that
il dam that has successfully swvived construc
lion will not experience a catastrophic
upstream slope failure. Any analysis that ind.i
cales otheMise must be e.rroneous. Further, a
stability al1alysis to investigate the s.uety o( the
upstream slope under full reservoir is ir
relevant. If an upstream slope does nOl fail
duri.ng constructi.on, its ~ctor of safety must
exceed unity under the more favorable condi
tion of reservoir loading. Rapid drawdoWTI
may induce a ('!'Iilure, but sud\ a failure is shal
low and has never been known to rut back into

the embankment far enough to permit overtopand cause the catastrophic loss of a reser
voir.
There is a remote possibility thata dam con
fine-grained soUs possessing shear
str<:mg"ith due to capillarity, or containing stiff
collesive materials susceptible to swelling, may
SI.T,en~~th when submerged if the thickness
upstream shell material is inadequate.
up:~tre:am slopes of dams containing such
materiials are usually fairly flat and failure sur
would tend to be shallow, with conse
qu,eru:essitnil,U'lo those of drawdo\'lTl failures.
no catastrophic failure of this
is

U Walter Bouldin Dam is eliminated from


the category of failure by upstream sliding,
then it may be concluded that once a reservoir
has been filled and the associated pore-pres
sure increases have been achieved, the factor of
saiety is at least equal to unity with
to
limit-equilibrium conditions; and Ihat any
culation showing a factor of safety less than
unity must be in error.

Downstream Slope Failures


The factor of safety of a dam that survives its
fus~ filling and the associated increases in pore

pressure w ill increase with time, unJess this fac


tor of safety is so close. to unity that cyclic load
ing produced by fluctuations in the level of
pool causes strain softening and a critical loss
of
11, however, the factor of safety is
so close to unity, dO\'lTlslream slope
pt:ceejed by
and 111
c:re~SJJU!: increments of movement at successive
levels. Any calculation
a fac
safety appreciably different from unity
conditions must be erroneous.
~t,lblILlty calculations are thus irrelevant in as
sessing toe safety of such a structure; observa
tions oi movement must take their
If suc
cess j v(' period s of fu H reservoir a i
accompanied by decreasing mc:relments
movements, the stability of the structure is in
creaging. If the contrary occurs, the "J::.lhilihJ
may be decreasing. Stability c-alculati(:ms
be usefuJ in judging the influence of various
remedial measures, but the cmnpute'd
nitudes of the factor of safety are me~.nin~~es;s,
An outstanding example of the imcle.'V8Ilce

sta bi lLty caku 1(1 tions under cend itions of


decreasing increments of movement is Gar
diner Dam on the South Saskatchewan River in
Canada. The case of this dam illustrates the
limitations of equilibrium stability analyses.

Behavior of Gardiner Dam


Conception,
and construction of Gardiner Dam
the quarter cen
in which
of shear strength
was
its most
revisions, and
at
evolution of the design the
ge<)te<:hnical stul:ties reflect~~d the new frontiers
followine history is greatly
ablbre'vl.lte<L 'C),!':rh.an<;
tolerable \..inlits,
has been exceptionally
dO'CUlnelnted, the
reader can
"",,,,rhluleam
At
site the
Saskatchewan River
flows in a
cut into the Cretaceous Bear
tormaitlon, of which the main shale mem
tne:slte; tt'leS,na]:<ebite, isofhigh plastidty
COlntains. b'nt(miteclrbentonitic zones with
limlitsrangin.gup toabout300. The depth
beclro<~ vaJJey at the site is about
01, but the bottom 30 01 are filled with al
luvium. The valley is bordered by wide zones
of
or landslide topogTaphy givi::ng tes
timony to
propensity for stability problems
duri
excavation and fill placement (seeFarm Rehabilitation Ad
ministratiDn
(PFRA) began studies
for an irrigation project involving a dam across
the river. Total stress stability analyses were the
ruJe at the time, and the initial design was based
on two sets of undrained peak-strength
parameters: ( = 15 to 20 psi, <Ii "" lO o ;.and c = 20
psi, <!) =0. Circular surfaces of stiding were as
sumed. and a factor of safety. F5
2.7, was
adopted for the end-of-constr:u.ction condition.
The early geotechnical studies were carried
out by Robert Peterson with equipment repre
senting the latest Harvard designs. Subse
quently, Arthur Casagrande, engaged as a con

sultant, turned the emphasis to a Study of the


slumped slopes in the vicinity rupplemel1ted
by laboratory tests on a few select samples, by
a test drift in which surfaces of sliding in the
shale could be observed, by instrumentation to
detect movements and by installation of

CML ENGrNEERING PRACTICE FAI.L 1988

75

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ties of the mass undergDing movement in Gar


diner Dam impose inherent limitations on
limit-eguiHbrium analyses. The limitations
have been recognized, and finite-element
studies have been carried out with sophisti
cated refinemenls. 9
assigning what ap
peared to be
values to the physical
pn:)peTtu~ of the various materials involved,
by adjusting these values a.c; required to
achieve agreement between predicted and ob
served behavior, a modeJ was developed that
could reproduce deformations similar to those
in the field, including the pattern of response to
cyclic reservoir operation. Prediction over
many load cycles. however, was not satisfac
tory. Although the study provided valuable in
sight into the behavior of the dam, it is dear,
nevertheless, that no such finHe-elernent study;
without the calibration afforded by extensive
observational data, can
be depended on to
indicate the degree of safety of this or probab
ly any other existing dam.

Conclusions
The foregoing discussion leads to the con
clusion that stability analyses are unreliable
bases for assessing the 5tability of an exi:StiI1i~
dam with respect to catastrophic failure.
conclusion strictly a pplies
to staHc
tions; insight regarding the behavior in an
earthquake may be gained by analysis, al
though not generally by limit-equilibrium
analyses.
U the pool
equilibrium
reached, the results of
stability analyses may be assessed as follows:
1. U the calcuJated factoT of safety is less
than unity, it must be erroneous.
2. If the
fador of safety is
greater than
the results merely indi
ca te the
is unneces
sary to show that the dam is standmg. Fur
thermore, no
conclusion about the
degree of
can be drawn from the
numerical value
a computed factor of
saiety: hence, satisfying some prescribed
criterion for
va lue is not in itself a
suitable indicator of
3. If
movements are occur
ring; a
is irrelevant because the

to unity.
factor of safety is obviously
The actual safety can bE' assessed only on the
basis of monitoring the movements and as
socjated events. The
is ex
emplified by the studies at
Darn,
where the cruoal observations were those
indicating decreasing increments of move
ment under successive comparable reservoir
fillings. Nevertheless, if
fador
safety is approximately
umit-eqw
liblnUln calculations
in judg
elf,ectivene:ss of various alternatives
increasing the safety.
use of equi
librium analysis is justifiable,
its effec
tiveness has been
not only
with respect to dams, but with
to
natural slopes. It
be dear,
h01Ne"er, that the absolute value of the fac
tor of safety
of the cal
culations is of no signifi:caIlce.
Stability anaJyses are
the investigator.
"with respect to evaluating
stability of exist
dams.n isno! meant that they should never
be performed. However,
l1UJl'\erical values
for the factor of
should
little if any
weight in judging the
of the struc
ture
respect to
failure.
The
in
100 much emOn stability
is
may
regarded as a
for the much more
difficult and expensive
investigations and
research needed to establish the real
character of the structure in question. Some
dam owners may prefer the relatively small ex
pendihlre for a perhmctory stability study in
contrast to costly and time-consuming field
studies. Of greater importance, because of the
greater potential danger> some regulatory
bodies may take more comfort in orderly
stability calculations based on unsupported or
unverifiable assumptions than in qualitative
judgments basro on gxperience and careful in
vestigation. Yet, the former may have uttle or
no relation to the ~al safety of the dam,
whereas the latter are essential in assessing the
Ukelihood or possibiWy of a catastrophic
failure.
This djscussion guite possibly conveys a
negative impression about our ability to deter

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Appendix D
Part 2

Suggestions for Slope Stability Calculations


by Ashok K. Chugh and John D. Smart

This article was published in Computers and Structures, Volume 14, Number 1-2,
pp. 43-50, 1981.

OOil-1949181 IUIlOO4)..()8SO'l,OO/O

&. SITliCIOW. Vol. 14. No, 1-2, PO, 4j...j{), 19111


Printtel in ureat Britain.

Co"ljlPItf,

Perga.... ore" Lid.

SUGGESTIONS FOR SLOPE STABILITY CALCULATIONS


ASHOK

K. CHUGHt and JOHN D. SM.ART~

Water and Power Resources Service, Engineering and Research Center, D222, P,O. Box 25007. Denver. CO 80225.

U.S.A.

(Rueiued 21 Jal1UtlTY 1980; received Jor publication 3 lilly 1980)


Abstract-Considerations for the selection of potential slide surface geometry in slope stability calculations by the
limit equilibrium method are presented. Relations between the solution variables and the Mohr-Coulomb strength
nAl"llrneter.' for no failure on the interslice boundaries are derived. Also included are the relations between the
;~iution~~riables for effective and totlll stress considerations. The materials are assumed \0 be "no-tension" type.
Significance of evaluating the calculated response for the individual slices making up the potential slide mass is
indicated.

NOMENCLATURE

Amongst the different methods of analyses, limit


equilibrium methods satisfying the three equations of
statics are now being used extensively for estimating the
stability of both natural slopes find man-made
embankments [5-8,12]. The method of slices, considering
the interslice forces, as presented by Spencer [10,11,13],
is representative of the modern versions of limit equili
brium methods. It seeks the solution of the slope stability
equations, starting with an assumed value of factor of
safety F and thrust inclination 8, satisfying the boundary
conditions at the toe and head of the slide mass. The
other parameters, such as interslice forces, their mag
location and direction) do not
an active role
in the solution scheme but are
as a part of the
iteration pracedure. In this presentation, the boundary
conditions are considered as being distinct from the
inters lice forces.
The objectives of the present paper are to present sug
gestions lor:

b width of slice

cohesion with respect to effective stress

e eccentricity of the e"terna; force P

E horizontal component of interslice force

F factor of safety

H force exerted hy the pore water on the interstice boundary


h height of force above slip surface
i ground slope
K", coefficient Ijf active earth pressure
N force normal La base of slice
P external force acting on the .slice
S total shear force
T in:rslice force for the bad wedge
W weight of slice or back wedge

Z intersli.ce force

U force exerted by the pore waler on the base of the slice

a slope of base of slice

P slope of the top of slice

" dope of interslice force

8 backrest angle with horizontal

c'

I. Geometrical configuration of a critical segmented


failure surface.
2. Interrelationship of Ihe mathematical solution for
tolal and effective stress considerations; and
3. Limits imposed by the material strength on the
validity of the mathematical solution.

I!fI'RODUCfION

The problem of slepe stability is an important part of


geotechnical engineering. As a result much has been said
and written in Ihe technical literature about various
methods of analyses-their merits, complexities and
simplifying assumptions. justifications for their use in
actual practice, and about comparison of results obtained
from their use[1.4,6-S,12-14U Most of the slaDe
stability analysis procedures have been converted into
computer programs for their fast and accurate
implementation [3, 15J. Frequent occurrence of slope
design problems combined with availability of the com
puters, makes it reasona ble to assert that at present
almost every geotechnical engineer has an access to one
or more of the slope stability analysis computer codes
and that these codes are frequently used in engineering

Backrest Geometric configuration of the heel of a


segmented failure surface.
Thrust: Resultant force on interslice boundary.
The words "no-tension" and "cohesionless" are implied to
have identical meaning.

tCivil Engineer, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

tSupervisory Civil Engineer, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

References included in Ihis paper are representative, but not II

complete list, of lhe works on the subiect.

Figure I is a general description of the problem. For any


verlical slice, abed, the forces acting are shown in Fig.
l(b). HL and H are the hydrostatic forces exerted by
the SUbsurface water on the vertical boundaries of the
slice (assumed to be known), Other forces acting on the
free body diagram of a slice are defined in the Nomen

The materials are assumed to be homogeneous and iso


tropic and obey the Mohr-Coulomb strength hypothesis.
An example of stability analysis of a natural slope i.,
lI1c:mOleo. The following terms used in this paper 3re
de4ined as follows:

43

A. K.

CHUGH

and J. D. SMAIlT

- Polentlal ~Iide tudoce


of 10me Qeametri c

conf'gllra lio"

101

Fig. I(a). Genual slope Slability problem description.

(b)

Fig. I(b), Forces acting on a typical slice.


clature. Considering static equilibrium of the forces:

In the derivation of eqns (I) and (2), and elsewhere in


this paper, the factor of safety (F) is defined as the ratio
the tolal shear strength available on the slip surface 10
~ c'b sec a - W sin a +~W cos 11 - U)tan !p' of
the total shear force required to reach a condition of
limiting equilibrium.
L=h+
[ I
]
cos(8-a) l- p tan(8-I1)tan41'
p cos
T

(~ - a) [ tan (~ - a) +

GEOME11UC CONFIGUIATION

tan t/J']

COS(8-a)[I-~tan(8-a)tanl/ll

a[ I +~tan atan ']


+cos (8 - a)[ 1-~tan(8-a) tan 4>']
HI.. cos

cos q [ 1

+.p Isn 11 tan q,']

cos (8 - a)[ I-~ t.10 (8 - a) tan ~,]

(I)

l. The profile of the weak material responsible for the


occurrence of slope stability problem.
2. The profiles of the underlying and overlying rela
tivel y stronger material.
3. The pore water pressure distribution.
4. The length of the potential slide surface.
S, The indication of localized weak material zones.

[ Z]

Z h, +2 [tan 8-tan a] 1 + Z~
1/2'" Z~

+ ZR cos fJ sec 8[ltl tan (3 - eI


I

+ Z. sec 8 [HLh. - Bllk l ]

For circular configuration of potential slide surfaces.


most computer programs have a routine that optimizes
on a circle that gives a minimum factor of safety [3, 15].
This optimization is generally in the neighborhood of the
initial estimate for the center of rotation of critical
circle pro~ided by a designer.
For a segmented geometry of polential slide surfaces,
generally a discrete calculation is performed for the
stability determination along the specified configuration.
The critical elements of a slope that should be con
sidered in th~ selection of a segmented failure surface
geometry are:

(2)

The order in which the above elements are mentioned

45

Slope stability calculations


is not important. While these elements inftuence the
choice of large segments of potential slide surfaces for
analysis, they do not, per se, assist in estimating the toe
and heel of the slide surface [2J.

At the instant of shear failure, from eqn (6)


II'

sin 8- Tcos(O 8)

ho cos i l l cos J cos i

= c SIO-j
. (0 ') +-2 I'h o sm
' ( ,,-I
l>
') cos () tan t/!

+ T sin (8 - 8) tan 4>

CRITICAL lIAcK.RFST INCLINATION

The critical backrest of a segmented slide surface


should be such as to give the least contribution to the
overall factor of safety against sliding, For a planar
backrest of the failure surface, the forces acting on the
wedge of material are shown in Fig, 2. Pore water
pressure is not considered in the following derivation.
Summing forces along the backrest plane:

s = W sin e- r cos (e - 5)
= W cos 0+ T5io(8- 0)

shear strength

For a cohesionless material, egn (7) becomes


(8)

K '" cos f) cos i sin (8-

A
cos(8 o-q,)sin(8-i)

Differentiating K(8, 8) with respect to 8 and equating it


to zero, one gets

9 cos i

+pho sin(8 ncoslJtan,p


+ T sin (e -

8)

tan t/!

