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An experimental and analytical study of slope


stability by soil nailing

Article · January 2016

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An Experimental and Analytical Study
of Slope Stability by Soil Nailing
S. Rawat
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Jaypee University of Information Technology, Waknaghat, Solan – 173234
Himachal Pradesh, India
e-mail: saurabh.rawat@juit.ac.in

A. K. Gupta
Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Jaypee University of Information Technology, Waknaghat, Solan – 173234
Himachal Pradesh, India
e-mail: ashok.gupta@juit.ac.in

ABSTRACT
In the present study, the response of the unreinforced and soil nailed slopes under a gradual increasing
surcharge load is carried out experimentally and using finite element method. The slopes are
constructed of sand size soil with two different soil slope angles of 45° and 60° with the horizontal. A
gradual increasing load at the crest is applied to observe the load vs. settlement behavior and failure
pattern for each slope angle. These soil slopes are then reinforced by installing soil nails at three
different inclinations of 0°, 15° and 30°. The failure pattern and load- settlement plots for the various
unreinforced and reinforced slopes are analyzed using finite element software PLAXIS 3D and a
comparable study with the experimental data is carried out. From the analysis, it is observed that the
failure mechanism for the various slopes is similar to the failure pattern from the model testing.
However, the maximum load carrying capacity of the slopes and the settlement of the crest of the
slopes under the surcharge load are found to be different from finite element and model testing. It is
found that soil slope of 45° with nail inclination of 0° shows the maximum increase in load bearing.
KEYWORDS: model testing, surcharge load, finite element, soil nail inclination, failure
pattern, load carrying capacity

INTRODUCTION
In recent years, soil nailing has been widely used to stabilize the steep slopes or carryout ground
improvement. It involves the use of passive inclusions, usually steel bars (known as soil nails), to
reinforce in-situ retained ground. The installation of the soil nails is progressive and is carried out
simultaneously with soil excavation in front of the retained wall. This takes place in a series of
successive phases (US Federal Highway Administration, 1999). The majority of slope stability
analyses performed in practice still use traditional limit equilibrium approaches involving methods of
slices and calculating the factor of safety. Documented failures of soil – nailed systems for the most
part are non – existent in the literature, and a few full – scale and model testing research programs has
been conducted. (Kitamura et al. 1988) studied the effect of steel bar reinforcement in vertically

- 5577 -
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5578

loaded reinforced sand slopes. A number of small-scale model tests of reinforced slopes are
conducted by (Gutierrez and Tatsuoka 1988) to measure the tensile reinforcement forces and strain
fields. Similarly a series of model tests are performed by (Hayashi et al. 1990) to investigate the
failure mechanism of steel bar reinforced cut slopes. (Huang and Tatsuoka 1994) analyzed the results
of a series of plane strain model tests for both reinforced and unreinforced sand slopes loaded with a
10 m wide strip footing. Model tests to investigate the effects of surcharge loading on the failure
mechanism of soil-nailed structures are performed by (Drabkin et al. 1995). (Long et al. 1990) studied
the importance of variables like the shape of the assumed failure surface, wall height, inclination,
length of nails and global stability of nailed soil wall.
Researchers have employed kinematical limit analysis to study the failure surface, load transfer
mechanism of the soil nailed slopes (Juran et al. 1992). A comparison between the kinematical limit
equilibrium and the model test has also been carried out which resulted in study of parameters like
nail stiffness, nail inclinations, soil stiffness and boundary conditions (Juran et al., 1992). (Juran and
Chan 1989) developed a strain compatibility approach which is based on the analogy between the
plain strain shear mechanism that develops along a potential failure surface in the actual structure and
the response of the reinforced soil materials to direct shearing. For the verification of the design
assumptions, numerical simulation of the construction process was done and the numerical results
were compared with failure observed in reduced scale laboratory model walls. (Asoka et al. 1994)
studied the development of internal force in the reinforcement using rigid plastic finite element
method. A new approach to analyze soil nailed walls using a trial wedge method is presented by
(Sheahan and Carlton 2003) on the Amherst Test wall in clay and the Clouterre test wall in sand. The
failure surface of these walls indicated evidence of relatively steep and approximately linear slip
surfaces instead of the more complex surfaces. (Patra 2005) proposed the use of optimization
technique in the design of nailed slope as the stability analysis is carried out by choosing the vertical
and inclined slices regardless of the shape of the slip surface. Study of circular wedge type failure in
soil nailed cuts by friction circle method is done by (Biswas et al. 2006). Finite element model has
been also used to study the slope failures which occurs `naturally' through the zones in which the
shear strength of the soil is insufficient to resist the shear stresses (Griffiths and Lane, 1999).
Researchers have employed model testing programmes and numerical modelling methods to find
out the most critical failure surface and factor of safety of a soil nailed slope, cut or retaining wall.
The load transfer mechanism of a soil nailed slope, the bending stiffness of the nails, orientation, nail
length, nail diameter, nail inclination, wall inclination and angle of soil friction is also analyzed to
determine the factor of safety of nailed slopes. However the verification of these parameters is only
made by carrying out a comparable study between the analytical and model testing results. With the
recent advances the validation of soil nail models can be done using Finite Element software
packages like PLAXIS 3D, GEO5, ABACUS etc.
In the present study, sand size soil is used to construct soil slopes with two different slope angles
of 45° and 60° respectively. The failure surface pattern and the load- settlement studies are carried out
for these slopes by applying an increasing surcharge on the slope crest. The soil slopes of 45° and 60°
are reinforced with the nails at three different nail inclinations of 0°, 15° and 30°. The behavior of
reinforced soil slopes are studied under the increasing surcharge loading until slope failure. The
failure slip surface and the load carrying capacity of the nailed slopes are observed during the testing
program. The unreinforced and reinforced slopes are also analyzed by using a Finite Element package
PLAXIS 3D (Brinkgreve 2001). The results obtained from the model testing are validated by the
analytical results from Finite Element Method.
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5579

