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Indexed in Scopus Compendex and Geobase Elsevier, Chemical Abstract Services-USA, Geo-Ref Information Services-USA

ISSN 0974-5904, Volume 05, No. 05

Information Services-USA ISSN 0974-5904, Volume 05, No. 05 O c t o b e r 2
Information Services-USA ISSN 0974-5904, Volume 05, No. 05 O c t o b e r 2

October 2012, P.P. 1100-1109

Finite Element Analysis of Road Cut Slopes using Hoek & Brown Failure Criterion

A. KAINTHOLA, P. K. SINGH, A. B. WASNIK, M. SAZID and T. N. SINGH

Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India-400076 Email: ashutoshkainthola@yahoo.in, psingh.geo@gmail.com, wasnik.ashwin@gmail.com, sazidmohd@gmail.com, tnsingh@iitb.ac.in

Abstract: The failure of cut slopes along highways can be disastrous, especially along the hills. The slope collapses can lead to huge economic losses as well as puts human life in grave danger. The state highway-72, connecting the Poladpur town to Mahabaleshwar, is infested with problem of slope instability. The SH-72 remains closed during

the monsoon season. For the first time a study has been carried to assess the health of cut slopes along the highway.

A finite element code has been used for seven chosen road sections. The results throw light on the stability of slopes

during both dry and saturated conditions.

Keywords: Finite element,Hoek and Brown failure criterion, Road cut slopes, Mahableshwar

1. Introduction:

The hill stations are a favored tourist destination around the world and a major source of revenues for local development. The approach to these hilly areas is mainly roads, which isexcavated along the hill slopes. These cut slopes pose serious problem of collapse due toheavytraffic and disturbance due to construction of civil structures viz. road widening. These slopes are hardly constructed after proper scientific investigation and reckless excavation resulted vulnerability in slope instability. Failures of these cut slopes, both man-made

and natural; include rock falls, overall slope instability and landslides (Sarkar& Singh, 2010). The consequence

of such failures ranges from direct costs of removing the

failed rock material and stabilizing the slope to a wide variety of indirect costs viz. damage to vehicles and injury to passengers on highways, traffic delays, business disruptions, flooding and disruption to water supplies where rivers are blocked by slides (Hoek& Bray, 1981). The chances of a slope failure is increased many folds along the road cut which disturbs the already fragile dynamic and static stress distribution along the slope mass. The displacement of material during excavation affects the geotechnical and geo- hydrological characteristics of the hill slopes, markedly reducing the shear strength of the slope forming material to its residual or 'ultimate ' strength. Hence, engineering works undertaken on them could disturb the road cut slopes, which are in a state of near limiting equilibrium. The day-by-day increase in vehicle traffic volume also further aids to the instability of the road cut slopes.

Mahabaleshwar is one of the important tourist attractions in Maharashtra, India, with its peculiar climate and aesthetic locales. The approach to the town is made up of 41.3 Km long road (SH-72) excavated on the hills composed of basalt flows, red boles and laterite.The 17 Km stretch from Pratapgarhroad intersection is particularly vulnerable to road cut collapses due to presence of weak laterites, red boles and weathered basalts composing the slopes (Figure 1). These geo-materials undergo significant reduction in strength when they encounter water. The area having a high rainfall of 1121 mm per year, witness a number of slopes failures along the road cuts during the monsoon leading to the temporary closure of the highway. This incessant menace of slopes failures along the road cut puts the lives and properties of travellers in jeopardy. So far, no study on slope stability has been done in this area and hence the present study aims at the finite element method (FEM) analysis of these cut slopes along the 17.4 Km vulnerable tract. The study has been conducted for both the dry and saturated conditions to assess its more critical stability. Seven locationswere chosen for the FEM safety analysis with their distinct geometry and material composition based on field observation and record. The study employs Geological Strength Index (GSI) and Hoek and Brown failure criterion for the estimation of few input parameters for the FEM analysis (Hoek, 2000; Hoek et al., 2002). The analysis divulges information on the deformational mechanics of the cut slopes as well as the effect of water ingress on the material strength and the overall slope stability.