(9)

Similarly differentiating K(f), 8) with respect to 8, equat


ing it to zero, and substituting eqn (\0), leads to the
transcendental equation:

(8 - i)
2 COS

(7)

(10)

c,AC + N tan I/J


ho cos i
!

cos(98-I/sio(0-;)

(4)

is:

= C sin

cos i cos

where

For the Mohr-Coulomb material, shear strength along


the backrest

T==

1/ - rho

(3)

Summing forces normal to the backrest

~ yh o2 cos 8 cos i sin (8 -

sin (8 - ) sin (8 i) tan 8 - sin (t/! - i) == 0


(5)

The expression for the factor of safety from equations


(3) and (5) is:

The solutions of the eqn (1 n are graphed in Fig, 3 for


several values of i. The corresponding values of K", the
coefficient of active earth pressure, are evaluated from

cho cos i 1 yh o2 cos 8 cos i


,
, ell ') +2- sm' ( /} - I
') cos 8 tan 4J + T Sin (8 8) tan
F "" sm 0 - I
W sin 8 - T cos (8 - 8)

Thus for the backrest to yield the least F, its orientation


should be such as to give the minimum value for the
thrust, r.
For a given material and ground slope, the thrust T
depends upon Wand 8, Fig. 2. For the planar backrest of
the failure surface, T is a function of (8.8),

(11)

(6)

eqn (9) and are given in Table I,


It may be mentioned that the z.eros of the eqn (\1)
were approximated by the one-step linear interpolation
formula [91. x,=(XJY2-X2}'1)!(Y2-Yl) where XI to Xl is
the range in which the solution lies, This range was
obtained numerically by incrementing 0 through 1.

w=~ A8, Aor


tall 8

= rr..t.Q.(
AO

tall i = CE

AD

= i\"
h" co, 8 cos i
AD = ....., - - , - -
sin (8-il
W = 1. r h" cos8cos i
2
0 sirUl-;)

DE

Fig, 2. Forces acting on the backrest portion of a slide mass.

A. K. CHlJOH and 1. D.

SMART

80-,----..------,-------.-----,----

GROUND SLOPE
ANGLE, i (OJ

60

<1>

())

0.0

5.0

10.0

20.0

(0

30.0

I-

.......J

Cl
Z

<(

l
ll)

w 40

'"

'"

III
...J

::!

'"

15.0

25.0

35.0

40

ANGLE OF' INTERNAL FRICTION,

45.0

30

20

10

\!J

40,0

50

16 1}

Fig. 3. Solution of eqn (11) !ll first approximation.


Table l. Values of K"
I/J IN DEGREES

I
DEG.

SLOPE

:5

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

73 :5

.604

.504

.4 2:;

.35 :5

.296

.244

.199

160

1:11.5

.992

.698

.56 :3

.463

.383

.3 I 6

.258

209

.166

970

.654

.5 t 7

418

.340

.275

220

.93 ::I

.602

.295
.371
. -1'----- 1--
.54 is
.414
322

.234

10

15

1:3.7

20

1:2.7

5.7

25

1:2.1

30

I: I. 7

35

I: t.4

40

1:1 2

45

I: 1.0

-
- f-

- - >_...:~83

467

T cos S '" T' cos 8' + H

(12)

T sin S '" T' sin 8'

(13)

T'(ho- h') cos 8' +

H( hG-~ hI)
(14)

Equations (12)-(14) ensure the horizontal, vertical. and


moment equivalence respectively of the interslice forces
for the total and the effective stress.
tl''f''I'\f''n

.. ,,"

111\

:l- AUtU .... "1.u \.AJ}

T';: T sin 8
sin 8'

From eqns (12) and (15)

.193

.422

.305

.225

671

.359

251

587

.297
.500

750

_.

tan (j' = ~:......::.=--=~

For the interslice forces to be statically equivalent for

the effective and total stress,


4(a, b):

T(h o - h) cos 8

.1 B3
.207

.359

RELATION OF 'I1lltUSl AND ITS INCUNATION


FOR EFFECTIvE AND TOTAL STRESS

114
_--~

273

.4 85

-- f----

..

.250

1---

821

45

(15)

( 16)

From eqns (14)-(16), one gets

"
fl

[ TCOSS-!H!b]h
3 h
= Teos S H

(7)

Equations (15)-(17) relate the interslice force, its loca


tion, and orientation for total and effective stress. However
eqns (12)-(17) do nol accounl for the effect of the
hydrostatic forces on the intersl ice boundaries on the
calculated factor of safely. F. It is essential, therefore, to
include these hydrostatic forces in the devivation of slope
stability equations as shown in eqns (l) and (2).
UMITS ON TIIllUST LINE L~CLINAnON
AND ITS MAGNITUDE

Considering the vertical equilibrium of shear force


acting on the interstice boundary and the mobilized shear

41

Slope stability calculations

(0 ,

( bl
FiS. 4. Tota! and effective interslice forces.

ter of the material, it is important that a designer con


sider the results of this calculation along with the cal
culated value of the factor of safety.

strength, Fig. 4{b):

T' sin 8':: ~ [e' ho + T' cos 8' tan 4>'J

COMMENTS

e'~

tan,p'=Ftanli'-rsecS'.

(18)

Therefore, in a cohesionless material, (e' = 0), the


necessary condition for no shear failure on the interslice
boundaries is:

In the derivation for critical backrest inclination


presented, it is presumed that the total factor of safety of
Ii segmented faIlure surface is composed of the factor of
safety of its various constituents, i.e.
F=

8'$1/>'.

The corresponding inclination of the thrust for total


stress is obtained from eqns (16) and (18);
tan 4>' = F

Since

I-~ seell

tan li.

(20)

C_(HJ~) sec 8) musl be ~ I, it follows from eqn

(20) Ihat

Similarly from eqn (16), it follows that:


8::;;8'

(22)

and from eqns (15) and (22) that:

It is perhaps clear that equality in eqns (21)-{23) holds for


H=O.
LOCATION Of 'fHlWSY LlN'E

The slope stability eqns (1) and (2) deal primarily with
the equilibrium of forces acting on the free body diagram
of a typical intermediate slice. Therefore, the location of
the thrust line on the interslice boundaries in terms of hi
and hz is of direct significance. If the calculated location
of the thrust line for a particular slice is outside the
sliding mass, a tension of some
and extent is
implied. For no tension on the
boundaries, it is
imperative that the thrust line be located within the
sliding mass for every interslice boundary. A further
assumption for normal stress distribution (such as linear)
on the interslice boundarY shall further define the bounds
(such as middle third) within which the thrust line must
be located for no tension. Since the limit equilibrium
solution procedure does not consider the tensile charac
CAS V,,1. 14. No. 1-2-0

Ii

(19)

where Ii is the contribution of the ith segment and n is


the total number of
making up the geometry of
the potential
for a slide surface
to have the least factor of safety the contribution of each
unit should be minimized.
In a wedge type of slope stability analysis, where the
back and toe wedges of material are replaced by
horizontal forces exerted by them on the middle wedge
and the factor of safety of the slope is calculated by
considering the equilibrium of the forces acting on the
middle wedge, the backrest angle for maximum horizon
tal force is greater than the backrest angle that gives the
least interslice force, T, used in eqn (6). Since this type
of wedge analysis implies occurrence of shear failure
condition on Ihe vertical interfaces between the wedges,
it gives a lower varue for the computed factor of safety
of the slope. For stability of natural slopes and
embankments, this assumption of shear failure on the
vertical interfaces of slices is unrealistic and gives un
duly lower estimates of the factor of safety, and bence
results in more extensive remedial treatment(s) than may
be necessary to meet a design criterion of faclor of
safety. Alternatively, it could lead a designer into reme
a smaller lone, the middle wedge, of a potentially
slide mass and thus underestimate the extent of
essential treamtneL In any case, a wedge type of analysis
for slope stability problems is unrealistic and is not
recommended for general use.
Since
stability problems Renerallv occur in
geologic formations an{ embankments composed of
different materials and complicated by complex pore
water pressure distribution, it is essential that a designer
make a
study on the backrest and exit slopes
for a segmented failure geometry. Figure 3 may be used
in making an initial estimate for the backrest angle,
Since there is no way in general to predict what a
solution to a nonlinear system, while satisfying the pres
cribed boundary conditions. may calculate for the
various slices making up a slope, il is important to
keep in mind the physics of the actual problem in
interpreting the calculated response. Assuming com-

,\00
I~QO

"00

.....

I}OO

1110t. Ie: ".J

f't.tDoVI Nrl" 1(0000-U,"'15

o ..
[B

ll>Cl~I ,.LY

(LlYS

.tlll(
10'[ "iTCI '''(11\,1 II (

t(~,i

116 o (U.t .... ""rDI

'is

121$.0
I~O

OIU.UUf,or

tU.'

"

"

1000.0

oj

(orn

'000

]'-------.l--.L--.l--J
. ...L--l--:~~--.J--::_=----l--,~...,~----.L-~,f.":-,,,-..L-___;_,,~oo;-_'_l..J'L[_'U_Q-;;,~~.;;t_t_-.L?_---;;,,; ..o_L_--;-.~, -;,;.,o ; -_- ,-_- ;-;;;._-''-
,~ "'"

,-

..J..l._-,---~l_

Fig. 5. Example problem.

----L-...J
"""

Slope stability calculations

49
7.75

1300
1200

725

!IGO
~
<>0

1000

:r

900

1-
VJ

52

675'::

...---------

~~
~""

-'

1.0

'--_-'--_-'-_~

25

30

35

40

e.o

BACKREST
COULEE

700

UJ

0::

0
600 u.

1:

a:.

500

400

1525

_"._----..,......-_::_-::"'::"'"-_='=_-___=_=-50
~5
65
7'0
75
90

45

t-

V)
::;)

575

tIl

~ Evs8

I.t

'x:

800

~
W

62~~

0::

300

ANGLE 8 (OJ

DAM N-E AREA; LONG SLIDE SURFACE '# I

Fig. 6. Parametric study results, slide surface No. I.

~.::t~-"'-"
38

40

42

'__

44

'---_-'--_--'---_...JI_--'-_...J-_

46
48
50
52
54
BACK REST ANGLE
(0 )
COULEE DAM N-( AREA; LONG SLI[; SURFACE "2

Fig. 7. Parametric study resulis. slide surface No.2.

pression to be positive, the calculated negative interslice


forces imply the presence of tensile normaJ stresses in
the soil mass. Unless the solution scheme is formulated
to account for the tensile character of the material, the
calculated results for the (P,8) pair can be quite mean
ingless. Similar comments apply for the solutions that
give thrust line inclination S in violation of the limits
imposed by eqns (191 or (22) for the ideal material

assumed. Even in actual geologic formations, the limits


imposed by these equations cannot be grossly violated
by a nonlinear solution and still be acceptable.
A poor mathematical solution does not necessarily
imply 11 poor nonlinear solution procedure; it can also
indicate a poor phYsical modeJ. An evaluation of the
intermediate response of a poor mathematical solution to
a nonlinear system generally reveals tbe bad character of

50

A. K.

CHUGH

and), D.

SMART

the physical model. A designer should take into con


sideration both of the above possibilities in interpreting
the computed response of a slope stability problem.
It is
in these comments, that there is only
one real value of F and of S that will satisfy both the
force and moment conditions of equilibrium.

calculations of known past s.lides in the area and labora


tory tests. The results of calculated factor of safety as
far as they apply to the specific site are preliminary and
do not reflect the remedial treatment alternatives under
study to imporve stability.

SAMPLE PROBLEM

The selection of potentiaJ slide surface geometry in


slope stability analysis by the limit equilibrium method
deserves a careful consideration. A close scrutiny of the
calculated results of slope stability analysis in terms of
interslice forces-their magnitude, direction. and loca
lion is of significant importance and should be con
sidered along with the faclor of safety.

SUMMARY

Figure 5 illustrates a section located in the Coulee


Dam northeast area downstream of the Grand Coulee
Dam in the State of Washington. The identification of
potential slide surfaces in the hillside is of interest. For
slope stability analysis, the geologic makeup of the site is
assumed to be composed of four materials. Their broad
identification and estimated properties are given in Fig. 5.
The pore water pressure distribution in the hillside is
shown in Fig. 5. The geometry of the segmented slide
surfaces analyzed are also marked in this figure, The
analyses were performed using the computer code
STABLTY[l5] available at the U.S. Bureau of Reclama
tion. Engineering and Research Center. This computer
program implements the metilod of slices satisfying the
three equations of static equilibrium and calculates a
constanf value for the facto'r of safety and a constant
inclination for the interslice forces. The effect o[ back
rest angle on the calculated [actor 0[ safety, inclination
of the interslice force, and the horizontal component of
the interstice force are shown in Figs. 6 and 7. It should
perhaps be mentioned that each potential slide surface
was analyzed individually. For the slide surface No.2,
the calculated least factor of safety corresponds to
backrest
of 48", Fig. 7. The critical backrest
for the
topography and the two material strength
values, from Fig. 3, are: (J =35 for 4> 11 and (j =58
for c/> =34. The average of these two critical backrest
angles is 46.5". The corresponding values for the critical
backrest angle assuming validity of 45 + q,/2 would be
50.5" and 62" with the mean value of 56.25. Thus, the
backrest angle corresponding to the least factor of safety
tends to agree with the values indicated by Fig. 3 rather
than 45 +q,i2 [2J.
It should be mentioned that these analyses were per,
formed using the existing conditions of surface topo
graphy. interpreted materia! horizons, tested material
properties for predominantly clay materials (residual
strength) and estimated material properties for pre
dominantly non-clay materials, and interpreted pore
water pressure distribution for the steady-slate river
operation (Iailbay elevation 955.0 ft). The residual
strength value for
materials used in these cal
culations tends to align with the lower end of the range
of strength values obtained to date by both the back

REFERENCES

L W. F. Chen, Limit Analysis and Soil Plasticity. Elsevier,


Amsterdam (1975).
2. J. M. Duncan and A. L. Buchignani, All Eng/nming Manual
for Slope Stability Studies. Department of Civil Engineering,
University of California (Mar. 1975),
3. D. G. Fredlund. Slope stability analysis. User's Manua/.
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Saskatche
wan (1974).
4. D. G. Fredlund and J. Krahn, Comparison of slope stability
methods of analysis. Canadian Geotechnical J. 14, 429-439
(1977).
5. T. C. Hopkins, D. L. Allen and R C. Deen, Effects of Waler
011 Slope Stability. Kentucky Bureau of Highways (1975).
6. T. W. Lambe and R. V. Whilman, Soil Mechanics. pp. 352
373. Wiley, New York (1969).
7. K. T. Law and P. Lumb, A limit equilibrium analysis of
piogressive failure in the sUbility of slopes. Canadiaii Qo~
techllicaU 15. 113-122 (1978).
8. N. R. Morgnestern and V. E. Price, The analysis of the
stability of general slip surfaces. Geofechlliqui IS, 70-93
(1965).
9. M. G. Salvadori alid M. L Baron, Numerical Methods ill
Engineering, Pl'. 18-'20. Prelillce-Hall, New Jersey (1961).
10. E. Spencer, A method of analysis of the stability of
embankm~nts assuming parallel llilerslice forces, Geotech
lIique, 11-26 (1967).
i L E. Spencer, Thrust line criterion in embankment stability
analyses. Geotechllique, 85-100 (1973).
12. K. Terzaghi and R. B. Peck, Soil Mechanics in Engineering
Practice, pp. 361-459. Wiley, New York (1967).
13. S. G. Wright. A study of slope stability and the undrained
shear strength of clay shales. Ph.D. dissertation, University
of California, Berkeley (1969),
14. H. 1. Hovland, A three-dimensional slope stability analysis
melhod. J. Geotechnical Engng Diu. Am. Soc. Civil Engrs,
t03(G19), 971-986 (1977).
15. S. G. Wright, SSTABI-A general computer program {or
slope stability analyses. Department 01 Civil Engineering,
University of Texas at Auslin (1974).