MODELLING AND TESTING


Instrument
Universal Testing Machine
Servo hydraulic Universal Testing Machine (UTM) with a load frame capacity of 2000 kN is
used to apply an increasing surcharge load on the crest of soil slopes. The continuous application of
the surcharge load is simulated by applying the load at a rate of 10 N/s.
Model Box
A box of dimension 50 cm x 22 cm x 35 cm is fabricated by using perspex sheets of 4mm
thickness as shown in Fgure 1. The dimensions of model box are determined by the maximum
vertical and horizonatal test space available in the UTM. Perspex sheets are transparent sheets used to
observe the failure pattern of the slopes.

Figure 1: Model box used in testing

Backfill Material
The backfill material used for the slopes is collected from Nalagarh, District Solan (Himachal
Pradesh). Preliminary tests of soil identification are carried out in the laboratory to determine the
backfill properties. The properties of the backfill material are summarized in the table 1.

Table 1: Properties of the backfill material


Property Result
Material Sand
Grain size distribution Well graded sand (SW)
Specific gravity 2.67
Realtive Density % 33.5%
Cohesion (c) 1.37 kN/m2
Angle of friction (ϕ) 30°
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5580

Nails, Strain Gauge and Multimeter


Hollow aluminium tubes of specified length are used as nails for the soil slopes is shown in Fgure
2. The properties of the nails are given in Table 2.

Table 2: Properties of the nails


Property Value
Material Aluminium
Cross-setion area, A 78.5 mm2
Length of the nail 150 mm
Modulus of Elasticity of nail 69 GPa

Strain gages of type BKCT-3 (resistance 119.2± 0.2 ohms, gage factor: 1.92± 2% and gage length
3 mm) as shown in Fgure 2 are attached to the nails for measuring the local strain. A multimeter is
used for finding the valaues of strain measured by the strain gages.

Figure 2: Aluminium hollow nails Figure 3: Stain gages used for the test

PREPARATION OF UNREINFORCED AND REINFORCED


SOIL SLOPES
Well graded sand size soil is used to prepare slopes at predetermined slope angles of 45° and 60°
respectively by adding 5% water to the soil. The slope is prepared in layers of thickness 50 mm each
as shown in Fgure 4. A layer 50 mm thick is made as the base layer completely along the length of
model. The layer is formed by placing soil in box and lightly compacting it after every 20 mm. A fine
layer of red dye (Gulal) is used in between the layers for identification of failure pattern of the
slopes. The procedure is repeated till a complete height of 300 mm is achieved as shown in Fgure 5.
A crest width of 150 mm and the base width of 500 mm is maintained for all the slope angles.
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5581

For the modeling of reinforced slopes, the above procedure is carried out to prepare the slope at
predetermined slope angles. The nails are installed at predetermined inclination of 0°, 15° and 30°
with the help of a protactor as shown in Fgure 6. Six hollow nails, each of length 15 cm are inserted at
the face of the slope in an arrangement of 3 rows x 2 columns. Care is taken to maintain constant
vertical and horizontal spacing between nails and from the slope edges as shown in Fgure 7. Before
the nails are inserted into the slope face, strain gages are glued to the nails and connections are made
with connecting wires by soldering process.

