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1

Reliability of embankments on soft ground using constrained


optimization in the Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Soft Soil Engineering,
6-8 December 2001, Hong Kong, p.123-128, A.A. Balkema Publishers.
B. K. Low
School of Civil & Structural Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Wilson H. Tang
Department of Civil & Structural Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, China

ABSTRACT: The paper deals with the stability of reinforced embankments on soft clay foundations, and pre-
sents alternative practical and versatile procedures for easy implementation of the traditionally tedious and it-
erative limit equilibrium methods of slices, including Bishops simplified method and Spencers method of
slices. The proposed implementation procedures combine the use of constrained optimization techniques and
simple programming in the spreadsheet environment, with automatic search for the critical slip circle. The de-
terministic approach is extended to a probabilistic approach that accounts for the uncertainties and spatial
variation of the soil parameters. The advantages of the proposed methods are simplicity, transparency, versa-
tility, accuracy, and ease of implementing stochastic reliability analysis in the ubiquitous spreadsheet plat-
form, notwithstanding the implicit and iterative nature of the limit state functions.

1 INTRODUCTION Nash (1987), and Li (1992), among others. Reliabil-


ity and risk assessment of slopes have been dealt
A common failure mechanism of embankments con- with by Li and Lumb (1987), Tang (1993), Morgen-
structed on soft clay is that of rotation along nearly stern (1997), Low et al. (1998), for example.
cylindrical slip surface. The limit equilibrium meth-
ods of slices such as Bishops simplified method
have been widely used to assess stability by comput- 2 SPENCER METHOD VIA OPTIMIZATION
ing the factor of safety, defined as the ratio of the AND INCORPORATING REINFORCEMENT
available shear strength to the shear stress required
to maintain equilibrium. Partly because of the itera- 2.1 Circular slip surface incorporating horizontal
reinforcing force
tive and implicit nature of the computation and the
need to search for critical slip surface, most practi- The upper sketch in Fig. 1 shows the forces acting
tioners are satisfied with the deterministic factor of on a slice i, where Wi is the weight of the slice, Pi
safety evaluation instead of adopting a more logical the total normal force at the base of the slice, Ei and
reliability analysis which accounts for uncertainty. Ei-1 the horizontal components of the resultant side
This paper presents a practical and transparent forces at the two vertical sides of a slice, and i =
procedure for limit equilibrium stability analysis of tani, where i is the side force inclination, assumed
reinforced embankments on soft clay, based on ei- constant at internal vertical interfaces in Spencers
ther Bishops simplified method or the more rigor- (1967) original formulation, but was allowed to vary
ous Spencers method. The search for the critical from slice to slice in Spencer (1973). The following
slip circle is greatly simplified, and the extension to formulation extends Spencer (1967) by incorporat-
the invariant reliability index computation account- ing distributed reinforcing force Q(x) at the base of
ing for spatial variation is also rendered quite intui- the embankment. Derivations differ only in form,
tive and effortless. The proposed procedure is im- and aim at enhancing clarity and facilitating imple-
plemented in the ubiquitous spreadsheet platform, mentation of both the deterministic analysis and the
and requires only minimal and simple programming reliability analysis via constrained optimization.
in the programming environment of the spreadsheet. Based on Mohr-Coulomb failure criteria, the mo-
The deterministic limit equilibrium formulation is bilized shear force Ti at the base of a slice i is:
described first as it provides the performance func-
tion needed for subsequent reliability analysis. Al- Ti = [cl + (Pi ul ) tan ] F (1)
ternative deterministic formulations are covered where F is the factor of safety, c and the effective
comprehensively in Fredlund and Krahn (1977), shear strength parameters, and u the pore water
2

pressure. The values of c, and u can vary from For vertical equilibrium of the slice in Fig. 1:
slice to slice depending on the location of the mid-
point of the base of a slice. The symbol l denotes the Pi cos i = Wi i Ei + i 1 E i 1 Ti sin i (2)
length of the base of a slice. Using both i and i-1 in (2) is to allow for the fact