Appendix D
Part 3

Variable Factor of Safety in Slope Stability Analysis


by Ashok K. Chugh

This article was published in Gotechnique, Volume 36, No. 1, pp. 57-64, 1986.

CHUQH, A. K. (1986l Gear"cnlliq"e J.6, No. 1,57-64

Variable factor of safety in slope stability analysis


A. K. CHUGH-

The use of e variable factor of safety in slope stability


analysis procedures based 011 the limit equilibrium
method is presented. The proposed procedure consists
of defining a cnaracteristic that describes the variation
in the factor of safety along 8 slip surface and tne
analysis proced ure seeh to determine a scalar factor
tnat in combination with the cbal'll.cteristic and the
interslice fora: inclination satisfies the boundary condi
tions in a slope stability problem. A possible form ofthe
characteristic for frictional materials is discussed. A c:.ase
study is included to illustrate tbe application of !.he
ideas prC$Cllted. No new assumptions or unknowns are
introduced and all equations of static
are
satisfied.

procedures commonly used for the slope stability


studies are by Morgenstern & Price (1965),
Spencer (1%7), Sanna (1973) and Janbu (1973).
Their use in practice is a matter of individual or
orgaruzational preference, availability of a partic
ular computer procedure and past experience.
One of the assumptions common to all slope
stability analysis procedures based on tbe limit
equilibrium method is a single value factor of
safety F for the entire shear surface, i.e. the factor
of safety is the same for all locations along the
shear surface. The factor of safety is generally
defined as the ratio of the total shear resistance
available on a shear surface to the total shear
L'artide decrit l'utilisBtion d'un faeteur de securiti:: vari

force required to reach a condition of limit equi


able dans I'ena]yse de la stabiliti:: des pentes bui:es sur

librium. The factor of safety is thus considered to


Ill. methode d'equilibrc limite. La methode proposee

account for uncertainties in the shear strength


consiste tI definir une c:aractl:ristique qui dOcrit la varia

values for the materials.


tion du faeteur de sOcunti:: Ie long d'une surface de g!iss

emenl., landis que la methode analytique cherche a

A shear surface in a typical slope stability


determiner un faeteur scalaire qui en combinaison avec

problem passes through a variety of distinctly dif


Ill. caracteristique et J'inclinaison de la force entre les

ferent materials------each with different shear


tranches remplit les conditions limites dam un prob

strength characteristics. \\!hile peak shear


Ierne de stabilite de pente, On discutc une fonne pos

strengths for some material..s along a shear surface


sible de 18 ClIl'll.ctt~,ristique pour les materiaux

may be usable, it is possible to have only residual


pulverulenls el on presente un cas coneret pour illustrer

shear strengths available for others for a slope


I'application des idees exprimi::es. La methode proposee

stability problem involving an embankment fill


n'introduil aucune nouvelle hypothese ill inconnues et

and its foundations. The level of uncertainty in


tolltes Ie:! Cquations de I'equilibre statique sont satis

faites.

the shear strengths of materials along a shear


surface may not necessarily be the same. Thu.s,
KEYWORDS: analysis; case history; dams; failure;

the assumption of identical factors of safety every


slopes; stability.

where along a shear surface is not realistic (see,


for example, Bishop, 1967, 1971; Chowdhury,
1978).
INTRODUCTION
The objectives of this Paper are
Slope stability analysis of embankment dams and
natural slopes in geotechnical engineering prac
(a) to present a procedure for calculating a vari
tice is usually performed by the rimit equilibrium
able factor of safety along a shear surface
method. In this method of analysis, sufficient
within the framework of the limit oquilibrium
assumptions are made to enable the problem to
method
be solved using only equations for static equi
(b) to present a possible fonn of characteristic for
There is no unique
librium and a failure
a variable factor of salety for frictional
set of assumptions
have usually been made.
materials
Thus, there are different solution procedures
(c) to present a geometric interpretation of the
available each subscribing to a different set of
constant and variable factor of safety assump
assumptions. The more modern of the solution
tion in slope stability analysis by tbe limit
equilibrium method,
Discussion on this Paper doses 011 1 July t986. For
A case study is included to illustrate the applica
further details see inside back cover,
US Department of !.he Interior, Denver,
tion of ideas presented.

57

58

CHUGH

CALCULATlONS FOR FACTOR OF SAFETY


The factor of
in a slope stability analysis
is defined by

F=

(see Fig. I for the meanings of the various


symbols).
The variation in side force indination in equa
tions (2) and (3) is defined as (Spencer, 1973)

Available shear strength along a shear surface


Driving shear stress along the shear surface

(1)
The available shear strength at a point in a soil
deposit depends on the shear strength parameters
(e', !p') of the soil and the induced effective normal
stress at that location. In the conventional slope
stability analysis procedures in which the slide
mass is divided into slices, equation (1) is applied
for each slice. Typically, the derivation of the
slope stability equations leads to the following
(Chugb, 1984). (The equations included here ~re
for the finite formulation of Morgenstern & Price
(1965) adapted to Spencer's (1967) procedure.
However, the ideas presented for a variable factor
of
can be adapted to any other procedure
based on the limit equilibrium method.)
For static equilibrium of forces acting on the
slice shown in Fig. l(b)

ZIi.=
x

(IjF) tan (61.. - a) tan ']

cos (01.. - a)[1

cos (Oil - a)[1 - (ljF) tan (b. - a) tan

(ljF)(W cos et - U) tan ']

x {cos (bR - 11)[1 - (I/F) tan (oJ! - IX) tan 1}-1


P cos (p - oc)[tan (jJ - oc) + OfF) tan ']
+ cos (OR a)[l - (IfF) tan (bll - et) tan ']
HI.. cos et[l

+ (I/F)

tan et tan ']

+ cos (8 R -IX)[l - (t/F) tan (Oil


COS

IX)

tan 4J']

H a cos a[l + (l/F> tan IX tan 4>']


(b R - a)[l - (l/F) tan (Oli. a) tan ']

(2)
For moment equilibrium of the forces acting on
the slice shown in Fig. t(b)

= ZL cos L hI

h
2

ZR cos

L'

+ ZL sin
Z1
p
C01.l

Za

+-

Za

(4)

where J(x) is a predefined characteristic shape


function and;' is a scalar factor to be determined.
This formulation for variable interslice force incli
nation does not increase the number of
unknowns (Spencer, 1967).
Equations (2) and (3) are recurring relations
and aJJow the boundary value problem to be
solved lI..S an initial value problem for an assumed
value of the factor of safety F, the side force incli
nations fJ and the known boundary conditions at
the left-hand side of the shear surface (Chugh,
1982): see Fig. 1.
The idea of incorporating a variable factor of
safety in a slope stability analysis follows very
closely the idea used for the variable interslice
force inclination in that a characteristic shape for
its variation along a shear surface is predefined
and the solution procedure is required to calcu
late a scalar factor which scales the characteristic.
Thus, for equation (1)

T g(x)

=
a slice base

shear stress along the

base

(5)
where T is the unknown scalar factor and g(x) is
the characteristic shape for the variation in factor
of safety along the slip surface. For g(x):= I,
equations (1) and (5) lead to T
F. The defini
tion of the variable factor of safety according to
equation (5) introduces only one unknown-the
same as for the constant factor of
assump
tion. The solution procedure for
T
from equation (5) is similar to the procedure
for calculating F from equation (1). The effect of
using eq uation (5) in the slope sta bility analysis is
to change the distribution of induced shear stress
and normal stress along a shear surface.

ha

+ -2b cos rt. 1cos CIa


. i.sIn

+-

IJ(x)

Availa ble shear

[(ljF);::'b sec a: - W sin a

tan fJ

OR -

a;

(b L - IX)]

fJ sec 01(h 3

tan

P-

sec 1)1(HLh. - H a h s)

e)

CHARACTERISTIC SHAPE FOR VAR.IABLE


FACTOR OF SAFETY
The shear stress distribution in materials along
a shear surface, for the constant factor of safety
assumption, depends on the normal stress dis
tribution and the values of the shear strength
parameters, i.e. induced shear stresses are higher
in materials with higher c', ' values-all else
being equal. Thus, if
at two points in two
different materials were the same, the present
analysis would indicate two different values of

a"

(3)

fACTOR OF SAFETY IN SLOPE STABILITY ANALYSIS

59

Groufld surface
Last slice

B
a

b d

Polential shea, surface


01 some geometric
configuration

(a)

/b)

Fig. 1. GeDal d8crlpdoo of the limit equilibrium lIIu1ysls of 11 soil


deposit: (I) dope !iUMliI:)' problem; (II) Corea I1cting 00 It lypical
!like

shear stress and their


would depend
materials. Intuon the values of c', ' for
itively though, it would be expected that the shear
stresses at these points would depend on the coef
ficient of lateral stress and inclination of the shear
surface at these locations. Ir these were nearly the
same, the induced shear stresses would be
expected to be about the same as well.
11 has been observed in the analysis results of
several problems that the normal stress distribu
tion along a shear surface is generally smooth;
the difference in normal stress distribution along
a shear surface is relatively smaU for different
interslice force inclination
shear
strength parameter values (or the soils in a
deposit and methods of analysis. However, the
induced shear stresses differ appreciably along the
shear surface. The results of deformation analysis
by the finite element method indicate that the
ratio of induced shear stress to induced effective
normal stress aJong a shear surface is reasonably
constant. This observation needs to be further
confirmed with additional studies,
If ('r/l1n '};ndoc'd were to be held constant for fric
tional materials along a shear surface, then it
could be used to define the characteristic shape
function g(x) in equation (5). The procedure then
consists of making a slope stability analysis for
g(x) ::::: 10 in equation (5), i,e. a constant factor

of safety assumption and a preselected inter


slice force indination assumption, and finding
((in', r)lnduced at the base of each slice. Now g(x) is
redefined as (r/O'.')I.do..d and the calculations are
repeated-all else being the same. The procedure
is repeated until (../cr.')lndueed is constant along the
shear surface. If the calculated value of the
induced shear stress is greater than the available
shear strength then only a shear stress equal to
the available shear strength need be used in cal
culating g(x). The numerical procedure is gener
ally able to achieve convergence in two or three
iterations. The value of T g(x) then defines the
factor of safety along the slip surface.

GEOMETRIC INTERPRETATION OF
FACfOR OF SAFETY

Constantfactor afsafety
Equation (1) is the commonly accepted defini
tion of tbe factor of safety in slope stability
analysis by the limit equilibrium method. By this
definition, the normal and shear stresses induced
along a shear surface are such that their plOl
maintains a constant proportion (equal to the
factor of safety value) to the
normal and shear stress strength plots at every
point along the shear surface. Thus, for the com
puted F > I the (0'.', ')Iftdead plots below the

60

CHUGH

c' -

elF

Ian ;;;; - (Ian ')/F

Mohr-COulomb strength
envelope

(~". r) dis!'tlulio'l
along Ihe shear surlace

IIF > 10
itF < I-a

---

--

Normar slress ".'


(al

4000

j nduced stresses lor


conSlant faclor of safety
8i1urcaliOJ'l point 10'
bilinea, strenglh envelope

t: 3000
~

r;
;U

Induced sI'eSS6S for


variable lacror of salely

2001
1000 ~

2000

4000

6000

eeoo

10000

Normal st,ess "n'


(b)

FIg. Z. Geomelri<: iOlerpreutioo of the flctor


fllCfor of gfery

or ~fety;

(II.', ')'''0.1'1> data; for computed F < I the


(a;. r};nduecd plots above the (an', r)ll.o.aU> data;
for computed F = I the (11;, r)ind~ced plots on the
(11.', ')"''''''''11 data (Fig. 2(a).
Although F < I is routinely calculated in slope
stability analysis of earth slopes for assigned
values of material strengths and pore pressure
conditions, the calculated (0,', t)iJ><lucocl values are
not acceptable as these stresses pLot in a non
admissible stress space according to the theory of
plasticity. The most shear stress that can be sus
tained by a frictional material is equal to its shear
strength for the corresponding induced normal
stress. Thus, an analysis procedure should not
calculate F to be less than unily. with F = I being
interpreted as a failure condition.

(a) COO5taol rl~fOl' of safety; (b) ~ari.bIe

Variablefactor ofsafety
Equation (5) is proposed to define a variable
factor of safety along a slip surface. According to
this definition a distribution of induced normal
and shear stresses is sought along a slip surface
that plots as a single continuous curve in the
(a;. r) plane (see Fig. 2(b)). The F value at any
point along the slip surface is still defined as the
ratio of available shear strength to the driving
shear stress at that
Since (a.', ')Iodud
values fallon one curve and there may be several
strength curves, one for each materia! along the
shear surface, the ratio of mobilized shear
strength to shear stress induced is different, and
hence the factor of safety along the shear surface
is varying.

Maleflal proper'-Ie S
Malerial

Unit weight:
Ib/ll>

CD

lblm~

</>' deg

135

20

134
130
130
140

0
0
0
0

25

125

12

125

075

17

Q>

8erm constructed in respoflsa


to movement along shear
slJr1ace uode' study

c'.

15

35
40

Shea. Siress distribution (0'


variable 'act()r 01 safety

i::' 500
.2

00
~

400

'"

300L-_ _

-',
/
/
_'i-!I-~=.....j..._----"")
,
(d)

of

g(,lcllor constant laclor 01 salelV

[----r----,1
T - F - 1926

t
Y

.2 2.0

g(xl lor variable laClor 01 salely


~

"

0::

~ '0

T :-5~0~C-d

!"
U5

a " _ x o t 67-fc.=--==-=-=-=-='====""'-~-!:!-=-~-!:!~==:::l

fbi
LL

'"'"
.,' 20
'"'"
e

Elfeclive normal slress at


base al shear suriace
_ _:::-<:'f"--.J'-----.L,

u; 10

F'arewalar pressure

0;

0
z

(el

Essenlially same distribution for constant


variable lactor of safely

81'\cl

n::L
y

n)

200

4 0

600

800

1000

PfOjecled distance along snear sur1ace: It


(e)

1200

J----l-----,--m-- n

200

400

~'_..ll

600
800
1000
F'rojeC1ed distance along sMar sunace: h

(0

1200

..... }(

Malerial properl'es
Material

Unit weight:

Ib/lt!

<D

(2)
@
@)
y

600~

Berm constructed in response

to movement along shear


surtllce under study

(!)

c" 10/il12

': deg
.......

0
0

20
25

135
134
130
130
140

()

125
\25

0'75

()

U)

><:

.~

.~.!! 400 [

-""!I!i~;;~~ii.;;~~~~~;'-'""i

'"

'"
~
;U

I.LJ

300

15

35
4D

l.L

raWdown conditiol1

::: 500
C

0
(}

'"

<=

rn

(a)

12
17
Shear suess dislnbulio" lor
vanable laClor 01 safely
Shear stress distribution 101

'~1

,
" .I

~
/

10

'"

~ ...

, ~--~

(d)

r
g(x) lor constant laclor 01 safely

7 _ F _ 1.545

-a

9(xl tor variable faclor 01 salely

[ - ---1----- -;- 3~;3Y


Ibl

~c 2.D}.

