Numerical analysis of the stability of inhomogeneous slopes considering partially saturated conditions

Patrick Pichler, Helmut Schweiger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


It is well accepted that rainfall could play a significant role in instability of slopes. The main objective of
the presented study is to quantify the influence of varying characteristics of water flow, its associated changes of
pore-water pressures and shear strength on the stability of simplified, but inhomogeneous, slope geometries. The
commonly used van Genuchten model was used to describe the Soil Water Characteristic Curve (SWCC)
mathematically. In the context of this study, the influence of different hydraulic behaviour of soil layers, i.e. different
SWCC, on the factor of safety (FoS) is evaluated by means of fully coupled flow-deformation analyses employing the
finite element method. To quantify the slopes’ factor of safety during rainfall events after specified times of
infiltration or evaporation, the strength reduction method was applied. In addition to various combinations of soil
layers, the influence of a water bearing high permeable soil layer between two less permeable soil layers, a situation
which is often encountered in practice, on the factor of safety has been investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationE3S Web of Conferences 9
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2016
Event3rd European Conference on Unsaturated Soils - École des Ponts Paris Tech, Paris, France
Duration: 12 Sept 201614 Sept 2016


Conference3rd European Conference on Unsaturated Soils
Abbreviated titleE-UNSAT 2016

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