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A. KAINTHOLA, P. K. SINGH, A. B. WASNIK, M. SAZID and T. N. SINGH

P. K. SINGH, A. B. WASNIK, M. SAZID and T. N. SINGH Figure 1: Google Image

Figure 1: Google Image of the Study Area with Marked Locations

2. Geology of the Study Area:

The study area falls under the western Deccan plateau province in India. The Deccan traps in Western India are the largest accretion of continental lava flows covering an area of 518,000km 2 (Beane, et al., 1986).Mahabaleshwar area is composed of well exposed flows of Wai sub-group (Figure 2). The Wai-group consists of Poladpur formation at the base, Ambenali formation in the middle and the topmost Mahabaleshwar formation (Table 1). There is reported that the area have 41 to 47 flows, with a total thickness of approximately 1150m (Konda, 1971; Najafi et al, 1981). Najafi et al. (1981) classified Mahabaleshwar area into three distinct formations on the basis of trace element geochemistry.

Table 1: Stratigraphic Sequence of Wai Sub-Group (after K.V. Subbarao, M. S. Bodas, S. F. R. Khadri and J. L. BEane, 2000,)

Formation

Field Characteristics

Mahabaleshwar

Well defined, large and simple flows, oxidised flow tops/ lateritic. Well preserved bole horizon

Ambenali

Well defined, large and simple with red, oxidised flows. Presence of Bole horizons.

Poladpur

Well defined, large and simple plagioclase phyric flows with fine grained matrix.

They have concluded that the Mahabaleshwar and Poladpur formations show evidences of crustal contamination, while the Ambenali is relatively uncontaminated and olivine rich. Nine red bole marker beds are recognized in Poladpur-Mahabaleshwar horizon besides one green bole layer. These red bole horizons are more prominent in the Ambenali and Mahabaleshwar formations. Mahabaleshwar formation

at upper reaches

laterization(Babita&Jadhav, 2010). The presence of these bole horizons is critical for cut slope stability.

3.

Classification:

An extensive field investigation was carried out to assess the geomechanical properties of the road cut slopes along 17 km patch of the state highway-72 from Pratapgarh road intersection till the Mahabaleshwar town. Seven vulnerable road sections (M1- M7) were identified for stability analysis (Figure 1). Location M1 and M2 are 8m to 10m high steep slopes, composed of lateriteandare situated near Mahabaleshwar along Sh-72 (Figure 2). LocationM3 is 15 m high vertical slope composed of 15 m weathered basalt having a 30cm thick red bole layer (Figure 3). Location M4 and M5 are also steep cut composed of fresh severely jointed basalt. Slope M5 is underlain by 1.8cm thick red bole layer, which tapers in the direction of Mahabaleshwar. The red bole has a varying thickness at the location ranging from 0.5m to 2.5 m (Figure 4). Slopes M6 and M7 are composed of highly decomposed weathered basalt. The original discontinuity pattern is preserved along these slopes though they have undergone extreme level of weathering.

shows marked

Field

Investigation

and Geo-mechanical

International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering ISSN 0974-5904, Vol. 05, No. 05, October 2012, pp. 1100-1109

Finite Element Analysis of Road Cut Slopes using Hoek & Brown Failure Criterion

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Cut Slopes using Hoek & Brown Failure Criterion 1102 Figure 2: Geological Map of the Study

Figure 2: Geological Map of the Study Area (Modified After Choudhary, B., Jadhav, G., (2010)

3.

Classification:

An extensive field investigation was carried out to assess the geomechanical properties of the road cut slopes along 17 km patch of the state highway-72 from Pratapgarh road intersection till the Mahabaleshwar town. Seven vulnerable road sections (M1- M7) were identified for stability analysis (Figure 1). Location M1

Geo-mechanical

Field

Investigation

and

and M2 are 8m to 10m high steep slopes, composed of lateriteandare situated near Mahabaleshwar along Sh-72 (Figure 2). LocationM3 is 15 m high vertical slope composed of 15 m weathered basalt having a 30cm thick red bole layer (Figure 3). Location M4 and M5 are also steep cut composed of fresh severely jointed basalt. Slope M5 is underlain by 1.8cm thick red bole layer, which tapers in the direction of Mahabaleshwar.