.'"'" 0 - "
~

fj,

10

..._.,c

"" --

(e)

Essenfially same dislr'buhon for constant and


variable (aclor or salery
Elle<:live normal stress al

base 01 shear surlace

Porewaler pressure

~2"'O!-:0'---~-4"'0'-::O'---~----::670"'O
------::8~OO,,-----:1-;::O~OO::-"'-.......,.1-:!20"'D=---x
Projecled d,slance along shear surliieEl: II

Ie)

Fig. 4. s.mple problem (reJefYolr .... ler elenriOQ, <480 fl)

-x

FACfOR OF SAFETY IN SLOPE STABILITY ANALYSIS

CASE STUDY

Figure 3(a) shows a part of an embankment


dam cross-section and its foundation zones. The
shear strength properties of differen t materials in
the embankment and its foundations are shown
in the table included in the figure. There was a
slip failure at this site. As a result, the upstream
berm was constructed and the facility put back: to
use.
Recently, during the reservoir drawdown, inter
nal sliding at the old slip surface has been
detected by the instrumentation; some cracking
at the crest of the dam has occurred, but there
has not been a gross movement of the embank
ment materials or a noticeable change in the
embankment geometry. Thus, the problem needs
to be analysed to seek answers to questions like
(a) is there a failure?
(b) where is the failure localized?
(c) how safe is the upstream portion of the darn?
(d) can the reservoir be filled without any major
rehabilitation work?

The shear surface geometry and the pore pressure


data for use in this
are shown in Fig. 3.
The slope stability analyses were performed
using the computer program SST A82 (Chugh,
1981). This computer program is based on the
limit equilibrium method; it satisfies all the statics
equations; it provides for use of a constant or a
variable interslice force inclination and a constant
or a variable factor of safety aloog the slip surface
according to the ideas presented in this Paper.
The conventional slope stability analysis of the
sample problem, using constant interslice force
inclination and constant factor of
assump
tions, yields F = 1-93 for high level steady state
reservoir operation and F = 155 for the
reservoir drawdown. The normal stress, the shear
stress and the ratio of shear stress to effective
normal stress aJong the shear surface, as obtained
through these calculations, are shown in Figs
3(c)-3(e) and 4(c)-4{e) for the high level steady
state reservoir operation and reservoir drawdown
conditions respectively, It is not possible to draw
any inference of actual or impending distress
along the shear surface from these results of con
ventional slope stability calculations.
A similar slope stability analysis of the sample
problem using the variable factor of safety ideas
presented in this Paper, all else being the same,
give the stress distributions shown superimposed
on their counterpart results for the constant F
assumption. There is no appreciable difference in
the normal stress distribution, but the shear stress
distribution is much improved and more as
would be expcxted considering the shear surface
geometry. i.e. peak shear stress occurs where the

63

shear surface geometry has the sharpest change in


direction. The computed factors of safety along
the shear surface are shown in Figs 3(1) and 4(1)
for the conditions analysed. The computed factor
of safety in the 12 material for the drawdown
condition is (01, It is higher in other materials.
The shear surface under the berm has a factor of
safety of 333. For this sample problem, the
results indicate that the local shear failure should
occur in the 12 material. Once this happens,
movement should occur in the lr material which
will cause tensile stresses in the materials above
the back rest portion of the shear surface. Thus,
the tension cracks at the crest of the dam are a
consequence of internal failure in the 12 material
and define the extent of the active wedge. Since
the factor of safety along the shear surface under
the berm area is substantially higher than 1,0,
gross movement along tbe shear surface could
not have occurred. Filling of the reservoir,
without any repair work, should only improve
the stability of the embankment because of the
bUllressing effect of the water.
CONCLUSIONS

The use of a variable factor of safety in slope


stability analysis of problems of practical impor
tance is generally of considerable interest in
seeking answers to questions that influence design
decisions. The proposed procedure provides a
means to calculate variations in the factor of
safety along a shear surface within the framework
of the limit equilibrium method. The choice of the
characteristic function g{x) defining the relative
safety factor along a shear surface is a dimcult
issue and needs further study_ The proposed pro
cedure of making g(x) equal to the ratio of shear
stress to effective normal stress for purely fric
tional materials is reasonable. The resulting shear
stress distribution along the shear surface is gen
erally smooth and more likely to occur in nature
than that implied by the constant factor of safety
assumption.

REFERENCES
Bishop, A. W. (1967). Progressive failure-with special
reference to the mechanism causing it. Proc. Geo
technical COil! Oslo 2, ! 42-154.
Bishop, A. W. (t 971). The. influence of progressive
failure on Ihe choic~ of the method of stability
analysis. Geotechllique 21, No. 2, 168-172.
Chowdhury, R. N. (1978). Slope analysis. New York:

Elsevier.
Chugl!, A. K. (1981). User irifOr/1Ullion manual for slope
~rabilily arla/ysi, program SST A 82. D<::nver: Engin

elering and Research Center, US Bureau of Recla


mation.
Chugh, A. K. (1982) Slope stability a.naJysis for earth
quakes lnl. J. Nutria. Analyl. Merh. Geomech. 6,

No.3,307-322.

64

CHUGH

Chugh. A. K. (1984), Var;aoJe imer,lice jorce ;ndill(}lion


in -,lope stabi/iry analysis. Internal Report, Engineer
ing and Research Center. Bureau of Reclamation,
Denver.
Janbu, 1'1, 11973). Soil stability computations, In
Embankment darn engineering, Casagrande volume,
pp, 47-87 (eds R, C. Hirschfeld and S, J. POlllos).
New York: Wiley,
Morgenstern, N. R. & Price, V, E. (1965), The analysis.

of the stability of general slip surfaces. Geotechnique


15, No. I, 79-93.
Sarma, S. K. (1973). Stability analysis of embankments
and slopes. Geolechniqul! 23, No, 3, 423-433,
Spencer, E, (I967). A method of analysis of the stability
of embankments assuming parallel interslice forces.
Geocechnique 17, No. I, 1 J-26,
Spencer, E. (1973), Thrust line criterion in embankment
stability analysis. Geotechnique 23, No. 1,85-100,

Appendix D
Part 4

On the Boundary Conditions in Slope Stability Analysis


by Ashok K. Chugh

This article was published in International Journal for Numerical and Analytical
Methods in Geomechanics, Volume 27, pp. 905-926, 2003.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR NUMERICAL AND ANALYTICAL METHODS IN GEOMECHANICS


Int. J. Numer. Anal. Meth. Geomech., 2003; 27:905-926 (001: J 0.1002jnag.305)

On the boundary conditions in slope stability analysis


Ashok K. Chugh*,t
u.s.

Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, Colorado 80225, U.S.A.

SUMMARY
Boundary conditions can affect computed factor of safety results in two- and three-dimensional stability
analyses of slopes. Commonly used boundary conditions in two- and three-dimensional slope stability
analyses via limit-equilibrium and continuum-mechanics based solution procedures are described. A
sample problem is included to illustrate the importance of boundary conditions in slope stability analyses.
The sample problem is solved using two- and three-dimensional numerical models commonly used in
engineering practice. Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
KEY WORDS:

boundary conditions; slope stability; two- and three-dimensional analysis

J. lNTRODUCTlON
Slope stability problems in geomechanics are boundary value problems and boundary
conditions play an important role in the development of internal stresses in the medium and
hence influence the calculated factor of safety (FoS). Some slope problems can be analysed
adequately via two-dimensional (2-D) numerical models, while others require a three
dimensional (3-D) model for a correct assessment of the slope performance. Use of appropriate
boundary conditions is important in both 2-D and 3-D analyses.
In geotechnical engineering practice, slope stability analysis is generally performed using 2-D
and 3-D computer programs based on limit equilibrium method. 2-D analyses are more
common than 3-D analyses, and the 2-D FoS results are generally considered to be conservative.
Geotechnical literature is rich in limit-equilibrium-based 2-D analysis papers; however, 3-D
analysis papers are relatively few [J-3]. References included in this paper are representative and
not a complete list of works on the subject. Duncan [4] gives a current state-of-the-art in slope
stability analysis and includes an extensive list of references on the subject.
Arellano and Stark [3] used a commercially available limit-equilibrium-based computer
program CLARA [5] to show that for a translational shear surface of sliding in 3-D introduction
of shear resistance along the two sides of the slide mass that parallel the direction of movement
can cause significant difference in the computed FoS values. Arellano and Stark [3] introduced
approximations to include the shear resistance along the two sides of the slide mass to overcome
some of the limitations with CLARA, and suggested use of a continuum-mechanics-based
analysis procedure which provide an effective alternative means to solve slope stability problems
in 2-D and 3-D [6-8].
*Correspondence to: A. K. Chugh,
t E-mail: achugh@do.usbr.gov

Copyright

2003 John Wiley

u.s.

Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, Colorado 80225, U.S.A.

& Sons, Ltd.

Received 25 October 2002


Revised 10 March 2003

906

A. K. CHUGH

The objectives of this paper are to describe: (1) boundary conditions implicit in the limit
equilibrium-based 2-D and 3-D solution procedures and (2) boundary conditions commonly
used in continuum-mechanics-based 2-D and 3-D solution procedures. The significance of
boundary conditions on the computed FoS is illustrated using one of the parametric slope model
cases from Arellano and Stark [3] and solving it using commercially available continuum
mechanics-based explicit finite difference computer programs FLA C [9] and FLAC3D [10] in
2-D and 3-D, respectively. The work reported was carried out as a sequel to Arellano and
Stark [3].
It should be noted that the two methods of slope stability analysis referred to in this paper
are: (J) the limit equilibrium method and (2) the continuum mechanics method. Within the limit
equilibrium method, there are several procedures, e.g. Bishop, Janbu, Morgenstern-Price,
Spencer among others (each makes different assumptions to render the problem statically
determinate). Within the continuum mechanics method, finite difference, finite element, and
boundary element are different procedures (each uses a different solution strategy).
For ease of presentation, the nomenclature shown in Figure 1 is used in this paper. A slope is
considered to lie in the xz plane and the width of the slope is in the y-direction. Displacements
are expressed using the symbols u, v, w for the x, y and z faces, respectively. Stresses are
expressed using the stress symbols shown in Figure 1. According to this convention, tension is
positive, compression is negative, and the shear stresses shown in Figure 1 are positive.

2. CONCEPTUAL MODELS AND BOUNDARY CONDIT10NS


The conceptual model of a slope stability problem is different in the limit-equilibrium and
continuum-mechanics methods. Boundary conditions need to be consistent with the conceptual
model. Also, emphasis on prescribing boundary conditions is different in the two methods.
Therefore, the conceptual model, model size, and boundary conditions for each method are
descri bed separatel y.

2.1. Limit-equilibrium-based conceptual slope model


Figure 2 shows a schematic of a slope model in both 2-D and 3-D. ln 2-D, the model of failure
usually envisaged consists of a train of vertical blocks resting on a curved slip surface. These
blocks are attached to each other and to the slip surface with a rigid-plastic glue which conforms
to the Terzaghi-Coulomb shear strength criterion. The blocks themselves are considered to be
rigid and their properties are not related to those of soil. It is in the nature of this model that no
deflection occurs prior to failure and that when failure does take place all the blocks begin to
slide slowly downwards together-without accelerating. Strictly, the model is applicable only if
the radius of curvature of the slip surface is constant; variation in the radius would produce
distortion in the blocks which are assumed to be rigid [11,12]. However, this limitation is
commonly disregarded. ln 3-D, the 2-D conceptual model extends in the y-direction to the
natural boundaries such as end-walls of the slide mass or abutments, and the 2-D vertical blocks
become 3-D columns.

2.1.1. Model size and boundary conditions. ln limit-equilibrium-based 2-D and 3-D solution
procedures, the size of the model needs to cover the slide mass including the shear surface but
Copyright

2003 .fohn Wiley

& Sons, Ltd.

Inl. 1. Numer. Anal. Melh. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

BOUNDARY CONDITIONS IN SLOPE STABILITY ANALYSIS

907

Uzz

7:'zx

/yy

7:'xz

U yy

7:'xz
X

7:'zx
Uzz
2 - dimensional

(a)

Uzz

l:y
x

3 - dimensional

(b)

Fignre 1. Description of state of stress on an element of soil (stresses shown are positive).

any extension of the model past this requirement is only for the user's reference and
convenience. Also, boundary conditions are built into the solution procedure, and the user is not
required to specify them explicitly in a data file. The boundary conditions implicit in 2-D and
3-D solution procedures are as described below.

2.1.2. 2-D model boundary conditions. Figure 2(a) shows a sketch of a 2-D slope of a unit width
in the y-direction and the slide mass divided into vertical slices. The boundary conditions apply
at the head and at the toe of the slip surface, and at the two faces of the slope in the y-direction.
Copyright

2003 .fohn Wiley

& Sons, Ltd.

Inl. 1. Numer. Anal. Melh. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

908

A. K. CHUGH

Forces acting on a typical slice

(a)

2 dimensional

z~

Direclion oj slide

movement

tu

Typical 'I - 'Z section

(b)

Forces aCling on 8 typical column


3 - dimensional

Figure 2. Limit-equilibrium based slope models and boundary couditions.

The applicable boundary conditions are:


(a) Applied force ZL and its location hI at the toe of the slip surface.
(b) Applied force Zn. and its location h2 at the head of the slip surface. In the case of a tension
crack with water, ZR is the force exerted by the water in the tension crack, and h2 is the
loca[ioo of [he waler force. If [here is 00 water in the ten~ioD crack, Zn and h2 are zero, aDd
the bottom of the tension crack becomes the end of the shear surface. The water force acts
horizontally.
(c) Plane strain in the y-direction. This implies the out-of-plane displacement, v, and shear
stresses, r y.>: and r yz, on the y-faces are zero. However, the normal stress, (J yy, on the y-faces
is D()t zero. Since equilibrium of forces and moments in the xz plane j~ ()f interest, this ()u{
of-plane force is not considered in the equilibrium equations-however, it is presenl.

2.1.3. 3-D model boundary conditions. Figure 2(b) shows a sketch of a 3-D slope and the slide
mass divided into vertical coJL.l1nn~. The boundary conditions (a) and (b) of the 2-D case are
Copyright

2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

1m. J. Numer. ,4]1(1.1. Melh. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

BOUNDARY CONDITIONS IN SLOPE STABILITY ANALYSIS

909

extended in the y-direction and the boundary condition (c) of the 2-D case is applied to the end
boundaries in the y-direction. However, in order to include the shear resistance along the
parallel sides of the slide mass, Arellano and Stark [3] added an external horizontal and vertical
side force equivalen t to the shear resistance due to the at-rest earth pressure acting on the
vertical sides at the centroid of the two parallel sides in calculating 3-D FoS results using the
computer program CLARA [5].
One of the objectives of this paper is to study the effects of different boundary conditions at
the slope-abutment contact on the computed FoS using a continuum-mechanics-based 3-D
analysis procedure.

2.2. Continuum-mechanics-based conceptual slope model


Figure 3 shows schematics of a slope model in 2-D and 3-D. The conceptual model of failure in
2-D and 3-D is a deformable, bounded material body with Terzaghi-Coulomb yield strength.
Under the action of gravity and externally applied loads, the material body deforms causing

Likely region of slope failure

---, r -

.'

x - face ..--"

l,x _face

z-face /

(a)

2 - dimensional

-
.-.. ---

y - face

1----1I-x- face

---

I----

--

f,.---

,.

-.. -r-:_
I"\.

<-

---1

~
~

Likely region of
slope failure

z
x

y - face

'--z- face

(b)

3 - dimensional
Material horizon lines
Grid discretization
Displacement boundary conditions apply at the

X-,

yo, and z- faces

Figure 3. Continuum based slope models and boundary conditions.


Copyright

2003 .fohn Wiley

& Sons, Ltd.

