Safety Factors for Riprap Protection

by Michael A. Stevens, Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, Colo.,
Gary L. Lewis, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.,
Daryl B. Simons, (F.ASCE), Assoc. Dean for Research, and Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, Colo.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 5, Pg. 637-655

Document Type: Journal Paper


The merit of a particular riprap design can be represented by numerical value of the riprap safety factor, defined as the ratio of moments resisting particle motion to the moments tending to rotate the particle out of the riprap blanket. A safety factor of unity denotes incipient motion. From theoretical considerations, a relation is established between the riprap safety factor and the magnitude and direction of the flow velocity in the vicinity of the riprap, the angle of the side slope, and the angle of repose for the riprap. The design procedures of the Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, the California Division of Highways, the Bureau of Public Roads and others are evaluated in terms of the riprap safety factor. Some of the designs have safety factors less than unity indicating that there could be a loss of riprap material when the design flows are obtained.

Subject Headings: Highway and road design | Safety | Riprap | Moment (mechanics) | Particles | Traffic safety | Numerical methods | Rotation | California | United States

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