bole layer, which tapers in the direction of Mahabaleshwar. Figure 3 (a & b): A View

Figure 3 (a & b): A View of Mahabaleshwar Field along SH-72

3 (a & b): A View of Mahabaleshwar Field along SH-72 Figure 4: Jointed Basalt Overlying

Figure 4: Jointed Basalt Overlying Red Bole Layer along SH-72, Mahabaleshwar

The red bole has a varying thickness at the location ranging from 0.5m to 2.5 m (Figure 4). Slopes M6 and M7 are composed of highly decomposed weathered basalt. The original discontinuity pattern is preserved along these slopes though they have undergone extreme level of weathering.

The rock mass strength parameters were obtained using the Hoek- Brown (HB) failure criterion aided by the laboratory tests on the samples. The failure criterion allows for the reliable assessment of rock mass strength parameters. The HB failure criterion employs intact uniaxial compressive strength ( , GeologicalStrength Index (GSI),the joint surface property and the disturbance factor,D(Marinos et al, 2005 andLiet

and the disturbance factor,D(Marinos et al, 2005 andLiet International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering ISSN
and the disturbance factor,D(Marinos et al, 2005 andLiet International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering ISSN

International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering ISSN 0974-5904, Vol. 05, No. 05, October 2012, pp. 1100-1109

A. KAINTHOLA, P. K. SINGH, A. B. WASNIK, M. SAZID and T. N. SINGHal.,2008).For fewsamples, point load tests were used for the estimation of their compressive strength, where

al.,2008).For fewsamples, point load tests were used for the estimation of their compressive strength, where required size and sample were not obtained (Singh et al., 2012). The Hoek& Brown failure criterion can be expressed as:

The Hoek& Brown failure criterion can be expressed as: Where, stresses at failure. is the uniaxial

Where,

Brown failure criterion can be expressed as: Where, stresses at failure. is the uniaxial strength of

stresses at failure. is the uniaxial strength of intact rock.

are

major

and

minor

effective

strength of intact rock. are major and minor effective principal Figure 5: Relationships between Major and

principal

of intact rock. are major and minor effective principal Figure 5: Relationships between Major and Minor

Figure 5: Relationships between Major and Minor Principal Stresses for Hoek-Brown and Equivalent Mohr-Coulomb Criteria (Hoek, Wood and Shah, 1992).

, α =
,
α =

The HB parameters were converted to equivalent Mohr coulomb parameters. This is done by fitting an average linear relationship to the curve generated by solving

linear relationship to the curve generated by solving equation minor principal stressvalues which are defined by

equation

minor principal stressvalues which are defined by σ 1, σ 3 , σ 3max as shown inFigure 5.The fitting process involves balancing areas above and below the Mohr-Coulomb plot which results in the following equations for the angle of friction (ϕ’) and cohesive strength (c’) (Hoek- Brown, 2002).

for

a

range

of

cohesive strength (c’) (Hoek- Brown, 2002). for a range of Where, = The calculations for the
cohesive strength (c’) (Hoek- Brown, 2002). for a range of Where, = The calculations for the

Where, =

strength (c’) (Hoek- Brown, 2002). for a range of Where, = The calculations for the conversion

The calculations for the conversion of HB rock mass parameters into equivalent Mohr Coulomb parameters were derived using the Rocscience's freeware RocLab(RosScience, 2012). The material properties obtained for simulation are given in table 2 and 3 for dry and saturated conditions respectively.

All the tests for geotechnical parameters were conducted in the laboratory for the dry and saturated conditions, while their GSI was estimated based in field observation and information’s. The m i valueswere given to the rock type based on the recommendations by Hoek

(Hoek-Brown, 2002). These strength parameters were used as input indexes for the numerical model for the analyses of cut slopes.

for the numerical model for the analyses of cut slopes. Table 2: The Averaged Strength Parameters

Table 2: The Averaged Strength Parameters (dry condition)

Location

Uniaxial compressive strength σ Ci (MPa)

GSI

Ei

Cohesion

Phi (φ)

Shear stress

(GPa)

(MPa)

(deg)

