Three-dimensional strength-reduction finite element analysis of slopes: Geometric effects

T. K. Nian, R. Q. Huang, S. S. Wan, G. Q. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)


The vast majority of slopes, both natural and constructed, exhibit a complex geometric configuration and three-dimensional (3D) state, whereas slopes satisfying the assumption of plane strain (infinite length) are seldom encountered. Existing research mainly emphasizes the 3D dimensions and boundary effect in slope stability analysis; however, the effect of complex geometric ground configuration on 3D slope stability is rarely reported. In this paper, an elastoplastic finite-element method using strength-reduction techniques is used to analyze the stability of special 3D geometric slopes. A typical 3D slope underlain by a weak layer with groundwater is described to validate the numerical modeling, safety factor values, and critical slip surface for the 3D slope. Furthermore, a series of special 3D slopes with various geometric configurations are analyzed numerically, and the effects of turning corners, slope gradient, turning arcs, and convexand concave-shaped surface geometry on the stability and failure characteristics of slopes under various boundary conditions are discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-588
Number of pages15
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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