Evolution of strain localization in variable-width three-dimensional unsaturated laboratory-scale cut slopes

Journal of Engineering Mechanics
By: , and 

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Abstract

To experimentally validate a recently developed theory for predicting the stability of cut slopes under unsaturated conditions, the authors measured increasing strain localization in unsaturated slope cuts prior to abrupt failure. Cut slope width and moisture content were controlled and varied in a laboratory, and a sliding door that extended the height of the free face of the slope was lowered until the cut slope failed. A particle image velocimetry tool was used to quantify soil displacement in the x-y (horizontal) and x-z (vertical) planes, and strain was calculated from the displacement. Areas of maximum strain localization prior to failure were shown to coincide with the location of the eventual failure plane. Experimental failure heights agreed with the recently developed stability theory for unsaturated cut slopes (within 14.3% relative error) for a range of saturation and cut slope widths. A theoretical threshold for sidewall influence on cut slope failures was also proposed to quantify the relationship between normalized sidewall width and critical height. The proposed relationship was consistent with the cut slope experiment results, and is intended for consideration in future geotechnical experiment design. The experimental data of evolution of strain localization presented herein provide a physical basis from which future numerical models of strain localization can be validated.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evolution of strain localization in variable-width three-dimensional unsaturated laboratory-scale cut slopes
Series title Journal of Engineering Mechanics
DOI 10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0001286
Volume 143
Issue 9
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher American Society of Civil Engineers
Contributing office(s) Office of the AD Hazards
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