150 mm

300 mm
50 mm

50 mm

50 mm
500 mm
50 mm

Figure 4: 50 mm layers for slope preparation Figure 5: Completed soil slope

Figure 6: Nail inclination using Protactor Figure 7: Completed soil nailed slope

TESTING PROCEDURE
The constructed soil model is mounted on the universal testing machine. A bearing plate of size
150 mm x 20 mm x 4 mm is placed on the crest slope for uniform load distribution. A gradual
increasing surcharge load is applied by the UTM at a loading rate of 5 kN/s. The load and the
corresponding settlement of the crest at which the slope fails is observed from the computer installed
with the UTM software. The slopes are then installed with nails at different inclinations and load is
applied at the crest.
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5582

Figure 8: Model mounted on UTM Figure 9: Reinforced soil slope mounted on


UTM

In addition to the load – settlement measurement, the deflection of the nails under the increasing
surcharge load is also measured. For finding the strain in nails on loading, multimeters are used which
measure the resistance on strain gages glued to nails in unstrained and strained positions. The
gradually increasing surcharge is found to induce tensile forces in nails and a change in nail strains is
observed, which is detected by strain gages. For the calculation of nail forces, strains on nails is
measured in unstrained and strained positions. After measuring resistances in strain gages, the
following formula is used to calculate strain as given by (1).
where, GF = gage factor of 1.92
∆𝑅𝑅𝑔𝑔 (1)
�𝑅𝑅
𝑔𝑔
∈= 𝐺𝐺𝐺𝐺

𝑅𝑅𝑔𝑔 = resistance of strain gage unstrained,


∆𝑅𝑅𝑔𝑔 = change in resistance from unstrained to strained condition, and
∈ = strain.
After calculating strain, stess- strain graphs are plotted for nails at 0°, 15° and 30°. The maximum
force on the nail is determined from nail force vs. load graphs plotted for top, middle and bottom nails
for both 45oand 60o reinforced slopes.

RESULTS FROM MODEL TESTING


The unreinforced and reinforced slopes are found to have a circular slip surface failure under the
surcharge loading. From Fgure 10 and Fgure 11, it is observed that the unreinforced soil slopes
initially have a settlement of the crest which ultimately leads to the failure of the slope. A slope
failure is observed for 45° slope angle whereas 60° slope angle is found to have a toe failure.
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5583

Circular slope

Figure 10: 45o slope at failure Figure 11: 60o slope at failure

The 45° reinforced slope and the 60° reinforced slope are also observed to have a circular slip
failure pattern as shown in Fgure 12 and Fgure 13 respectively. The failure pattern for both reinforced
slope angles is found to have the settlement of slope crest similar to unreinforced slopes. It is
observed from the deformation of tracer layer that the similar settlement of the slopes has occurred.
However, displacement of toe of the slopes incase of reinforced slopes is found to be smaller as
compared to unreinforced slopes.

Circular slope

Circular Toe

Figure 12: 45° reinforced slope at failure Figure 13: 60o reinforced slope at failure

As shown in Fgure 14 and Figure 15, it is observed from the load vs. settlement curves of
unreinforced slopes, load carrying capacity of 45o and 60o slopes are found as 13200 N and 11600 N
respectively. Settlements in the slopes are found out to be 9.4 mm and 11.3 mm for 45o and 60o
unreinforced slopes. The values of load carrying capacity of reinforced 45o and 60o slopes are
observed as 19400 N and 17300 N. For reinforced slopes of 45° and 60°, the settlement of slopes is
found out to be 11.7 mm and 10.6 mm. It is observed from the load – settlement behaviour of
unreinforced slopes and reinforced slopes that there is an increase in the load carrying capacity of soil
nailed slopes for all soil nail inclinations of 0°, 15° and 30°.
The maximum load carrying capacity is observed for 45° slope angle with a nail inclination of 0°.
The reinforced slope is found to carry a load of 19400 N in comparison to 13200 N which is the load
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5584

carrying capacity for the unreinforced slope of 45°. It is also observed that the settlement of the crest
for a reinforced 45° slope is 11.7 mm whereas for the same 45° unreinforced slope angle a settlement
of 9.4 mm is reached. From the load - settlement response of the slopes, it is observed that
reinforcement of soil slopes have a very little influence on the slope settlement for all soil nail
inclinations. The summary of the results is given in table 3.

Figure 14: Load – settlement of unreinforced and reinforced slope (slope angle of 45°)

Figure 15: Load – settlement of unreinforced and reinforced slope (slope angle of 60°)

The summary of the results is given in table 3. It is observed that there is an increase of 46.9% in
load carrying capacity for 45o slope when reinforced with nails at 0° and 49.1% increase for 60o slope
reinforced with 0° nail inclination.
Table 3: Summary of the results for unreinforced and reinforced slopes
Unreinforced Nail Reinforced
Slope Angle Load Settlement Inclination Load Settlement (mm)
(N) (mm) (N)
0° 19400 11.7
45o 13200 9.4 15° 17682 11.3
30° 15340 10.8
0° 17300 10.6
60o 11600 11.3 15° 16774 10.2
30° 14400 9.5
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5585

The nail force variation with increase in surcharge loading is observed for 0°, 15° and 30° nail
inclination for slopes of angle 45o and 60°. The maximum load carrying capacity is observed for nail
inclination of 0°, so the nail forces are calculated for both the slopes angles of 45° and 60° with nails
inclined at 0° as shown in Fgure 16 and Fgure 17 . The stresses on the nails are calculated from
elastic modulus of aluminium is 69 GPa and measured strain from model testing. The force on the
nail is calculated by finding the stress per unit area (78.5 mm2) of the nails.

