Finite element analyses of slope stability problems using non-associated plasticity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, finite element analyses have increasingly been utilized for slope stability problems. In comparison to limit equilibrium methods, numerical analyses do not require any definition of the failure mechanism a priori and enable the determination of the safety level more accurately. The paper compares the performances of strength reduction finite element analysis (SRFEA) with finite element limit analysis (FELA), whereby the focus is related to non-associated plasticity. Displacement-based finite element analyses using a strength reduction technique suffer from numerical instabilities when using non-associated plasticity, especially when dealing with high friction angles but moderate dilatancy angles. The FELA on the other hand provides rigorous upper and lower bounds of the factor of safety (FoS) but is restricted to associated flow rules. Suggestions to overcome this problem, proposed by Davis (1968), lead to conservative FoSs; therefore, an enhanced procedure has been investigated. When using the modified approach, both the SRFEA and the FELA provide very similar results. Further studies highlight the advantages of using an adaptive mesh refinement to determine FoSs. Additionally, it is shown that the initial stress field does not affect the FoS when using a Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1101
JournalJournal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Finite element limit analysis (FELA)
  • Finite element method
  • Slope stability
  • Strength reduction technique
  • Non-associated plasticity
  • Adaptive mesh refinement
  • Initial stresses


Dive into the research topics of 'Finite element analyses of slope stability problems using non-associated plasticity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this