Inl. 1. Numer. Anal. Melh. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

910

A. K. CHUGH

relative deformations that produce strains and stresses in the material body. If stresses at a
location in the material body exceed the Terzaghi-Coulomb yield strength, the excess of stresses
i~ ~hared by the neighbouring under-stressed locations. When stresses at a sufficient number of
locations reach their yield strength, a mechanism is formed along which continuous movement
or sliding occur~. Thu~, in a continuum model, a shear surface develops as a part of the solution,
(lnd is always the one with the lowest FoS. The deformational behaviour of the bounded mass is
controlled by the geometry of the medium, deformational properties of the materials, gravity
and external loads, and boundary conditions. The FoS is determined using a strength redoction
technique (13) in which the slope problem is solved repeatedly using reduced soil shear strength
values until the numerical model becomes unstable (indicating slope failure), and the resulting
FoS is the r(ltio of the soil's initial shear strength to the reduced shear strength at failure.

2.2.]. Model size and boundary conditions. For a continuum-mechanic~-based solution to be


meaningful, the slope model needs to extend P(lst the location where slope failure is likely to
occur. Also, all of the exterior of the slope model constitutes its boundary and boundary
conditioos need to be expressed io tenns of applied forces or displacemeots in the input data. It
should be mentioned that at anyone location on the body, either a displacement or a stress
condition can be prescribed, but not both. In continuum-mechanics-based solurion procedureI',
it is common to set every point free to displace and free of all stresses, and the user defines rhe
non-zero stress and/or restrained displacement boundary conditions via input dara. A
displacement rel\traint is either nil (completely free) or full (completely fixed)-partial restraintl\
are generally not allowed.
2.2.2. 2-D model boundary conditions. Figure 3(a) shows a sketch of a continuum model of a
slope with a unit width in the y-direction and the material body divided into a grid. Every node
in the grid including the boundaries has two degree~ of freedom, i.e. displacements u and win
the x- and z-directioos, respectively. The commooly used boundary conditions are:
(a) No displacement in the x-direction at the ends of the slope model (u = 0 at x = 0 and at
x = L). These boundaries are placed far enoogh from the region where slope failore i~ likely
to occur.
(b) No displacement at the base of the slope model (u = w = 0 at z = 0). This boundary is
placed far enough from the region where slope failure is likely to occur.
(c) Plane strain in the y-direction. This implies the out-of-plane displacement, v, and shear
stressel\, '( >" and '()'Z, on the y-faces are zero. However> the normal I\tress, (J yy, on the y-facel\
is not zero.

2.2.3. 3-D model boundary condifions. Figure 3(b) shows a sketch of a continuum model of a
slope in 3-D and the material body divided into a grid. Every node in the grid including the
boundaries has three degrees of freedom, i.e. displacemenr u, v, and w in the x-, y-, and z
directions, respectively; and a user can constrain any or all components of displacement at any
location in the model including the boundaries. The commonly used boundary condition~ are:
(a) No out-of-plane displacement in the x-direction at rhe model ends (u = 0 on the end yz
planes in the x-direction). These boundaries are placed far enough from the region where
I\lope failure is likely to occur.
Copyright

2003 John Wiley

& Sons, Ll.d.

till. J. Numel'. Allo/. Me/h. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

BOUNDARY CONDITIONS IN SLOPE STABILITY ANALYSIS

911

(b) No displacement at the base of the slope model (u = v = w = 0 for the xy plane at z = 0).
This boundary is placed far enough from the region where slope failure is likely to occur.
(c) Displacement constraints in the y-direction at the model ends (v = 0 or u = v = IV = 0 for
the xz planes at y = 0 and y = Ware the commonly prescribed conditions). The
di~placement v = 0 boundary condition i~ u~ed to represent a contact with a rigid, smooth
abutment chat can provide a reacting thrust but no in-plane shear restraint. The
displacement boundary condition u = v = HI = 0 is used to represent a rigid concact with
no po~sibility of movement.

2.3. Appropriate 3-D model and boundary conditions


The option of explicitly specifying boundary conditions is available in continuum-mechanic~
based solution procedures. Selection of appropriate boundary conditions for a slope problem
should be derived from the field conditioos being analysed. For example, the boundary
conditions at che y-faces for ala boratory model of a slope builc in a wooden concainer with glass
walls are different than the boundary conditions at the y-faces for a slope with rock or soil
abutments commonly encountered in the field.
The boundary conditions described for the x- and z-directions of a 3-D model are appropriate
so long as the boundaries are placed far enough away from the region where slope failure is
likely to occur. The following recommendations are suggested for establishing the boundary
conditioos in the y-directioo of a 3-D model:

(I) Exteod the 3-D cootinuum model past the ends of the slope to include the presence of
abutments.
(2) Place the model boundary conditions at the ends of the exteoded continuum model.
(3) Introduce interfaces between the slope and the abutmeots to allow for relative movements
at the slope-abutment contact.
(4) Use the displacement condition of u = 0, v = 0, and HI = 0 at the extended model
boundarie~.

3. SAMPLE PROBLEM
Figure 4 shows the parametric slope model of AreJlano and Stark (3). Arellano and Stark [3)
used three slope inclinations (If!: 1V; 3H: 1 V; and 5H: 1V); for each slope inclination, seven
width (W) to height (N) ratios (W Iff = 1, ] .5,2,4,6,8, and ]0); and for each pair of the slope
inclination and WIH ratio, four combinations of !.f>lJPperlf.{Jlower values (f.{JlJPperlf.{Jlowel' = 1,1.5,3,
and 3.75). The 5H: 1V slope was selected to illustrate the effects of boundary condition~ on
computed factor of safety results for the four combinations of <Pupperl <Plower values. The friction
angle of the upper material was 30, and the friction aogle for the lower material was assigned
va lue~ of 8, 10", 20 and 30". Values of WIH = 1, 2, 5, and 10 were con~idered.
For WI H less than 5 or 10, a 2-D plane strain analysis is not considered appropriate because
of the close proximity of the end abutments, and thus cannot provide a reasonable estimate of
the FoS for the slope. For these conditions, a 3-D analysis should be used. However, for
illustration purposes, 2-D and 3-D analyses were performed using the continuum-mechanics
based explicit fini te difference computer programs FLA C [9] and FLA C3D [1 OJ, respectively. For
Copyright

2003 John Wiley

& Sons, Ll.d.

fill. J. Numel'. Allo/. Me/h. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

912

A. K. CHUGH

Shear Resisti'lI"lCII Along


the Scarp

//////

~DirecjiOn

L Shear Rasistance
Along Verlical Side /

LVertical

Si e
3D View of Slope Model

!
l

y~

..L

-.J

w-------1

A' , - :

Plilllview

Cross-section AA'

Figure 4. Sample problem showing details of tlle parametric slope model used by Arellano and Stark [3J
(reproduced by pel11lission of the publisher, ASCE).

comparison purposes, the problem was also solved using a limit-equilibrium-based 2-D analysis
procedure SSTA B2 [14] which implements Spencer's procedure [15J. The material properties
that were used to perfonn the FLAC, FLAC3D, and SSTAB2 analyses are shown in Table 1. In
all of these analyses, the following slope geometry parameters were used: height (H) = 10 m.
length (L) = 58.8 m and width (W) = 1001. In the continuum models of the sample problem, the
geometric space covered is 176.4 m (3 times the slope length L) in the x--direction, 20 m (2 times
the slope height H) in the z--direction, and 10 m (l time the slope width W) or 22 m (slope width
W plus two 6-m wide end blocks for abutments) in the y-direction. For W IH = 2, 5, and 10, the
continuum model included two 6-m wide end blocks for abutments and the model width in the
y-direction was 32, 62, and 112 m, respectively.
3. J. ArellanD and SlIlrk resulrs

The 2-D and 3-D values oC FoS calculated using CLARA without applying the Arellano and
Stark [3) modification are shown in Table II. Also included in Table II are the 3-D values of FoS
calculated using CLARA with the Arellano and Stark [3) modification [or W IH = I, 2, 5,
Copyrigh.t

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2003 Joh.n Wiley & Sons. Lid.

Inl.

J. ,1I,'lImel'. A 1111/. Me/h. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

913

BOUNDARY CONDITIONS IN SLOPE STABILITY ANALYSIS

Table 1. Material properties for stability analyses of the sample Problem.


Material

Density
p

Upper material
Lower matelial
Bottom block
End blocks
Illterface
Unil \Vc:igh!

)1

Material strength

(kgJm 3)

Elastic constants

c (Pa)

<p (0)

Bulk modulus (Pa)

Shear modulus (Pa)

0
0
0
50
0

30
8; 10; 20; 30
40
45
30

3e7
3e6
3e8
3e9
Normal stiffness (Palm)
le7

1e7
le6
le8
1e9
Sbear stiffness (Palm)
1e6

1733
1835
1836
2500
N/A

= Densily x 9.81; N/A-not applicable:.

(Njm J )

Table II. FoS reslllts" for the sample problem from Arellaoo and Stark (31.
Arellano and Stark (3] modification of CLARA

CLARA

<Plow malerial

2-D

3-D

3D

WJH=
8
10
20
30

0.90
1.00
1.70
2.50

0.90
1.00
1.70
2.50

2.85
3.18
4.80
6.58

WJH=2

WJH= 5

1045
1.63
2.58
3.58

1.05
1.23
2.00
2.85

WJH= 10
1.00
1.13
1.82
2.57

*Tbe FoS values given are scaled from (be graphical presentation of resullS in Arellano and Stark: (3).

<lnd 10. The FoS values were sC<lled from [he graphical presen[<ltion of results in Arellano and
Stark [3].

3.2. SSTAB2 results


The FoS and interslice force ioclination, (5, results from SSTAB2 for the four valueI' of c,olower are
given in Table Ill. The shear surfaces used in the SSTAB2 analyses were [he same as those used
by Arellano and Stark [3J.

3.3. FLAC results


Figure S f;hows the FLAC 2-D model of the f;lope with end extemions in the x- and z-directions,
the W<lter table, and the boundary conditions used. The FoS results for the four C<lses analysed,
i.e. four values of c,olower> are shown in Table III. The FLAC values of PoS are in general
agreement with those from SSTAB2 and CLARA 2-D (Table IT). Figure 6 shows contour plots
of maximum shear strain rate and the velocity vectors at the instant of numerical instability for
each of the values of c,olower analysed. The maximum shear straio rate and velocity vector plots
are helpful in identifying the location and shape of failure surface. However, in Figure 6, the
shear strain rate plots are hidden from view because of the superimposed velocity vector plots;
the location and geometry of the associated f;hear surface for each case is takeD to be along (he
Copyrighl 2003 John Wiley & Sons, LL.d.

fill. J. Nume,.. Allo/. Melh. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

914

A. K. CHUGH

Table III. FLAC (Figure 5) and SSTAB2 FoS results for the sample problem.

FLAC 2-D

SSTAB22-D
FoS

0.85

0.78
0.93

l.0]
l.64
2.22

12.55

1.62

12.69
13.02

2.37

!3. !3

Table IV. FLACJD model No.1 (Figure 7) FoS results for the following boundary conditions (W /H

I).

ound:ny cOllstraint(s) used at the y-faces of the oumerical model

Fix y

Fix x, y

Fix x,y,z

0.89

1.04

1.42
1.57

IAI
1.57

1.71
2.32

2.26

2.26

2.82

2.82

50

Material group
bottom
lower

30

Water Table

upper

J:

1:

.Q>
4l

J:

10

10

so

10

70

00

110

130

150

170

Modellenglh (m)

Figure 5. FLAC model for the sample problem.

path where the velocity vectors essentially vanish as it marks the boundary between stable and
unstable portions of the deposit.

3.4. FLAC3D model No. J resulls


In this model, the width W is 10 m in the y-direction. Figure 7 shows the FLAC3D model of the
slope with end extensions in the xz plane, the water surface, the viewing information, and the
boundary conditions used. For each of the values of If!lowe,, three sets of analyses were conducted
[or W / H = I using the boundary conditions of v = 0 (fix y); u = v = 0 (fix x, y); and u = L' =
W = 0 (fix x, y, z) at the ends of the slope in the y-direction. Application of each of these
y-direction boundary conditions represents a particular condition: (a) the v = 0 (fix y) boundary
Copyrigh.t

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2003 .loh.n Wiley & Sons, Lid.

Inl.

J. ,1I,'lImel'. ,11111/. Me/h. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

()
0

~ lower

.",

':Si

';;'
~

'"w
0

0r

50

Veloc,ly veClolS

70

IS01;;--06

50

2.0llE-Qe
2,5ol;-oo
2.00<::-00

Max Vecto .::. 2...r~ 17"E-OG

'<

5.00E-07
1.00E-Oo

0,0 1207
a,ooE-07
1,001,,:-06

'

.o:;~rarn-r..;ltl~

0.00E~00

d,OO" OT

70

=10"

Max sl'.e[lol[

90

2.0 (;: OJ

='

4> lower

O,OOelOO

la~
Co

=e"

Max, S e1l{ slml/;"l-[:J:i8

90

VelO<'Oy vecto .

30

30

10

10

Max V(:eO~or := 7

B5~)E"{:S

fi;o

""='0

c:

;.

::c

-<

1"
r'

'"0

()

-10
10

30

50

70

FoS

(a>

110

00

130

150

170

=0.85

10

30

50

70

FoS

(b>

90

110

130

150

170

0
Z

=i

= 1.01

1/J

lower

Ma~

90

70
50

:t

"~
~

:i

M~K

.Gfleiflr strein-mla

1/J

shear 'fj'Ha1nrelE

o OOEtOO

3.C0EOS
'C0E S

70

5.00E-oS
G ooE-os
700EOS

50

2.50E-07
5.00E-07
7 SOE'OJ
100EOO
' 25E06
1.501006

tT1

1/J

-l

;.

CD

=i

-<

I 7SE-oe

;.
Z

2.25E06

Ve .. c:il\! VGctoiS
Max Vector -:- 1 ~2~O.1

30

;.

Valoc,ly veelc",

Ma>; V<lC1 or,S 880&06

-<

1/J

Vi

10

10

"'0

2.COE-06

eooE--os
30

=30"

90

1.00E--os
2-00E-os

::".

'I> lower

o ooE...oo

=20

"::=,.,

'"

10

0
~

....
'"

'6

(e>

30

SO

70

FoS

90

110

= 1.64

130

150

170

10

30

50

(d)

70

FoS

90

110

130

150

170

=2.22

,~

""

!-'
0

Fignre 6. FLAC model rcsults for thc four valucs of {flo,",'."

'-0
.....
V,

916

A. K. CHUGH

Male/ial Group

bottom

!ower
upper

Water Surface
Rotation:
X: jO.OOO
Y: 0.000
2:300.000
Mag.:
1
Ans-: 22.500

Bou ndary condition varied


on thili y-face

Fix.on

this .face
(u = 0)

Fi on
Ihis .-Iace
(ll

Figure 7. FLAC3D model No.

for the sample problem (W /H

= 0)

I).

condition is similar to the implicit boundary condition in CLARA 3D; (b) the u = v = 0 (fix x, y)
boundary condition should model the conditions imposed by the modification proposed by
Arellano and Stark [3] to include side shear resistance; and (c) the u = v = IV = 0 (fix x, y, z)
boundary condition is used commonly in practice. The FoS values for each of the assigned
boundary conditions in the y-direction for the four values of ~~Io\\'cr are shown in Table IV.
FLAC3D model No. 1 results are compared with Arellano and Stark [3] values of FoS
(Table II).
For the fixed J' boundary conditions, FLAC3D FoS values (Table lV) are similar to those
from CLARA 3D shown in Table II. For the fixed x, y boundary conditions, FLAC3D FoS
values differ from those of Arellano and Stark [3] 3-D shown in Table JI for W jH = 1. For the
fixed x, y,z boundary conditions, FLAC3D FoS values are similar to the FLAC3D values for the
fixed x, y boundary conditions shown in Table IV. However, this does not mean that the two
sets of boundary conditions (fixed x, y and fixed x, y, z) are the same or that they will always lead
to the same results.
Figure 8 shows contour plots of maximum shear strain rate and the velocity vectors at the
instant of numerical instability for each of the values of 010wcr and the three boundary

Fig.me 8. FLAC3D model No. I results for the sample problem with IV jH = I and the boundary
condition of l' = 0 (fix y) in Ihe y-direction: (a) FoS = 0.89, (b) FoS = 1.04, (c) FoS = 1.71 and (d)
FoS = 2.32. FLAC3D model No. j results for the sample problem with W /H = I and the boundary
condition of 11= lJ = 0 (fix .1:, y) in the y-direction: (e) FoS = ] .42, (I) FoS = 1.57, (g) FoS = 2.26 and (h)
FoS = 2.82. FLAC3D model No. I results for the sample problem with W/H = I ~nd the boundary
condition of II = /' = W = 0 (fix x, Y,:) in the y-direction: (i) FoS = 1.41, (j) FoS = 1.57, (k) FoS = 2.26 and
(l) FoS = 2.82.
Copyrigh.t

lS>

2003 Joh.n Wiley & Sons. Lid.

Inl.

