Energy Method for Soil Stability Analyses

by Karel Karal, Sr. Research Engr.; River and Harbor Lab., Norwegian Inst. of Tech., SINTEF Assoc. Lab., Trondheim, Norway,

Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1977, Vol. 103, Issue 5, Pg. 431-445

Document Type: Journal Paper


A method for soil stability analyses applying principles of soil mechanics to the theory of plasticity (limit analysis approach) is presented. The rigorous theoretical background and the simplicity of both the method and the calculation procedure are encouraging application of the method in engineering practice. Attention is drawn to the implication of the boundary conditions of deformations (degrees-of-freedom of the investigated structure or support) for the analysis. Different numbers of degrees-of-freedom of a system generally yield different results for safety factor, bearing capacity, etc. The method can be used for bearing capacity, earth pressure, and slope stability analyses. It is applicable for: (1)Design and failure conditions; (2)short and long-term analyses; (3)soil with pore water that is either stagnant or in seepage motion; (4)layered medium; and (5)arbitrary number of degrees-of-freedom of structure or support.

Subject Headings: Soil analysis | Failure analysis | Energy methods | Soil stabilization | Plastic analysis | Support structures | Load bearing capacity | Plasticity

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