-10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 Wi i-1Ei-1 F DumEq


10 0.034 1.201 1.201
Embankment
xmin 5
xmax
iEi Ei-1
Q(x) dQi M forces
0 0.00 0.00
-5
Soft clay Ei Ti Array formulas
Mobilized
-10 reinforcing force i Pi Qp
slope angle (0,0) xp
H hc w Pw Mw xc yc R xmin xmax Qp = Peak reinforcing force
27 5.25 2.97 10 44 223.83 5.11 8.36 15.85 -8.35 19.751 Qp xp
80 15
3 2
Units: m, kN/m , kN/m , kN,
or other consistent set of units. framed cells contain equations
' = (P/l ) -u
# x ytop ybot E *
0 19.75 5.25 2.28 ave c W rad u l P T 44 0.00 ' dQ
1 19.16 5.25 1.03 20.50 19.00 26 43.2 1.134 0.00 1.39 27.14 32.94 54.6 0.034 19.59 0.00
2 18.58 5.25 0.00 20.50 19.00 26 56.9 1.052 0.00 1.18 47.05 37.84 76.8 0.034 39.74 0.00
3 17.35 5.25 -1.71 19.87 31.22 0 148.4 0.949 8.54 2.10 172.19 54.61 184.9 0.034 73.44 0.00
4 16.13 5.25 -3.03 19.10 22.66 0 178.1 0.826 23.70 1.80 218.77 34.04 322.6 0.034 97.52 0.00
5 14.91 5.25 -4.10 18.68 17.54 0 201.6 0.717 35.67 1.62 240.39 23.73 462.2 0.034 112.35 0.50
6 13.68 5.25 -4.97 18.41 18.07 0 220.6 0.619 45.36 1.50 249.56 22.60 582.0 0.034 120.76 6.53
7 12.46 5.25 -5.68 18.23 18.50 0 236.0 0.526 53.28 1.42 256.22 21.80 685.4 0.034 127.73 6.53
8 11.23 5.25 -6.26 18.11 19.12 0 248.6 0.439 59.71 1.35 261.35 21.52 770.5 0.034 133.57 6.53
9 10.01 5.10 -6.71 18.00 19.91 0 256.8 0.355 64.85 1.31 263.53 21.64 835.3 0.034 137.03 6.53
10 8.79 4.48 -7.06 17.85 20.52 0 255.0 0.274 68.84 1.27 257.21 21.72 877.5 0.034 133.48 6.53
11 7.56 3.85 -7.30 17.65 20.97 0 245.0 0.194 71.77 1.25 244.77 21.78 896.8 0.034 124.46 6.53
12 6.34 3.23 -7.44 17.46 21.27 0 233.1 0.116 73.69 1.23 232.23 21.82 895.6 0.034 114.78 6.53
13 5.11 2.61 -7.49 17.26 21.41 0 219.4 0.039 74.64 1.22 219.37 21.84 875.7 0.034 104.47 6.53
14 3.89 1.98 -7.44 17.06 21.41 0 203.7 -0.039 74.64 1.22 205.97 21.84 839.4 0.034 93.53 6.53
15 2.67 1.36 -7.30 16.83 21.27 0 186.2 -0.116 73.69 1.23 191.77 21.82 789.0 0.034 81.95 6.53
16 1.44 0.74 -7.06 16.57 20.97 0 166.8 -0.194 71.77 1.25 176.48 21.78 727.0 0.034 69.71 6.53
17 0.22 0.11 -6.71 16.26 20.52 0 145.4 -0.274 68.84 1.27 159.70 21.72 656.3 0.034 56.78 6.53
18 -1.00 0.00 -6.26 16.04 19.91 0 128.4 -0.355 64.85 1.31 147.65 21.64 583.5 0.034 48.26 1.17
19 -2.23 0.00 -5.68 16.00 19.12 0 116.9 -0.439 59.71 1.35 142.33 21.52 503.5 0.034 45.56 0.00
20 -3.45 0.00 -4.97 16.00 18.50 0 104.3 -0.526 53.28 1.42 136.84 21.80 415.9 0.034 43.39 0.00
21 -4.68 0.00 -4.10 16.00 18.07 0 88.8 -0.619 45.36 1.50 129.07 22.60 322.6 0.034 40.56 0.00
22 -5.90 0.00 -3.03 16.00 17.54 0 69.9 -0.717 35.67 1.62 117.74 23.73 227.3 0.034 36.83 0.00
23 -7.12 0.00 -1.71 16.00 22.66 0 46.4 -0.826 23.70 1.80 110.64 34.04 122.9 0.034 37.60 0.00
24 -8.35 0.00 0.00 16.00 31.22 0 16.7 -0.949 8.54 2.10 112.13 54.61 0.0 0.034 44.85 0.00
80