J. ,1I,'lImel'. A 1111/. Me/h. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

(')

"

"=
':S.

\0;

eo- Of Sbcv Slnil> ~


~ - O.QCl)o-ID
~ 0IlI:wI0WI
6.Ol-.o'~lO s.~
O.~""._
t.~1II

"cr

~~IO~~
2.~I02.~

-.

'<
~

''-11>'_
',_'11>'

I~II>'~

'._III~-

2 . _ 1 0 UI-.ooI_-~Velocity

.. 1oro

1.'ti67004"" .~

4.l1OOQo.4ll'1I> 0 _
6~~"
e.tclCIloOCl,
.. 6,00000_
,_

'._-000

1._"".

"'~ClIlI,j
.fIaG

1.~1O',~

'''>

Con,_ of Shear S,",o ibID

ll.OOOo oQOO

7._111'._

l::
0

"_""A7~_

111l_~

VelDclly -

1oI..,1lUlI" '.~Ol><

loIuhvft-~

c:

~--

i"

>
~
-<

f'

0
'Z

()

c;

:30
'Z

""
;Z
~

~
~
;:;;

,"

,.:...

~
~

?'"

~.

;>

CoOlll1ll of SlQr SnLo IQIO

..

~-o~

__

O,. ." ' ~


a.oo.s~OlO

~_

Z.~IO~
'.~tl:>.,_

4._10'_

6.00CCo-<lQO '" ~

..~ " , 7 , ~
7.CXlllCo-_lDa._CllIl

~~o.OIll)oOOOO

GnIdonI~
~'IO

1._006

1._1II:t.~

2.0000-~ III ;).QIlllOeo(lll5

:a.ClllOO*-4QoIO
4.llOOOoll<l:l ..

.,~

,.~

$.~IO"~
,,-'-\Il7Q1lll1:)o-(lll1

~"'..-

7.lJOOCe.lo ..
10 8
LlIOOClc><lCl:I
.._
,_

I~"",,~

~10'_

'~,,',Al)ol'o-OI

. 1_1O"~
1
_"",_
l.3OCJClo.(lG.tall._

"1lCI::Ir:lo-OOI",'_
'.I~",1'-11>'_

111lClMlI .. ,lIIHlCll

Velacilr -

--~

'"0
~

CaroOllf of S"- SIniA lUte

t.~ .. " _

1.4OllCiooOO"lI> 1 . _

1nI...... I , _

...........-t._

Vdodly _ _

."
r"I

"">
-l

c=

E
~

>
'Z
>
~
-<

""

;-,>
~

'-"

'<:>
,c-.

...

\.::>

-J

.low8' _ eO

l)
0
'0

loII(Ia< -

:,...~~

~.

'.2SlQO.(I)( II>

e.t.I:IoDoHIaS 10 Il.llOOIl&oOOS
8.00000.(06 '"

1~

1~ 10 1.40000-004

1,_10''
,1.~IOI.~
_ = 2.1llt4:l5

'.71QOo000< II> :uxDle-OOO

'-'

2JIXlOO.OOo( "' ~
~ID~

'

: z . - I O 2.-.004

go

Vdoclly -

1
n
l
_
.
~
.
_

........... -5..1",lHJO(

Vdocil}' -

5
'"'"P.o

Mmn.m
~

'.(lOOOe.(lDO

',_",,~

'_",1.~

00

.~
4._., ._

~.,~

'0

,_to
2.-.005
2.0Xl00-00S 10

5JXJ:lOo.l6 II> 7~
7--=11> '..IlCIXIIO.(J)<
1~"''-

CO'

<Cal

GniiodOol~

"'.1111_"'~CDS

'~

0._

.Iowef _ 10
Collll>W' Dr Sb<:llr SIDiD Rau:

Col>Jlw or Sl=t S1D1Il Rolle

a.t7(.,~

Ul

:0

!"

r
~

Ie)

FoS

= 1.42

(0

>

FoS = 1.57

rl)

/OWl!f ~ 3IJ"
e.:.u..ur or Shcu Slh.Io R...,

lower _ 20
e-oar of Sb<:at SInin R.>/l:

~ - OJl((le.oOOO

....

0 . - . CaIa.IIolD'>
-ll.4.-..oDl to 2.11C1OOlO-OO5

3:

'.0C0Q0.005 CD 6.0lIlX\04lll
',00000.00510
e.oOOO,,-<lOlI
1-OOOOo.(lQlSID ,
_

2.Q0000-0Q51O

O_~Ir:IJa'''''
1.1lQlI5&.OOIl1l 6.ClCIli:Il>-Q:lG
6~101~

1.0Cllll000!I,., 1.!llllJ:l8.OO5

U,OIXlo.(lQlSCD 2 , _
__

2.~1D8

2.0000I-(1(1610 3.DOOC1e-OO:l

I.ooooe.ooo 10 1 'OCO,HIO'

~:

'._IO
.
.ooooo-oos

'.-.00410 , .

3.00000<:10610 3SlQOe.OO5

1.1IOOOo--QI04 10 '.bOCl)o'
1 ~ III lJa77e-<104

CD .SlQOe.OO5
'._,.,6_
6_106_

1.4OOQo.OOol CD

I~

....... 2.lIo-OQJ

UOOO.<:I061O

Vclocil)' - -

:s.::
...
5

IrMlval-lI._

_nun

VtloclIy -= 2.1IIIoo-4OoC

~
;;;..,

;::

""

0
0

...

;.c
'"'
0

'-"
I

'<:>

e.ooooo-oos

'.0IXII:I0-0CI61O 8.11OUo-OO5

MaIm"," - 6.696a.Q()IIC

,c>...

-1UlOOo-ltlOO

(g)

FoS" 2.26

(h)

Figmc 8. (Col)linucd)

FoS = 2.82

:I:

Cl

:I:

BOUNDAR'i CONDITIONS IN SLOPESTABILlTY ANALYSIS

i mmm

!if
i
i
iii
Iii'
I~

.!J!. /.ii-,~Ji Ii

919

I nlnunn~

dl"''''''''''~ II
JiIRIJ1~~~~I,lji 1j

~
~

;::
c:

f~immm

.iiUm~I,~iJW

Copyflghl l' 2003 Jobn Wiley & Son:>, Lld,

i~ mmm~ !

Jiljm~~IBi iii

1m. J.

,vlol/IleJ',

1111<11, Mo!/lJ. (J>!omt!clJ. 2003: 27:90~-n6

<Xi

.'"

::;

00

L.i:

Material Group
n end block
bOuom
lower
upper

Cend_block

Water Surface
ROblllon:
X: 10.000

: 0.000

Boundary condition varied


on this yfaoe

Z: 300.000
Mag.:
1

Ang..: 22.500

Fixxoo
this x-lace

:;.

(u '" 0)

:I:

c:

:I:

Boundal)' condition varied


on this y-face
Rxxon
this x-face
(u
Figl1r~ Q.

FLAC3D modd NO.2 ror

th~

sample: proble:ffi (WjH

I).

=0)

921

BOUNDARY CONDITIONS IN SLOPE STABILITY ANALYSIS

conditions analysed; the viewing infonnation for the 3-D model is the same as used in Figure 7.
As mentioned for the FLAC results, the location and geometry of the associated shear surface
for each case is interpreted to be along the path where the velocity vectors essentially vanish.

3.5. FLAC3D model No.2 results


Figure 9 shows the suggested 3-D model for the slope. It has the same end extensions in the xz
plane as in the FLAC3D model No.1 (Figure 1); in addition, in the y-direction, it has two end
blocks to represent abutments, and the contacts between the slope and abutments are
represented by interfaces. The viewing infonnation for the 3-D model, the water surface, and the
boundary conditions used are shown in Figure 9. Three sets of analyses were conducted for
WI H = 1 using the boundary conditions of v = 0 (fix y); u = v = 0 (fix x, y); and u = v = )II = 0
(fix x, y, z) at the far ends of the abutments in the y-direction. The conditions represented by
each of the y-direction boundary condition are the same as described for the FLAC3D model
No. 1. The property values for the end blocks and interfaces used to perform the FLA C3D
analyses are included in Table I. FLAC3D FoS values for this model are given in Table V.
Figure 10 shows the contour plots of maximum shear strain rate and the velocity vectors at
the instant of numerical instability for each of the four values of !Plower and the three boundary
conditions analysed; the viewing infonnation for the 3-D model is the same as used in Figure 9.
As mentioned before, the location and geometry of the associated shear surface for each case is
interpreted to be along the path where the velocity vectors essentially vanish.

3.6. Additional FLAC3D model No.2 results


The FLA C3D model No.2 was also used to analyse the sample problem for WI J-J = 2, 5, and 10
for the boundary condition of u = v = )II = 0 (fix x, y, z) at the far ends of the abutments in the
y-direction. The FLAC3D FoS results for all four values of W IH are shown in Table VI.

Table V. FLAC3D model No.2 (Figure 9) FoS results for the following boundary conditions (W /H = I).
Boundary constraint(s) used at the y-faces of the numerical model

<Plower material

10
20 0
30 0

Fix y

Fix x,y

Fix x, y,z

1.74
1.90
2.52
3.02

1.75
1.89
2.52
3.02

1.74

1.89

2.52

3.0J

Table Vl. FLA C3D model No.2 (Figure 9) FoS results for tbe u = v = w = 0 (fix x, y, z) boundary
condition at tbe y-faces of the numerical model for the following W /H values.
<Plower material

W/H= I

1.74
1.89
2.52
3.01

10
20 0
30 0

Copyright

2003 .fohn Wiley

& Sons, Ltd.

W/H

1.38
1.53
2.16
2.67

W/H

1. I J
1.26
1.92
2.48

W/H

10

1.0J
1.17
1.85
2.42

Inl. 1. Numer. Anal. Melh. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

I)
0

"'0

lA'
~

IV

w
'
0

CT

"-<
;:;
'<

R.o
V>

:3

.Y

<>.

(aj

FoS

= 1.74
+10"'"", =;>f)'

e-- ~ SkIt SI.-.l<lllalo


Mtglu.~
CIt-.a~

-&n~"I_
I--",~

2 : _ 1 0 :111QX>o.l5
3.lDlOO-<lll5lO ~
-.oooo.ctiSlO

~ '"

alJa:lOo>.G>5

~ll>7_
,..tXJllOo.(lQII.,tl..IlOllOI>(tl
~CD"'I~
M

\Jlo.loS

VdGciIy -

--=~

(d)

Figure 10. FLACJD model No. 2 r~sul1s for th<,- sample probkm with W/ H = I and the boundary condition of I' = 0 (tix y) in (he y-<lire:clion:
= 1.74, (b) FoS = 1.90, (e) FoS = 2.5~ ~nJ (d) FoS J.02. FLAC3D model No.2 results for the sJlmple problem wilh W IH I :tn<llhe
boundary cOlldilion of u = /' = 0 (~x .f, y) in ,he y-direction: (c) FoS = J .75. (f) FoS = 1.89, (g) FoS = ~,5~ and (h) Fo.') = 3.02. FLA C3D mooel
No. 2 r~llhs for the ~mpk problem wilh W /H = I ;lnd 'he bOlll1d~ry condi,ion of u = I' = W = 0 (fix x, Y. 2) in the y-dircclion: (i) PoS =. 1.74,
U) FoS = I 89, (k) FoS = 2.52 and (l) FoS = 3.02.

(a) FoS

923

BOUNDARY CONDITJONS IN SLOPE STABILITY ANALYSIS

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BOUNDARY CONDITIONS IN SLOPE STABILITY ANALYSIS

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4. COMMENTS ON ANALYSIS RESULTS


For WIH ratio greater than 5, the differences between 2-D FoS and 3-D FoS values tend to lose
significance (Tables II, III and VI), i.e. the 2-D FoS results approximate the 3-D FoS results
reasonably well. For WI H ratio less than 5, the differences between 2-D and 3-D FoS values are
significant. For the 3-D FoS results, the choice of an acceptable answer depends on the physical
conditions being analysed via the numerical model. For a laboratory model with smooth but
rigid walls, the fixed y boundary condition seems appropriate, and the FoS values from CLARA
3D (Table II) and FLAC3D (Table IV) are about the same. However, for field conditions where
the end walls are rigid and rough abutments, U = v = w = 0 (fix x,y,z) boundary conditions are
more appropriate, and FLAC3D results (Tables IV and V) will be more reflective of the slope
behaviour. Between FLAC3D model No.1 and FLAC3D model No.2, FLAC3D model No.2 is
more representative of field conditions; therefore, use of FLAC3D model No.2 results in
Table VI should be appropriate.

5. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS


(1) Limit-equilibrium-based slope stability analysis procedures use different assumptions to
render slope stability problems statically determinate. Some solution procedures only
satisfy moment equilibrium or force equilibrium equations or statics, while others
satisfy both Corce and moment equilibrium requirements of statics. For 2-D FoS
calculations, solution procedures that satisfy complete statics, e.g. Spencer [J 5], are usually
used in dam engineering practice. A similar trend is observed in the development of 3-D
FoS solution procedures [16], and their use in engineering practice shall follow the
advisory for 2-D procedures. In either case, it is essential that the user of these procedures
and corresponding software understand the theories, assumptions, and calculations
implemented.
(2) If spatial variations of geometry, pore-water pressure, and/or material properties indicate
that 3-D effects may be significant, it is suggested that the problem be analysed using a 3-D
analysis sortware.
(3) In a 3-D slope stability analysis, contribution of shear resistance along the two sides of a
slide mass that parallel the direction of movement to the FoS is an item of interest.
(4) It is easier to visualize model displacement boundary conditions than stress boundary
conditions from the physical boundaries of a slope problem. However, for stress boundary
conditions, one needs to think through the state of stress at a point, especially the shear
stresses which are complimentary and exist in pairs. Inconsistencies in stress boundary
conditions can lead to unpleasant consequences in computed FoS results. In continuum
mechanics-based solution procedures, use of displacement boundary conditions is
recommended.
(5) Initial stresses in a continuum model can be introduced via applied loads, boundary
displacements, or by specifying their values. Any consistent state of stress can be present in
the continuum body. However, the model must be in equilibrium under the applied loads,
initial stresses, and boundary conditions.
(6) In 3-D analyses, the failure surface geometry and location shall likely be different at
different sections in the y-direction.
Copyright

2003 John Wiley

& Sons, Ltd.

