American Society of Civil Engineers

Stochastic Modeling of Redundancy in Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Walls

by Ioannis E. Zevgolis, Ph.D., (Geotechnical Engineer, 7-9 Gavriilidou Str., Athens, 11141, Greece (formerly: PhD Student, Purdue University, School of Civil Engineering) E-mail: and Philippe L. Bourdeau, (Assoc. Professor, Purdue University, School of Civil Engineering, 550 Stadium Mall Dr., West Lafayette, IN, 47907-2051 E-mail:

pp. 1179-1186, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: GeoCongress 2008: Geosustainability and Geohazard Mitigation
Abstract: A probabilistic model is developed in order to assess the reliability of the internal stability of MSE walls. Geotechnical uncertainty is explicitly considered by modeling shear strength properties of reinforced, retained, and foundation soil as random variables following beta distributions. The model is developed in two steps. First, an in-series configuration addresses the reliability per reinforcement layer and provides a profile of reliability with depth. Second, an r-out-of-m configuration is used to model the inherent redundancy of MSE structures. Reliability analyses are performed using Monte Carlo simulations and propagation of failure is modeled using transition probabilities and Markov stochastic processes. As an illustration, a case example of an MSE wall used as direct bridge abutment is analyzed in the context of the developed model.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Soil structures
Stochastic models