Undrained shear strength profile of soft clay Embankment


depth 0 1 3.3 5.7 8.3 9.7 (m) clay cm m m
cu 36 30.4 17.4 18.7 22.7 24.9 (kPa) 16 19 26 20.5
(kN/m3) (kPa) (o) (kN/m3)

Figure 1. Deterministic analysis of a reinforced embankment on soft clay foundation. The reinforcement force is assumed to
act horizontally. (Based on Spencer's method of slices, extended to incorporate reinforcement and automatic search for criti-
cal slip circle, with a convenient option for Bishop's simplified method.)
3

that a slice adjacent to a water-filled tension crack All the columns in Fig. 1 contain formulas or
would have 0 = 0, different from the constant user-defined functions. During the search for critical
value of the other vertical interfaces. slip circle these columns are updated automatically.
Horizontal equilibrium of the slice requires that: The first three columns contain simple geometrical
formulas defining the x coordinates, the ground and
Ei = Ei 1 + Pi sin i Ti cos i dQi (3) embankment surface profile (ytop), and the slip circle
where dQi (= Qi-1 Qi) is the differential horizontal (ybot). These formulas are functions of embankment
reinforcing force acting on a slice. Substituting Eqs. slope angle , embankment height H, depth of ten-
3 and 1 in Eq. 2 and rearranging, one obtains: sion crack hc, the circle center (xc, yc) and radius R.
The fourth column labeled ave is computed by a
Wi (i i 1 )Ei 1 + i dQi user-defined function based on unit weights along
1 the entire vertical thickness of a slice. The columns
(c ' l ul tan ')(sin i i cos i ) labeled c and are computed by user-defined func-
Pi = F
(4)
tions based on the y coordinate of the mid-point of
i sin i + cos i the base of a slice and user-input shear strength
1 variation with depth, the latter as given by the depth
+ tan ' (sin i i cos i ) and cu values shown in the lower part of Fig. 1. The
F user defined functions for ytop, cohesion c at the base
of a slice, ave and dQ are shown in Fig. 2.
The algebraic manipulation that results in Eq. 4
involves opening the term (Pi ul)tan of Eq.1, an
action legitimate only if (Pi ul) > 0, or, 2.2 Constrained optimization to satisfy equilibrium
equivalently, if the effective normal stress i ( = and search for critical slip circle
(Pi/l u) at the base of a slice is non-negative. For efficiency of display and speed of computation,
Hence, after obtaining the critical slip surface in the Eqs. 5 and 6 have been entered as array formulas in
section to follow, one needs to check that i > 0 at the cells labeled forces and M in Fig. 1.
the base of all slices and Ei > 0 at all the slice An arbitrary slip circle was specified with (xc, yc,
interfaces. Otherwise, one should consider modeling R) = (4, 7, 12). The values of and F were initially
tension cracks for slices near the upper exit end of 0 and 1, which produce nonzero values in the cells
the slip surface. For example, if the embankment in labeled forces and M. This means force and mo-
Fig. 1 is analyzed without tension crack (hc = 0), ment equilibrium were not satisfied for the arbitrar-
some slices near the crown of the embankment ily chosen and F values.
would show negative i and Ei values. The optimization routine Solver in Microsoft Ex-
The first E value at the upper exit point of a slip cel was invoked, to minimize the cell DumEq (con-
surface is either zero (if there is no tension crack) or taining the dummy equation =F*1), by changing
equal to the resultant thrust of the hydrostatic water (automatically) the cells , F, xc, yc, and R, subject
pressure in the tension crack if a crack exists. to the constraints that 2 2, F 0.1, forces =
Knowing the first boundary value E0, all the 0, M = 0, xmax H/tan(radians(omega)), xmin
remaining Ei values can be calculated successively, 0, and yc H. The Solver option Use automatic
as Spencer (1973) suggested. In the spreadsheet set- scaling was also activated. Solver obtains the and
up (Fig. 1) based on the above formulations, the minimum F values (Fig. 1) which satisfy these con-
sequence of computation is Pi by Eq. 4, then Ti by straints within seconds, together with the center and
Eq. 1, and Ei by Eq. 3. The computations are radius of the critical slip circle (xc, yc, and R). This
automatic and explicit for given values of F and . constrained optimization approach of automatically
The overall horizontal equilibrium is: locating the critical slip circle is perhaps a more effi-
[T cos( ) P sin( )] + dQ
i i i i i Pw = 0 (5) cient alternative to the commonly used strategy that
systematically tries different centers of circle on a
where dQi is the reinforcing force on the sliding grid pattern. Note however that use of Solver re-
mass, and Pw the known horizontal water thrust in a quires care and experience, and inconsistent or
water-filled tension crack. The depth of the tension wrong constraints may lead to no solution.
crack is based on hc = 2c/Ka. The overall moment
equilibrium is, for a circular slip surface:
2.3 Comparison with Low and Tang (1997a)
(T W sin ) R M
i i w + MQ (6) A semi-analytical formulation was given in Low and
Tang (1997a) for stability analysis of reinforced em-
where Mw is the overturning moment due to the wa-
bankments on soft ground, based on moment equi-
ter pressure in the tension crack and MQ the over-
librium and total stress analysis (with u = 0 in the
turning moment of the sum of the horizontal dQi
soft clay). For the embankment case of Fig. 1, a
with respect to the center of rotation.
minimum factor of safety of 1.187 is obtained using
4

