Reliability Analysis of the Seismic Stability of Embankments Reinforced with Stone Columns


Geotechnical engineers have always been concerned with the stabilization of slopes. For this purpose, various methods such as retaining walls, piles, and geosynthetics may be used to increase the safety factor of slopes prone to failure. The application of stone columns may also be another potential alternative for slope stabilization. Such columns have normally been used for cohesive soil improvement. Most slope analysis and design is based on deterministic approach i.e a set of single valued design parameter are adopted and a set of single valued factor of safety (FOS) is determined. Usually the FOS is selected in view of the understanding and knowledge of the material parameters, the problem geometry, the method of analysis and the consequences of failure. This results in different FOS obtained by different designers. This inherent variability characteristic dictates that slope stability problem is a probabilistic problem rather than deterministic problem. Furthermore, the FOS approach cannot quantify the probability of failure or level of risk associated with a particular design situation. The objective of this study is to integrate probabilistic approach as a rational means to incorporate uncertainty in the slope stability analysis. The study was made through a hypothetical problem which includes a sensitivity analysis. The methodology is based on Monte Carlo simulation integrated in commercially available computer program SLOPE/W. The output of the analysis is presented as the probability of failure as a measure of the likelihood of the slope failure. Results of this study have verified that the probability of failure is a better measure of slope stability as compared to the factor of safety because it provides a range of value rather than a single value.