σ

T (MPa)

M1

5

25

5

0.158

23.07

 

0.002

M2

3.5

25

4.5

0.110

23.07

 

0.001

M3

8

30

8

0.282

24.60

 

0.004

M4

54

55

36

3.554

38.01

 

0.091

M5

53

45

38

3.088

34.99

 

0.043

M6

5

20

2

0.138

21.49

 

0.001

M7

4

25

3

0.189

22.4

 

0.0014

International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering ISSN 0974-5904, Vol. 05, No. 05, October 2012, pp. 1100-1109

Finite Element Analysis of Road Cut Slopes using Hoek & Brown Failure Criterion

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Table 3: Averaged Strength Parameters (Wet Condition)

 

Uniaxial compressive strength σ Ci (MPa)

     

Angle of

Shear stress σ T (MPa)

Location

GSI

Ei

(GPa)

Cohesion

(MPa)

internal friction

(φ)(deg)

M1

3

25

4

0.095

23.07

0.001

M2

2.5

25

3.5

0.076

22.25

0.001

M3

6

30

5.5

0.211

24.60

0.003

M4

46

55

24

3.028

38.01

0.077

M5

47

45

28

2.688

34.99

0.037

M6

4.1

20

1.7

0.118

21.1

0.001

M7

3.2

25

2.3

0.169

21.4

0.001

4. Finite Element Analysis:

There are numerous tools to gauge into health of a slope viz., physical methods, empirical methods, mathematical methods and numerical methods (Verma et al., 2011; Sarkar& Singh, 2008). The numerical methods allow the analysis of slope stability problems involving complexities related to geometry, material anisotropy and nonlinear behavior (Li et al, 2009; Kainthola et al., 2011). They simulate the physical behaviorof earth material using computational tools without the need to simplify the problem (Alkasawneh et al., 2008).Numerical methods such as the Finite Element Method (FEM) have now been successfully applied to slope stability analysis over the years. It is now assumed as one of the best alternative over traditional limit equilibrium methods, because of less number of prior assumptions required for the solution (Hammah et al., 2009; Kainthola et al., 2012). A primary advantage of FEM is their versatility i.e., they can model a broad range of continuous and discontinuous rock mass behaviors whether it is planar, rotational or wedge type failure. Though most FEM codes can only model small displacement but it can include material heterogeneity, non-linear behavior, as well as complex boundary conditions (Eberhardt, 2003). The gravity increase method (Swan &Seo, 1999) and strength reduction method (Matsui & San, 1992)are the most widely used methods to estimate the factor of safety (FOS) of a slope. One of the most common methods applied in calculating factor of safety along cut slopes is through Shear Strength Reduction (SSR) approach. The Shear Strength Reduction technique in the finite element method involves successive reduction (by some factors, called strength reduction factor, SRF)

in the shear strength of the slope forming material until it fails, which is indicated by the non-convergence to a solution of the finite element model (Griffiths and Lane,

1999).

'

c

'

tanφ

τ

=

+

F

F

F

Where τ is the shear strength of the material and F is the strength reduction factor (SRF). The approach can be used for materials following both the linear Mohr- Coulomb strength criteria and non-linear generalized Hoek-Brown criteria (Hammah et al, 2002). The terms SRF and FOS have been used interchangeably henceforth in this article.

The present analysis was carried out in a finite element code for the seven sections along the 17 km patch of SH-72. The geometry ofFE model created for the seven slopes is based on the fielded inspection of the cut slopes (Figure 6). The effective slope length, pertaining to the collapse hazard has been considered for the analysis. Theslope models have been uniformly discretized using a four noded quadrilateral mesh with 1200 elements to fasten up the calculations (Cook et al. 1972). Only gravity induced stresses was applied on the model. The analysis was carriedout twice to gauge into the stability and deformational aspects under both dry and saturated conditions. The data from laboratory as well as field investigation was used as the input parameter for the model. Initial HB failure parameters were calculated which were converted into the equivalent Mohr-Coulomb parameters to be used in the model.