Low and Tang (1997a)s semi-analytical formulation bankment and cu in the foundation soft clay.
with search. The input parameters are as given in While Low and Tang (1997a) is sufficiently accu-
Fig. 10 of the 1997 paper, except that a tension crack rate and convenient for analysis of reinforced em-
hc = 2.97 m is now used instead of hc = 0. bankments on soft clay based on total stress analysis,
The slight difference (1%) in the computed factor the Spencers method of slices via optimization as
of safety, 1.201 in Fig. 1 versus 1.187 by the 1997 presented here is more versatile as it can be used for
procedure, is due to the approximate nature of the either total or effective stress analysis.
term involving tanm in the 1997 paper. The com-
parison would show exact agreement if m = 0, i.e.,
2.4 Convenient option for Bishops simplified
if shear strength is characterized only by cm in em-
method with search for critical slip circle
Function ytop(x, omega, H) The template of Fig. 1 can be used to implement the
gradient = Tan(omega * 3.14159 / 180) popular Bishops simplified method, which assumes
If x < 0 Then ytop = 0
If x >= 0 And x < H / gradient Then ytop = x * gradient
horizontal side force resultant, meaning = 0 in the
If x >= H / gradient Then ytop = H upper sketch in Fig. 1. To do this, the values of
End Function and F are reset to 0 and 1, respectively. The optimi-
zation routine Solver is then invoked, to minimize
Function Slice_c(mid_ybot, dmax, dv, cuv, cm) the cell labeled DumEq, by changing the cells F, xc,
'comment: dv = depth vector, cuv = cu vector, Fig. 1. yc, and R, subject to the constraints that F 0.1, M
If mid_ybot > 0 Then = 0, xmax H/tan(radians(omega)), xmin 0, and
Slice_c = cm yc H. Note that whereas Spencers method as im-
Exit Function
End If
plemented in Section 2.2 requires changing and F
mid_ybot = Abs(mid_ybot) to satisfy overall force and moment equilibrium,
If mid_ybot > dmax Then 'undefined domain, Bishops simplified method as implemented here
Slice_c = 1000000 'hence assume hard stratum. fixes to be zero, and requires Solver to change F to
Exit Function satisfy M = 0. Overall force equilibrium is not sat-
End If isfied in Bishops simplified method, and the cell la-
For j = 2 To dv.Count 'array size=dv.Count beled forces would be nonzero when Bishops
If dv(j) >= mid_ybot Then
simplified method is implemented.
interp = (mid_ybot - dv(j - 1)) / (dv(j) - dv(j - 1))
Slice_c = cuv(j - 1) + (cuv(j) - cuv(j - 1)) * interp For the reinforced embankment case in Fig. 1,
Exit For Bishops simplified method yields a minimum F
End If value of 1.203, compared with Spencers method of
Next j 1.201. If reinforcement Qp is set to zero, meaning
End Function unreinforced embankment, the comparison of F val-
ues is 1.120 versus 1.117. According to Spencer
Function AveGamma(yt, yb, gm, gclay) (1967), the accuracy of the results given by Bishops
If yb < 0 Then
AveGamma = (yt * gm + Abs(yb) * gclay) / (yt - yb)
simplified method is due to the insensitivity of the
Else: AveGamma = gm moment equation to the inclination of the inter-slice
End If forces.
End Function

