Probabilistic Evaluation of Loads

by Wilson H. Tang, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 3122 Civ. Engrg. Bldg., Urbana, Ill. 61801,

Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 3, Pg. 287-304

Document Type: Journal Paper


The loads that effect geotechnical designs are reviewed, characterizing the uncertainties in each load component. Probabilistic models for evaluating each component are examined. Whenever data are available, the level of variabilities and uncertainties associated with the effect of each component on the foundation is assessed. Satisfactory performance of a geotechnical system relies, in part, on a good understanding of the characteristics of the loads and environments to which the system is subjected. Uncertainties do exist in these factors. For dynamic loads due to earthquake excitation and wave action, both their magnitude and frequencies of occurrences over the expected duration of the system could not be known. The long-term stability of soil slope would also be dependent on stochastic fluctuation of the pore pressure due to seasonal variation and other temporal changes in the environment.

Subject Headings: Uncertainty principles | Probability | Live loads | Load factors | Soil pressure | Load and resistance factor design | Foundations | Seismic loads

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