Inl. J. Nume,.. .11101. Melh. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

926

A. K. CHUGH

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The author would like to express his sincere thanks to Professors D. Vaughan Griffiths, o. Hungr, and
Timothy D. Stark for their interest and several conversations on the subject matter of the paper.
REFERENCES
I. Hovland HJ. Three-dimensional slope st2bility analysis method. Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division,
ASCE, 1977; 103(GT9):971-986.
2. Stark TD, Eid HT. Performance of three-dimensional slope stability methods in practice. Journal ofGeotechnical and
Geoenvironmental Engineering 1998; 124(11): 1049-1060.
3. Arellano D, Stark TD. Importance of three-dimensional slope stability analysis in practice. In ASCE Geotechnical
Special Publication No. /0/: Slope Stability 2000, Griffiths DV, Fenton GA, Martin TR (eds). ASCE: New York,
2000; 18-32.
4. Duncan JM. State of the art: limit equilibrium and 6nite-element analysis of slopes. Journal of Geotechnical
Engineering, ASCE, 1996; 122(7):577-596.
5. Hungr O. CLARA: Slope stability analysis in two or three dimensions for IBM or compatible microcomputers. O.
Hungr Geotechnical Research Inc.: West Vancouver, British Columbia, 1988.
6. Griffiths DV, Lane PA. Slope stability analysis by finite elements. Geotechnique 1999; 49(3):387-403.
7. Zetter AH, Poisel R, Roth W, Preh A. Slope stability analysis based on the shear reduction technique in 3D. In Flac
and Numerical Modeling in Geomechanics, Detournay C, Hart R. (eds). Balkema: Rotterdam, 1999; 11-21.
8. Dawson EM, Roth WH, Drescher A. Slope stability analysis by strength reduction. Geotechnique 1999; 49(6):
835--840.
9. Itasca Consulting Group. FLAC-Fast Lagrangian Analysis of continua. Itasca Consulting Group: Minneapolis,
Minnesota, 2000.
10. Itasca Consulting Group. FLAC3D-Fast Lagrangian Analysis of continua in3 dimensions. Itasca Consulting Group:
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2002.
II. Spencer E. Personal communications, 1984.
12. Peck RB. Personal communications, 1989.
13. Zienkiewicz OC, Humpheson C, Lewis R W. Associated and non-associated visco-plasticity and plasticity in soil
mechanics. Geotechnique 1975; 25(4):671-689.
14. Chugh AK. User information manual for slope stability analysis program SSTAB2. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation:
Denver, Colorado, 1992.
15. Spencer E. A method of analysis of the stability of embankments assuming parallel interslice forces. Geotechnique
1967; 17(I):J 1-26.
16. Huang C-C, Tsai C-C, Chen Y-H. Generalized method for three-dimensional slope stability analysis. Journal of
Geotechnical and Geoenvironmenlal Engineering 2002; 128(10):836-848.

Copyright

2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Int. 1. Numer. Anal. Meth. Geomech. 2003; 27:905-926

Appendix D
Part 5

An Automated Procedure for 3-Dimensional Mesh Generation


by A.K. Chugh and T.D. Stark

This article was published in Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on


FLAC and Numerical Modeling in Geomechanics, Sudbury, Ontario, pp. 9-15,
2003.

An auton1ated procedure for 3-din1ensional n1esh generation


Ashok K. Chugh
Bureau ofReclamation, Denver, CO 80225-0007, USA

Timothy D. Stark
University ofIllinois, Urbana, IL 61801-2352, USA

ABSTRACT: An automated procedure is presented to generate a 3-dimensional mesh for numerical analysis
of engineering problems. The procedure is simple, effective and efficient, and can be applied to represent
complex geometries and material distributions. A listing of the program that was used for the sample problem
of a landfill slide is included.

1 INRODUCTION
One of the essential tasks in a 3-dimensional (3-D)
numerical analysis is to represent the geometry and
distribution of materials in the numerical model.
FLAC3D provides means to facilitate mesh
generation and the built-in programming language
FISH can be used to develop and implement
additional program instructions during execution of
a data file.
In geotechnical engineering, surface geometry,
distribution of materials, and water table conditions
usually vary from one location to the next and pose a
difficult set of conditions to represent in a numerical
model. In order to facilitate the analysis of
landslides, a simple procedure was devised to
represent complex surface geometry, subsurface
material horizons, and water table conditions. The
objectives of this paper are to present: (1) a simple
method to describe field geometry and conditions
for a 3-D numerical model of a slope problem; (2) a
simple procedure for automatic generation of a 3-D
mesh; and (3) an illustration of the use of the
procedure for analysis of a large slide in a landfill. A
listing of the program for the landfill slide is
included in the paper. This program listing is in the
FISH language and uses some of the functions
available in the FISH library.
2 CONCEPTUAL MODEL
The conceptual model for the generation of a 3-D
mesh follows the conventional procedure of
portraying spatial variations of materials in 3-D via a
series of 2-dimensional (2-D) cross-sections. This
technique is commonly used by engineers and

geologists in constructing visual models of complex


geologic sites where a number of 2-D cross-sections
are used to represent the field conditions. In these
representations, linear variations between material
horizons in consecutive 2-D cross-sections are used
to depict the 3-D spatial variability of a site. The
accuracy of the representation is improved by using
closely spaced 2-D cross-sections.
The 3-D mesh generation procedure presented
herein follows the conventional practices used by
engineers in constructing 2-D numerical meshes by
hand for geotechnical problems to be solved using
methods other than FLAC3D. For example, in the
creation of a 2-D numerical model of a slope to be
analyzed using a limit-equilibrium based procedure,
it is a common practice to define profile lines via a
set of data points followed by specifications of their
connectivities. Also, in the creation of a 2-D model
of a continuum to be solved by a finite-element
based procedure, it is a common practice to
discretize the continuum into a network of zones;
assign identification numbers to the grid points;
define the coordinates of the grid points; and then
specify the connectivity of grid points.
Thus, in the conceptual model for the generation
of a 3-D mesh in FLAC3D, use is made of defining a
series of 2-D cross-sections at representative
locations of a site; defining each of the 2-D sections
as an assemblage of data points with line-segment
connections; and organizing the data for an efficient
and effective discretization of the volume.
3 WATER TABLE
The water table surface is specified using the water
table data of individual 2-D cross-sections and

through the use of 3-point planar polygons between


consecutive 2-D cross-sections. This scheme allows
incorporation of non-coplanar variations in the water
table surface in the entire 3-D model.
4 DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCEDURE
In geotechnical engineering, the ground-surface
geometry is obtained using contour maps that are
prepared from land or aerial survey of the area. The
subsurface material horizons are estimated from
geologic data and information obtained from
exploratory boring logs. The subsurface water
conditions are estimated from field observations,
piezometers installed at various depths, and/or from
water levels in borings. Subsurface data are used to
develop contour maps of the subsurface geology and
water conditions.
From these contour maps, the region-of-interest,
and the locations of significant cross-sections are
identified; information for 2-D cross-sections are
read and tabulated; and 2-D cross-sections are drawn
for an understanding of the site details and
preparation of input data for a 2-D analysis. In
general, the cross-sectional data for a site varies
from one location to the next - these variations may
be caused by changes in the ground surface and (or)
in subsurface material horizons, discontinuity of
some materials, or a combination of these or some
other variations.
In the proposed procedure, the following steps are
followed: (For ease of presentation, 2-D cross
sections are assumed to lie in x-z plane and the x,y,z
coordinate system follow the right hand rule.)
1. The following steps are used for creating an
orderly assemblage of field data for 3-D
discretization of the continuum of the region-of
interest:
(a) On the site map, select values of x, y, and z
coordinates that completely circumscribe the 3-D
region-of-interest;
(b) Mark locations of all significant 2-D cross
sections oriented in the same and preferably
parallel direction;
(c) For each 2-D cross-section, tabulate (x,y,z)
coordinates of end-points of all line segments for
each profile line and the water table (for parallel
2-D cross-sections, y-coordinate shall have same
constant value between two consecutive cross
sections).
2. The following steps are used for creating similar
sets of data at each ofthe 2-D cross-sections:
(a) From the data in step I(c) above, select control

points that are of significance in defining the


profile lines in all of the 2-D cross-sections.
Tabulate the x-coordinates of these control
points in increasing order. For reference
purposes, this table is referred to as Table 100.
(b) Use of the 'Interpolate' function expands the
2-D cross-sectional data of step 1(c) by linear
interpolation for all of the control points listed in
Table 100 for all of the profile lines and stores
the data in separate tables; assigns Table
numbers in increasing order starting with the
user specified starting number and incrementing
it by 1; assigns an identification number to each
point; and positions the points in the 3-D model
space. These tables contain the (x,z) coordinates
of expanded 2-D cross-sectional data. A sample
listing of the 'Interpolate' function and its
dependency function 'zz' in FISH language is
given in Figure 1. The starting table number
used in the sample problem data file is 200.
3. The following steps are used for creating zones
in the 3-D model space:
(a) Tabulate the y-coordinates of the 2-D cross
sections in increasing y-direction. For reference
purposes, this table is referred to as Table 101.
The number of entries in Table 101 should equal
the number of 2-D cross-sections marked in step
I(b).
(b) Considering the spacing of x-coordinates of the
control points in step 2(a), select the number of
zones desired for each interval in the x-direction.
Tabulate these values for all of the intervals in
the increasing x-direction. For reference
purposes, this table is referred to as Table 102.
The number of entries in Table 102 should be
one less than those in Table 100.
(c) Considering the spacing between the 2-D cross
sections in the y-direction, select the number of
zones desired for each interval in the y-direction.
Tabulate these values for all of the intervals in
the increasing y-direction. For reference
purposes, this table is referred to as Table 103.
The number of entries in Table 103 should be
one less than the number of 2-D cross-sections.
(d) Considering the spacing of the profile lines in the
z-direction, select the number of zones desired
for each material horizon in the z-direction.
Tabulate these values for all of the intervals in
the increasing z-direction. For reference
purposes, this table is referred to as Table 104.
The number of entries in Table 104 should be
one less than the number of profile lines.
(e) Use of the 'Fill_grid' function generates a brick
mesh and assigns a group name to each 3-D
volume zone. A sample listing of the 'Fill_grid'
function in FISH language is given in Figure 2.

def zz
zz~table(t

5 COMMENTS

n,xx)

end
def interpolate
loop j (js, je); profile line #s
; js is for the bottom, je is for top
dt_n~dt_n_s+j; dt_n is destination table number
loop i (is,ie); is is the first interpolation #,
; ie is the last interpolation #
xx~xtable (lOO,i); x-coordinate of the
;interpolation point
command
set t_n~j
end command
table(dt_n,xx)~zz

id_pt~id_pt+l
x_pt~xtable(dt_n,i)
y_pt~y_pt

z_pt~ytable(dt_n,i)

command
generate point id id_pt x_pt y_pt z_pt
end command
endloop
endloop
end

Figure 1. Listing of the 'Interpolate' function and its


dependency function 'zz' in FISH language.
def fill_grid
i_n~table_size(102)
j_n~table_size(103)
k_n~table_size(104)

loop jy (l,j_n)
ny~xtable(103,jy)
pO_d~(jy-l)*(i_n+l)*(k_n+l)

loop kz

(l,k_n)

nz~xtable(104,kz)

if

kz~l

then

material~'shale'

endif
if kz~2 then
material='ns'; gative soil
endif
if kz~3 then
material='msw'; ~unicipal ~olid

~aste

x_toe~xtable(105,jy)

endif
loop ix (l,i_n)
if kz~3 then
xx_toe~xtable(lOO,ix)

if xx - toe < x - toe then


material='mswt'
endif
endif
nx~xtable(102,ix)
pO_d~pO_d+l
p3_d~(pO_d+i_n+l)
p6_d~(p3_d+l)
pl_d~(pO_d+l)

p2_d~(

(i_n+l)*(k_n+l)+pO_d)

p5_d~(p2_d+(i_n+l))
p7_d~(p5_d+l)

p4_d~(p2_d+l)

command

generate zone brick size


pO~point
(pO_d) p3~point
pl~point
p6~point (p6_d)
p2~point (p2_d)
p5~point
p4~point
p7~point (p7_d)
end command

if kz~3 then

material='msw'

endif

end_loop

nX,nY,nz ratio 1,1,1 &

(p3_d) &

(pl_d) &

(p5_d) &

(p4_d) group material

pO_d~pO_d+l

end_loop
end_loop
end

Figure 2. Listing of 'FILL_GRID' function in FISH


language.

(1) Use of a Brick mesh with an 8-point description


is versatile and allows for creation of
degenerated brick forms through the use of
multiple points with different identification
numbers occupying the same (x,y,z) coordinate
location in the 3-D model space.
(2) During the development of the grid, it is possible
to assign group names to different segments of
the model. This information can be useful in
modifying the generated grid.
(3) Expanding the (x,y,z) location data for all 2-D
cross-sections to a common control number of
locations via interpolations facilitates the
programming of the automatic grid-generation
procedure.
(4) In engineering practice, it is generally desirable
to analyze a few 2-D cross-sections at select
locations prior to conducting a 3-D analysis.
Because development of data for 2-D cross
sections is one of the steps for use of the
proposed procedure, it is relatively easy to
conduct a 2-D analysis using the 2-D cross
sectional data and the program FLAC.
(5) The program instructions listed in Figures 1 and
2 can be modified to accommodate geometry
and other problem details that are different or
more complex than those encountered in the
sample problem described in Section 6.
6 SAMPLE PROBLEM
The problem used to illustrate the proposed 3-D
mesh generation procedure is the 1996 slide in a
waste containment facility near Cincinnati, Ohio
(Stark & Eid 1998, Eid et al. 2000). Figure 3 is an
aerial view of the slide. Figure 4 is the plan view of
the landfill and shows the location of the sixteen
cross-sections used to construct a FLAC3D model of
the site (the project data shown are in Imperial
units). There are three material horizons bounded by
four profile lines, and a liquid level present
at this site. Figure 5 shows the 2-D cross-sectional
views of the site at the 16-locations prior to failure
(the available project data were converted to SI units
and this conversion lead to numerical values with
fractional parts). Figure 6 shows a partial listing of
the data file for the sample problem with the
following details:
Table 100 lists the x-coordinates of the 22 control
points considered significant from the sixteen 2-D
cross-sectional data.
Table 101 lists the y-coordinates of the sixteen 2-D
cross-section locations.

Table 103 1ists the number of zones desired in each


of the 15 segments in the y-direction.
Table 104 lists the number of zones desired in each
of the 3 material horizons at the site.
Table 105 11sts the x-coordinates of the toe locations
of the top profile line in the 2-D cross-sections in the
increasing y-direction.

Figure 3. Sample problem - Aerial vIew of


Cincinnati landfill fallure (from Eid et al. 2000).
(Reproduced by pennission of the publisher, ASCE).

""

"

i' !
,
,

...
'1

I~
I

.-"

Figure 4. Plan view of the sample problem showing


locations of selected 2-D sections.

Table 102 lists the number of zones desired in each


of the 21 segments in the x-direction.