Function dQ(xL, xR, xp, Qp) 3 RELIABILITY ANALYSIS


gradQ = Qp / xp
Select Case xR The deterministic analysis in the previous section
Case Is < 0: dQ = 0
Case 0 To xp
does not reflect the uncertainties of the input pa-
Select Case xL rameters. Ambiguities could also arise from different
Case Is < 0: dQ = xR * gradQ definitions given to the factor of safety of reinforced
Case Is >= 0: dQ = (xR - xL) * gradQ embankments on soft ground. A more rational ap-
End Select proach is to evaluate the reliability index as defined
Case Is > xp by Hasofer and Lind (1974).
Select Case xL
Case Is >= xp: dQ = 0
Case Is < xp: dQ = (xp - xL) * gradQ 3.1 Alternative perspective of the Hasofer-Lind
End Select index
End Select
End Function The classical reliability analysis procedure (FORM)
based on transformed space is widely described (e.g.
Figure 2. User-created functions used in Fig. 1, coded in
Ang and Tang, 1984). Alternatively, a practical and
the Visual Basic (VBA) programming environment of Mi- transparent procedure that achieves the same result
crosoft Excel 97 or later. was presented in Low and Tang (1997b), based on
5

the perspective of an expanding ellipsoid tangent to in which [R]1 is the inverse of the correlation ma-
the limit state surface in the original space of the trix and the failure region. The and F values are
random variables. Concepts of coordinate transfor- initialized to 0 and 1 respectively. The xi values
mation are not required. Correlation is accounted for (Fig. 3) are initially assigned their respective mean
by setting up the quadratic form directly. Iterative values. The Solver routine in Microsoft Excel is in-
searching and partial derivatives are automatic using voked to minimize the quadratic form (a 10-
constrained optimization in spreadsheet. The method dimensional ellipsoid in original space), by chang-
may therefore be attractive for cases with compli- ing the ten random variables (xi), the value of ,
cated or non-explicit performance functions. This in- and the slip circle (xc, yc, and R), subject to the con-
tuitive approach is extended below to a reliability straints 2 2, forces = 0, M=0, xmax
analysis of reinforced embankments in which the H/tan(radians(omega)), xmin 0, yc H, and that
strength of the soft clay below the embankment is the ten random variables (xi) be greater than zero.
modeled as one-dimensional random field to account The Solver option Use automatic scaling was also
for spatial variation. activated.
The reliability index is 1.565. The critical slip
circle obtained by Solver is at xc = 4.75 m, yc = 7.40
3.2 Correlation matrix and autocorrelation m, and R = 14.30 m. The ten xi values in Fig. 3 de-
To illustrate, reliability analysis will be performed fine the most probable failure point, where the dis-
on the reinforced embankment of Fig. 1, treating persion ellipsoid touches the limit state surface (F =
some of the parameters as correlated random vari- 1) of the reliability-based critical slip surface.
ables. The approach is similar to Low and Tang With the same statistical input as Fig. 3, Low and
(1997a), except that the performance function is now Tang (1997)s procedure (with lever arm = z) yields
based on the extended Spencers method of slices of a reliability index of 1.556.
Section 2, and hence more implicit. The random A mean Qp value of 250 kN/m is required if a re-