International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering ISSN 0974-5904, Vol. 05, No. 05, October 2012, pp. 1100-1109

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P. K. SINGH, A. B. WASNIK, M. SAZID and T. N. SINGH Figure 6: FE Models

Figure 6: FE Models for the Analyzed Cut Slopes

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Finite Element Analysis of Road Cut Slopes using Hoek & Brown Failure Criterion

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Cut Slopes using Hoek & Brown Failure Criterion 1106 Figure 7 : FE Results for the

Figure 7: FE Results for the Analyzed Cut Slopes Depicting Maximum Shear Strain Concentration along the Slope

5. Results and Discussion:

The problem of the landslides is ubiquitous along this highway, which forces it to be halted during monsoon season. To tackle this menace of slope failure the

17kmlong vulnerable patch of cutslopeswas analyzed in a finite element code. The seven locations based on the lithology and slope geometry were chosen for the examination. The analysis was carried out for both dry

International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering ISSN 0974-5904, Vol. 05, No. 05, October 2012, pp. 1100-1109

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A. KAINTHOLA, P. K. SINGH, A. B. WASNIK, M. SAZID and T. N. SINGH

as well as saturated conditions for their FOS (Table 4).

The cut slope M1 composed of laterite was found to be critically stable under the dry condition with an FOS of 1.21, while it showed prominent collapse under the saturated conditions. Slope M2 was relatively stable under the dry conditions while it was theoretically stable under the saturated conditions. Slope M3, composed of weathered basalt was critically stable under the dry condition, while the introduction of water led to the failure of slope in the FEM model. The cut slopes M4 and M3 were composed of hard basalts, which were relatively stable under both dry and saturated conditions, but deteriorate with time due to presence of discontinuities. The cut slope M6, failed due to reduction in strength in the FEM model, while it was found to be stable under dry conditions. The cut slope M7, near the road intersection to Pratapgarh, was be stable under both dry and saturated conditions.

A study wasalso carried out to judge the deformational

characteristics of the slope. The strain generation along the slope face was analyzed for both dry and saturated

condition at the critical SRF (C SRF) and an SRF higher above the C SRF (Figure 8 & 9). The highest strain was developed at the toe region in both the cases. The strain generation was higher in dry condition as compared to the saturated conditions due to brittleness in the rock mass. The strain generated for each slope was higher at an SRF above C SRF. This is due to the drastic increase in stress above the C SRF (Kainthola et. al., 2011).

Table 4: The FOS Calculated for the Cut Slopes.

 

Critical

Critical

SRF/

SRF/

Location

FOS

FOS

(Dry)

(Saturated)

M1

1.21

0.8

M2

1.48

1.01

M3

1.16

0.86

M4

2.33

1.6

M5

1.9

1.75

M6

1.09

0.94

M7

2.28

1.15

1.9 1.75 M6 1.09 0.94 M7 2.28 1.15 Figure 8: The Shear Strain Generation for the

Figure 8: The Shear Strain Generation for the Dry Condition along the Slope Length for the Analyzed Cutslopes.

Condition along the Slope Length for the Analyzed Cutslopes. Figure 9: The Shear Strain Generation for

Figure 9: The Shear Strain Generation for the Saturated Conditions along the Slope Length for the Analyzed Cut Slopes.

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For the saturated conditions,maximum strain was accumulated for cut slope M6. The strain generation was also found to depend on the slope geometry. The FEM study is in agreement with the field conditions as demonstrated by the recurrent failure of the cut slopes. The strain generation for slope M6 at a FOS higher above the critical FOS was highest, its value being, 0.003. This high value signifies the slope collapse at the region, different for various studied slopes, depending on the slope geometry.

6. Conclusion:

For the first time stability, study has been conducted for the cut slopes in this region using the numerical technique. A 17 km patch along the SH-72 was analyzed with finite element code which is infested with cut slope failures problems especially during the rainy season. Seven locations were chosen for the examination. Their FOS was calculated for both the dry and saturated conditions. The cut slopes composed of laterite and weathered basalt near Mahabaleshwar, were found to be relatively stable in dry condition while they demonstrated collapse and critical stability under saturated conditions. The basalt cut slopes were rather stable. Further works need to be done in this area for the stability assessment of the jointed rock mass using discontinuum codes.

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