Slope Stability Analysis: Limit Analysis vs Strength Reduction FEA

Franz Tschuchnigg*, Simon Oberhollenzer, Ian Veigl

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Numerical techniques like the displacement based finite element method and finite element limit analyses (FELA) are utilized with increased regularity to compute ultimate limit states of slopes. Since FELA is limited to associated plasticity it is suggested to use reduced strength parameters in combination with an associated flow rule in order to model non-associated plasticity (Davis approach). Strength reduction finite element analyses (SRFEA) on the other hand could suffer from numerical instabilities when using a non-associated flow rule. Both issues may be overcome by modifications of the original Davis approach. Previous studies of 2D plane strain considerations (in drained conditions) showed the advantages of the modified Davis procedure for both, displacement based FEA in combination with a strength reduction technique and finite element limit analysis. This paper investigates on the one hand 3D FEA and on the other hand the impact of undrained soil behavior when performing strength reduction finite element analysis. In the first section of the paper, the factors of safety determined by means of drained 2D and 3D SRFEA as well as 2D FELA are compared using different strength reduction techniques. The second part deals with the comparison of undrained and drained SRFEA with focus on the evaluation of the obtained FoS, stress paths, excess pore pressures and volumetric strains.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenges and Innovations in Geomechanics - Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of IACMAG - Volume 2
Subtitle of host publicationIACMAG 2021
EditorsMarco Barla, Alice Di Donna, Donatella Sterpi
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-64518-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021
Event16th International Conference on Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics: IACMAG 2021 - Turin, Italy
Duration: 5 May 20218 May 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
ISSN (Print)2366-2557
ISSN (Electronic)2366-2565


Conference16th International Conference on Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics
Abbreviated titleIACMAG 2021


  • Finite element limit analysis
  • Slope stability
  • Strength reduction finite element analysis
  • Undrained material behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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