variables are assumed to be normally distributed, liability index of 2.50 is desired, assuming the coef-
with mean and standard deviations as shown in Fig. ficient of variation of Qp is 10%.
3. The values of cu, m, cm and m in the lower part of In Fig. 3, at the most probable failure point repre-
Fig. 1 now appear as mean values in Fig. 3. The sented by the xi values, the cm and m values are
standard deviations of cu are assumed equal to 15% slightly larger than their mean values. This is due to
of their respective mean values. The following the assumption of a positive correlation coefficient
established negative exponential model is adopted to (0.5) between m and cm, and between m and m.
model the spatial variation of the cu values:
[ Depth(i ) Depth( j )] 3.4 Effect of closer discretization of random field

ij = e
(7) In the analysis above the nonlinear undrained shear
An autocorrelation distance = 3 m is used. A 10 strength profile is represented by six cu points at dif-
10 correlation matrix is set up. The first four entries ferent depths (Fig. 3). If five additional values are
are the coefficients of the peak value of the mobi- interpolated mid-way between the original six
lized reinforcing force (Qp) and embankment proper- depths, the resulting set of eleven cu points is an
ties m, cm and m. The other entries are the correla- equally valid representation of the cu profile. This
tion coefficients of the cu values at the six nodes at 11-point cu profile (with standard deviations equal to
various depths. A vector (xi mi)/i of 10 compo- 15% of their respective mean values, as before), to-
nents is also set up, where mi and i are the mean gether with the other four random variables, leads to
and standard deviation of a random variable xi. The a 15-component xn vector and a 1515 correlation
xi values shown in Fig. 3 are the values referred to matrix instead of the 1010 matrix shown in Fig. 3.
by all the equations (Section 2) which define the per- Reliability analysis with the 1515 correlation ma-
formance function. The mean values (mi) are used trix obtains a index of 1.552, instead of 1.565 in
only in Eq. 8 below for . Fig. 3. Thus discretization of the one-dimensional cu
random field has little effect on the computed in-
dex, provided the spacing of discretization is smaller
3.3 Search for reliability-based critical slip circle than the autocorrelation distance of Eq. 7.
The following quadratic form of the Hasofer-Lind
reliability index is entered as an array formula using
the matrix functions of the spreadsheet: 4 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

x mi
T Spencers method has been extended to enable sta-
1 x mi
= min i [R] i (8) bility analysis of reinforced embankments on soft
x
i i clay foundations. Search for the critical slip circle is
automatic using the constrained optimization feature
6

mean StDev xn Correlation matrix


xi mi m cm m Qp cu1 cu2 cu3 cu4 cu5 cu6 cu (kPa)
(x-m)/
0 10 20 30 40 50
m 21.113 20.5 1.03 0.60 1 0.5 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 m
0
cm 19.946 19 2.85 0.33 0.5 1 -0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 cm
1
m 26.725 26 2.60 0.28 0.5 -0.3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 m
Qp 79.26 80 8.00 -0.09 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 dv 3 Qp
cu1 32.186 36 5.40 -0.71 0 0 0 0 1.000 0.717 0.333 0.150 0.063 0.039 0 30.60 4 36 41.40 cu1

