Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 35-43, 2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
07 Jan 2015
Laboratory and 3-D distinct element analysis of the failure mechanism of a slope under external surcharge
N. Li and Y. M. Cheng Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
Abstract. Landslide is a major disaster resulting in considerable loss of human lives and property damages in hilly terrain in Hong Kong, China and many other countries. The factor of safety and the critical slip surface for slope stabilization are the main considerations for slope stability analysis in the past, while the detailed post-failure conditions of the slopes have not been considered in sufficient detail. There is however increasing interest in the consequences after the initiation of failure that includes the development and propagation of the failure surfaces, the amount of failed mass and runoff and the affected region. To assess the development of slope failure in more detail and to consider the potential danger of slopes after failure has initiated, the slope stability problem under external surcharge is analyzed by the distinct element method (DEM) and a laboratory model test in the present research. A more refined study about the development of failure, microcosmic failure mechanisms and the post-failure mechanisms of slopes will be carried out. The numerical modeling method and the various findings from the present work can provide an alternate method of analysis of slope failure, which can give additional information not available from the classical methods of analysis.

Citation: Li, N. and Cheng, Y. M.: Laboratory and 3-D distinct element analysis of the failure mechanism of a slope under external surcharge, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 35-43,, 2015.
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