Use of Computer for Slope Stability

by Robert V. Whitman,
William A. Bailey,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1967, Vol. 93, Issue 4, Pg. 475-498

Document Type: Journal Paper


The capacity of modern digital computers to do large amounts of simple arithmetic is useful to the engineer In the analysis of slope stability for three reasons: (1) Uncertainties about the geometry of the slope and the properties of the various soils within the slope can be investigated in detail: (2) many trial failure surfaces can be analyzed; and (3) more accurate methods that satisfy statics can be used. The equilibrium of thin slices is described. The formulation is statically indeterminate so that a different solution can be obtained for every set of assumptions used to remove the indeterminacies. A computer-based method of slices proposed by Morgenstern and Price that fully satisfies statics is analyzed. The range of acceptable solutions can be narrowed, and the errors involved in simpler methods of slices can be assessed. Recommendations are made concerning; the use of these methods to practical work. Finally, techniques are described that permit affective use of computers for slope stability analysis.

Subject Headings: Slope stability | Soil analysis | Failure analysis | Computer analysis | Computing in civil engineering | Surface properties | Uncertainty principles | Geometrics

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