depth
cu2 26.198 30.4 4.56 -0.92 0 0 0 0 0.717 1.000 0.465 0.209 0.088 0.055 1 25.84 530.4 34.96 cu2
cu3 14.592 17.4 2.61 -1.08 0 0 0 0 0.333 0.465 1.000 0.449 0.189 0.118 3.3 14.79 617.4 20.01 cu3
cu4 7 cu4
15.344 18.7 2.81 -1.20 0 0 0 0 0.150 0.209 0.449 1.000 0.420 0.264 5.7 15.90 18.7 21.51
8
cu5 20.255 22.7 3.41 -0.72 0 0 0 0 0.063 0.088 0.189 0.420 1.000 0.627 8.3 19.30 22.7 26.11 cu5
9
cu6 23.221 24.9 3.74 -0.45 0 0 0 0 0.039 0.055 0.118 0.264 0.627 1.000 9.7 21.17 24.9 28.64 cu6
10
0 1 3.3 5.7 8.3 9.7 dv
Mean trend + 1 st.dev.
Correlation coefficients of cu were autofilled.
Array formula 1.565
= SQRT(MMULT(TRANSPOSE(xn),MMULT(MINVERSE(crmat),xn)))

Figure 3. Correlation matrix and array formula of index, for reliability analysis of the reinforcement embankment on soft
clay shown in Fig. 1. The two templates are easily coupled by replacing the values Qp, cm, m, m and cu profile of Fig. 1
with formulas that point to the values of the xi column of this figure.

of spreadsheet packages. Only simple codes (which Fredlund, D.G., and Krahn, J. 1977. Comparison of slope sta-
are shown) in the programming environment of the bility methods of analysis. Canadian Geot. J. 14:429-439.
Hasofer, A. M. and Lind, N. C. 1974. Exact and invariant sec-
spreadsheet are required. The popular Bishops ond-moment code format. J. of Engineering Mechanics,
method can also be implemented without extra ef- 100: 111-121, ASCE, New York.
fort, by a slight change when specifying the optimi- Li, K.S. and Lumb, P. 1987. Probabilistic design of slopes. Ca-
zation setting. The transition from deterministic to a nadian Geotech. J. 24(4): 520-535.
stochastic reliability analysis involving spatial varia- Li, K.S. 1992. A unified solution scheme for slope stability
tion is described. The procedure does not involve or- analysis. Proc. of the Sixth International Symposium on
Landslides, New Zealand, 1: 481-486. Rotterdam: Balkema.
thogonal transformation (required in the classical Low, B.K. and Wilson H. Tang, 1997a. Reliability analysis of
approach) of the correlation matrix, and is able to reinforced embankments on soft ground. Canadian Geo-
search for a reliability-based critical slip surface. tech. J., 34(5): 672-685.
The effect of different discretization of the one- Low, B.K. and Wilson H. Tang, 1997b. Efficient reliability
dimensional cu random field of the soft clay on the evaluation using spreadsheet. J. of Engineering Mechanics,
123(7): 749-752, ASCE, New York.
computed reliability index is found to be insignifi- Low, B.K., Gilbert, R.B., and Wright, S.G. 1998. Slope reli-
cant, provided the spacing of discretization is less ability analysis using generalized method of slices. J. of
than the autocorrelation distance. Geotech. and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 124(4): 350-
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presented above can be further refined. For example, Morgenstern, N.R. 1997. Toward landslide risk assessment in
in landslide risk assessment, model uncertainty and practice. In Cruden, D.M. and Fell, R. (eds), Proc. of the In-
ternational Workshop on Landslide Risk Assessment: 15-24.
human uncertainty may need to be considered in ad- Rotterdam: Balkema.
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More work remains to be done towards a more com- methods of stability analysis. In M.G. Anderson and K.S.
prehensive risk assessment approach. The present Richards (eds), Slope Stability: 11-75. New York: Wiley.
study may contribute component blocks necessary Spencer, E. 1967. A method of analysis of the stability of em-
bankments assuming parallel inter-slice forces. Geotech-
for such a final edifice, and may also help to over- nique, 17:11-26.
come a language barrier that hampers wider adop- Spencer, E. 1973. Thrust line criterion in embankment stability
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