Dept. of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, Shiraz University, Shiraz, I. R. of Iran
Soil slopes are sometimes curved in plan rather than being straight. This curvature,
especially when it is convex, decreases the bearing capacity of the slope. Finite element method
has been used here in this research to investigate the reducing effect of curvature on bearing
capacity of a slope. Failure of soil has been assumed to be according to Mohr-Coulomb criteria;
but the flow rule of the soil has been considered unassociated. Both cohesive and frictional soils
have been used in these investigations to observe the effect of soil type on the problem.
Investigations consist of four types of cohesive soils having different strengths and four types of
frictional soils having different friction angles. The finite element model consisted of a square
footing adjacent to a slope that is convex in plan. Besides changing the curvature; the slope angle
and the footing to slope distance have also been varied to see their effects as well. Based on the
results of these investigations it has been concluded that convex curvature generally reduces the
bearing capacity and this effect is more pronounced in steeper slopes. While this reduction is
limited to 7% in case of cohesive soils it can be as high as 15% in case of frictional soils.
Therefore this effect should be considered in design of slopes that are convex in plan.