For each cross-section, x- and z-coordinates for data


points defining the profile lines are recorded in
individual tables numbered as Table 1 for profile
line I data, Table 2 for profile line 2 data, Table 3
for profile line 3 data, and Table 4 for profile line 4
data in the data file shown in Figure 6. Profile lines
are numbered from 1 to 4 in the increasing z
direction and each profile line uses a different
number of data points to define the line. For cross
sections where the top profile line temlinates in a
vertical cut at the toe, the top profile line was
extended to x = o.
For each cross-section and for each of the fOUf
profile lines, the x-coordinate locations identified in
Table 100 are used to create data by interpolation at
each of the 22 control points. For the sample
problem, this amounts to 88 pairs of (x,z)
coordinates per cross-section, and the y-coordinate
of the data points is read from Table ]0 I. Thus, the
x-,y-, and z-coordinates for all of the points
defined and (or) interpolated are known. Each point
is assigned a numeric identity number (id #) starting
with one and incrementing by one. The data points
are located in the 3-D model space using their id #
and x-, y-, z-coordinates. This task is accomplished
using the 'Interpolate' function and its listing in
FISH language is given in Figure I. At the end of
this task, all of the defined and (or) interpolated
points with an assigned id # have been located in the
3-D model space.
The connectivity of data points to define volume
discretization is accomplished in the function named
'Fill....,grid' . For each interval in the location of cross
sections in the y-direction (Table 103), and for each
material horizon between the profile lines in the
z-direction (Table 104), and for each interval in the
x-direction (Table 102), the values of number of
zones desired in the x, y, and z-direction and the id
#s of points in the 3-D model space are used in the
'GENERATE zone brick pO, pI, ... p8' command
of FLAC3D for a regular 8-noded brick mesh. TIle
material between the profile lines is assigned a
group name for ease of modifying the grid and for
convenience in assigning material properties and/or
addressing them for some other reason. This task is
also accomplished in the function named 'Fill_grid'

3.5

(a) Cross-section at y=O m

3.5

(i) Cross-section at y= 164.29 m

3.0 _

3.0

<
'"
0

N
<

2.5 ;:

2.5 ;:.

z
1.5
2
(Y10"2)

1.5
:2
j*iO '" 2}

3.5

(b) Cross-section at y=15.24 m

3.0
2.5

3.5

U) Cross-section at y=201.47 m

3.0

N
<

N
<

25
~
':...,.

z
1.5
2
(*10'" 2)

~o

3.5

.5

1.5
2
(*10"'2)

2.5

3
3.5

(k) Cross-section at y=234.09 m

3.0

N
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2.5 ~

2.5 ;:.

:.....
z

xO

.5

1.5
2
(*10"'2)

2.5

3.5

2.0

xO

3.5

(d) Cross-section at y=28.96 m

I 3.0

.5

1.5
2
(*10'" 2)

2.5

3.5

3.5

(I) Cross-section at y=253.29 m

3.0

N
<

2.5

25
~
.:...,.

z
xO

1.5
2
(10'" 2)

xO

2.5

3.5

(e) Cross-section at y=42.06 m

J.O
2.5

.5

1.5
2
(*10" 2)

2.5

3.5

2.0
3.5

(m) Cross-section at y=268.B3 m

3.0

N
<

N
<
0

N
~

2.0

.2.5 [.
z

x0

.5

1.5
2
(*10"'2)

2.5

3.5

2.0

xO

3.5

(f) Cross-section at y=62.48 m

.5

1.5
2
j*10'" 2)

2.5

3.5

3.5

(n) Cross-section at y=287.43 m

3.0

3.0

N
<

N
<

2.5 ~
:.....

2.5 ~
~

1.5
2
(*10'" 2)

xo

3
3.5

(g) Cross-section at y=96.93 m

2.0

.5

2.5

1.5
2
(*10" 2)

3.5

2.0
3.5

(0) Cross-section at y=293.83 m

3.0

3.0

N
-<

N
<

2.5 ~

2.5

<:>

xO

1.5
2
(*10"'2)

1.5
:2
j*10 "2}

(h) Cross-section at y=138.07 m

3.5

3.5

(p) Cross-section at y=307.85 m

3.0

3.0

N
<

<

2.5 ~

2.5 ~

xO

.5

Legend:

1.5
2
(*10"'2)

2.5

Shale

Natural soil

xO

.5

1.5
2
(*10" 2)

bI Municipal solid waste

Figure 5. 2-D cross-sectional views of the sample problem.

2.5

3.5

2.0

Water table

; Rumpke landfill site; Data are in metric units


set g~0,0,-9.81
; table 100 is for the x-coordinates of
; the desired 3-D grid
table 100 0,1 13.11,2 15.54,3 22.86,4 34.75,5
table 100 42.67,6 49.07,7 57.61,8 63.70,9
table 100 64.92,10 72.54,11 78.94,12 92.66,13
table 100 100.89,14 107.90,15 115.21,16
table 100 158.50,17 199.64,18 284.38,19
table 100 318.52,20 337.72,21 348.08,22
; table 101 is for y-coordinates of the
; 2-D cross-section locations
table 101 0,1 15.24,2 20.73,3 28.96,4 42.06,5
table 101 62.48,6 96.93,7 138.07,8 164.29,9
table 101 201.47,10 234.09,11 253.29,12
table 101 268.83,13 287.43,14 293.83,15
table 101 307.85,16
; table 102 is for the number of zones
; desired in the x-direction
table 102 2,1 1,2 1,3 2,4 1,5 1,6 1,7 1,8 1,9
table 102 1,10 I,ll 2,12 1,13 1,14 1,15 5,16
table 102 5,17 10,18 4,19 2,20 2,21
; table 103 is for the number of zones
; desired in the y-direction
table 103 2,1 1,2 1,3 2,4 2,5 3,6 4,7 3,8 4,9
table 103 3,10 2,11 2,12 2,13 1,14 2,15
; table 104 is for the number of zones
; desired in the z-direction
table 104 5,1 3,2 10,3
; table 105 is for the x-coordinates of the
; receding toe
table 105 0,1 0,2 15.54,3 22.86,4 34.75,5
table 105 49.07,6 57.61,7 64.92,8 78.94,9
table 105 92.66,10 100.89,11 107.90,12
table 105 115.21,13 63.70,14 0,15
set is~l ie~22
set js~l je~4
set id_pt~O
set dt n s~200
; Station at y~O
set y_pt~O
table 1 -100,200 500,200
table 2 0,223.60 154.23,223.60 307.24,238.84
table 2 348.08,239.14
table 3 0,228.60 154.23,228.60 307.24,243.84
table 3 348.08,244.14
table 4 0,260.00 66.45,280.42 98.15,283.46
table 4 156.67,286.51 187.15,289.56
table 4 348.08,332.54
interpolate
; station at y~15.24 m
set y_pt~15.24
table 2 erase
table 3 erase
table 4 erase
set dt - n - s~dt - n
table 2 0,223.60 163.07,223.60 306.02,238.84
table 2 348.08,240.67
table 3 0,228.60 163.07,228.60 306.02,243.84
table 3 348.08,245.67
table 4 0,251.46 91.14,280.42 107.90,283.46
table 4 144.48,286.51 169.77,289.56
table 4 194.46,292.61 332.54,338.33
table 4 348.08,338.33
interpolate

station at y~307.85 m
set y_pt~307.85
table 2 erase
table 3 erase
table 4 erase
set dt - n - s~dt - n
table 2 0,254.08 348.08,254.08
table 3 0,259.08 348.08,259.08

table 4 0,261.08 29.87,265.18 185.93,268.22

table 4 348.08,307.24

interpolate

delete range group mswt

; water surface

water den~l table &

face 0,0,228.60 0,15.24,228.60 &

332.54,15.24,268.22 &

face 0,0,228.60 332.54,15.24,268.22 &

348.08,15.24,268.22 &

face 0,0,228.60 348.08,15.24,268.22 &

348.08,0,268.22 & ;interval # 1

face 0,15.24,228.60 0,20.73,228.60 &

340.77,20.73,268.22 &

face 0,15.24,228.60 340.77,20.73,268.22 &

348.08,20.73,268.22 &

face 0,15.24,228.60 348.08,20.73,268.22 &

332.54,15.24,268.22 &

face 332.54,15.24,268.22 348.08,20.73,268.22 &

348.08,15.24,268.22 &;interval # 2

face 0,293.83,259.08 0,307.85,259.08 &

63.70,307.85,259.08 &

face 0,293.83,259.08 63.70,307.85,259.08 &

348.08,307.85,268.22 &

face 0,293.83,259.08 348.08,307.85,268.22 &

63.70,293.83,259.08 &

face 63.70,293.83,259.08 348.08,307.85,268.22 &

348.08,293.83,268.22;interval # 15

Figure 6. Partial listing of the data file for the


sample problem for FLAC3D.
and its listing in FISH language is given in Figure 2.
Table 105 data are used to assign a group name
'mswt' to the zones past the vertical cut which are
later deleted using the DELETE command with the
range defined by the group name 'mswt'. At the end
of this task, a 3-D grid of specification exists in the
region-of-interest. For the sample problem, the
generated 3-D grid is shown in Figure 7. The
representation of continuity of the vertical cut at the
toe of the slope (as seen in 2-D cross-sections,
Figure 5) in the 3-D model can be improved by
increasing the number of 2-D cross-sections.

7ADVANTAGES OF THE PROPOSED


PROCEDURE

(1) The proposed procedure for describing 3-D field


conditions utilizes 2-D cross-sections which are
essentially the same as commonly used by
geologists and engineers to describe the field
conditions. Linear variation in geometry,
material horizons, and groundwater descriptions
between known data points is generally
accepted.
(2) Changes in field data can be incorporated in the
numerical model by updating the affected tables.

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ronnect,,'",y
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"".11,,.. ,"'..,,"'"

Appendix D
Part 6

Average Engineering Properties of Compacted Soils from the


Western United States

This table is from reference [2]: Design of Small Dams, Bureau of Reclamation,
Denver, Colorado, pp. 96-97, 2004.

Table 5-1 Average engineering properties of compacted soils [2]


Specific gravity

Compaction
Laboratory

Unified classification
GW

GP

GM

GC

SW

SP

Soil type
Well-graded clean gravels,
gravel-sand mixture

Poorly graded clean


gravels, gravel sand
mixture

Silty gravels, poorly graded


gravel-sand-silt

Clayey gravels, poorly


graded gravel-sand-clay

Well-graded clean sands.


gravelly sands

Poorly graded clean sands,


sand-gravel mixture

No. 4
minus
2.69
0.02
2.65
2.75
16

No. 4
plus
2.58
0.08
2.39
2.67
9

2.68
0.03
2.61
2.76
35

2.57
0.07
2.42
2.65
12

121.7
5.9
104.9
127.7

2.73
0.07
2.65
2.92
34

2.43
0.18
2.19
2.92
17

113.3
11.5
87.0
133.0

2.73
0.08
2.67
3.11
34

2.57
0.21
2.38
2.94
6

116.6
7.8
96.0
129.0

2.67
0.03
2.61
2.72
13

2.57
0.03
2.51
2.59
2

126.1
6.0
118.1
135.0

2.65
0.03

2.62
0.10

115.6
9.7

Index unit weight


Optimum
moisture
content,
%
11.4
1.2
9.9
13.3

Maximum
unit weight,
lb/ft3
124.2
3.2
119.1
127.5

Shear strength
Avg. placement

Min.,
lb/ft3
108.8
10.2
88.5
132.9

Max.,
lb/ft3
133.6
10.4
113.0
145.6

Unit weight,
lb/ft3
-

Moisture
content,
%
-

16
11.2
2.2
9.1
17.7

137.2
6.3
118.3
148.8

15

112.5
8.3
85.9
123.7

36

127.5
7.2
117.4
133.9

6.5
1.2
5.3
8.0

125.9
0.9
125.0
126.9

10.3
1.2
9.1
11.5

2
13.9
3.8
6.0
23.6

37

125.0
6.0
116.7
137.8

111.1
10.4
96.8
120.9

15.9
1.6
11.2
22.2

115.1
7.2

41.4
2.5
38.0
43.7

13.4
3.7
9.7
17.0

34.0
2.6
31.4
36.5

10.2
1.5
5.0
16.0

27.5
7.2
17.7
35.0

5.5
3.0

37.4
2.0

3
99.5
7.1
87.4
109.8

12
10.8
2.0

5.9
5.9
5.9

0
9.1
1.7
7.4
11.2

'

3
108.0
0.2
107.8
108.1

132.0
3.1
128.9
135.1

c'
lb/in2
0

34
15.8
5.8
5.8
29.5

Effective stress

0
93.4
8.8

103.4
14.6

5.4
-

Values listed
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation

Table 5-1 Average engineering properties of compacted soils [2]


Specific gravity

Compaction
Laboratory

Unified classification

SM

SC

ML

CL

MH

Soil type

Silty sands, poorly graded


sand-silt mixture

Clayey sands. poorly


graded sand-clay mixture

Inorganic silts and clayed


silts

Inorganic clays of low to


medium plasticity

Inorganic clayey silts,


elastic silts

No. 4
plus
2.52
2.75
3

2.68
0.06
2.51
3.11
149

2.18
0.11
2.24
2.63
9

116.6
8.9
92.9
132.6

2.69
0.04
2.56
2.81
88

2.17
0.18
2.17
2.59
4

118.9
5.9
123
104.3
131.7

2.69
0.09
2.52
3.10
65

103.3
10.4
81.6
126.0

2.71
0.05
2.56
2.87
270

2.59
0.13
2.42
2.75
3

109.3
5.5
90.0
121.4

2.79
0.25
2.47
3.50

Index unit weight


Optimum
moisture
content,
%
7.8
13.4

Maximum
unit weight,
lb/ft3
106.5
134.8

No. 4
minus
2.60
2.77
36

Shear strength
Avg. placement

Min.,
lb/ft3
78.2
122.4

Max.,
lb/ft3
105.9
137.3

Unit weight,
lb/ft3
88.8
118.1

Moisture
content,
%
5.4
5.4

39
12.5
3.4
6.8
25.5

110.1
8.7
88.5
122.9

84.9
7.9
61.6
97.1

73

112.0
11.1
91.1
132.5

12.7
5.4
1.6
25.0

34.6

39
10.6

115.6
14.1
91.1
131.8

14.2
5.7
7.5
22.7

98.9
11.5
80.7
119.3

22.1
8.9
11.1
40.3

33.6
1.6
31.5
35.5

33.6
5.7
23.3
45.0

5.0
2.5
0.7
8.5

33.9
2.9
28.4
38.3

3.6
4.3
0.1
11.9

34.0
3.1
25.2
37.7

10.3
7.6
0.9
23.8

25.1
7.0
8.0
33.8

14
-

106.5
7.8
85.6
118.7

17.7
5.1
11.6
35.0

0
85.1
2.3
221
82.9
89.0

6.6
5.6
0.2
21.2

10

0
16.7
2.9
6.4
29.2

'

35.4
39.4

17

0
19.7
5.7

c'
lb/in2
2.5
8.4
2

21
12.4
2.3
6.7
18.2

Effective stress

31
-

Values listed
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value

Table 5-1 Average engineering properties of compacted soils [2]


Specific gravity

Compaction
Laboratory

Unified classification

CH

Soil type

Inorganic clays of high


plasticity

No. 4
minus
10

No. 4
plus
0

2.73
0.06
2.51
2.89
74

Index unit weight


Optimum
moisture
content,
%

Maximum
unit weight,
lb/ft3

Unit weight,
lb/ft3

Moisture
content,
%

0
25.0
5.4
41.8

36
16.6

Min.,
lb/ft3

Max.,
lb/ft3

5
95.3
6.6
82.3
107.3

Shear strength
Avg. placement

c'
lb/in2

'

11.5
7.4
1.5
21.5

16.8
7.2
4.0
27.5

0
-

Effective stress

93.6
8.1
79.3
104.9

25.7
5.7
17.9
35.3
12

Values listed
Total number of
tests
Average of all values
Standard deviation
Minimum value
Maximum value
Total number of
tests

Appendix D
Part 7

Strength, Stress-Strain and Bulk Modulus Parameters for Finite


Element Analyses of Stresses and Movements in Soil Masses,
by J.M. Duncan, P. Byrne, K.S. Wong, and P. Mabry

This report was published as Report No. UCB/GT/80-01, University of California,


Berkeley, California, 1980. Tables 5 and 6 of this report are reproduced herein
with permission of the first author, Prof. J. M. Duncan, currently the Distinguished
Professor Emeritus, 1600 Carlson Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060.