Figure 16: Nail forces in 45o model slope with nail inclination of 0°.

Figure 17: Nail forces in 60o model slope with nail inclination of 0°

From the above graphs, it is seen that maximum nail forces are reached at a surcharge load of
18600 N and 16100 N for 45o and 60o slopes respectively. It is also seen that top nails bear the
maximum load followed by middle nails and minimum forces are generated in bottom nails with nail
inclination of 0°.
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5586

FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS USING PLAXIS 3D


Modelling of the slopes
The model tests are simulated in the FEM package PLAXIS 3D (Foundation v1.5) for slope
angles 45º and 60º. These soil slopes are analyzed under unreinforced and reinforced condition with
three different nail inclinations of 0°, 15° and 30° for each slope angle. The failure pattern,
deformed mesh, the load-settlement curves for unreinforced and reinforced slopes, the nail forces for
different soil nail inclinations is obtained from the FEM analysis. The modeling and analysis is
carried out by simulating a non-linear and time-dependent behavior of soil. The geometry is modelled
with the dimensions of 500 × 220 × 350 mm as per the dimensions of the tank used for model testing.
The boundary conditions used in modeling has the base of model fixed in all three directions x, y and
z whereas in the vertical direction, the displacements are considered free. This is simulated by
applying the Standard fixities to the geometry. The slope angle to be modelled is written in the form
of x and y coordinates. The soil nails are also placed at specific locations and inclinations using the
coordinates. For the simulation of the interaction between the soil and the nails, interface is given
along the soil nail length with a roughness factor R = 1. The surcharge load is then applied to the
geometry. A load in the range of 10000 N to 30000 N is applied on the slope crest. The material
properties assigned to the models and soil nails are taken from the experimental data used in model
testing are given in Table 4.
Table 4: Material properties of soil slope and nails
PARAMETER VALUE UNIT
Material model Mohr-Coulomb -
Type of material behaviour Drained -
Unit weight of soil above phreatic line (γunsat) 13.60 kN/m3
Unit weight of soil below phreatic line (γsat) 19.68 kN/m3
Young’s modulus of soil (constant) (E) 50000 kN/m2
Poisson’s ratio (constant) (υ) 0.3 -
Cohesion (c) 1.73 kN/m2
Friction angle (constant) (φ) 30 º
Dilatancy angle (ψ) 0.0 º
Length of Soil Nail (L) 150 mm
Young’s Modulus of Elasticity of Soil Nail (Enail) 69 GPa

When the cross-section model is complete, a 2D finite automatic mesh generation is carried out.
The 2D mesh generation process is based on a triangulation principle that searches for the optimized
triangles and results in an unstructured mesh formation. After the 2D mesh is generated, the model is
extended to a fully 3D mesh composed of 15 - node wedge element is created as shown in Fgure 18.
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5587

Figure 18: Reinforced slope modeling for FEM analysis

Calculations in finite element analysis


Before starting the calculations, the initial water conditions, the initial geometry configuration
and the initial effective stress state are also simulated. The analysis generates the initial effective
stresses by means of the K0- procedure. The K0 procedures considered only soil weight and calculate
only effective stresses and pore pressures in soil elements and interfaces. Since the material defined in
the model has drained behaviour, excess pore pressure is not generated. Thus only the total stress
parameters are considered in the FE analysis. When plasticity is involved in the Finite element
analysis the equations become non – linear which means that the problem should be solved in a series
of calculation steps. The Plaxis program has convenient procedures for automatic load stepping (load
advancement) and for the activation and deactivation of loads and geometry parts (Staged
construction). The calculations are carried out in a single phase. In this phase the materials, loads
and the soil nails on the geometry are activated. The surcharge loads activated so that the load
settlement curves can be obtained for the unreinforced slopes of 45º and 60º. Similarly for reinforced
slopes the soil nails at desired locations are activated. For the load settlement of reinforced slopes
surcharge loads are applied whereas to simulate the distribution of nail force along its length
predescribed displacement is activated in this stage. The staged construction analysis is executed
using plastic calculations. The deformed mesh in the output gives the failure of the soil model. The
total displacements both in the horizontal and vertical direction are obtained with the extreme
displacement value.
During the calculation phase points for the load – settlement curves are selected at the centre of
the crest of the modelled slopes. The settlement of this point is determined from the load – settlement
curve obtained from the finite element analysis.

RESULTS FROM FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS


From the displacement obtained from FE analysis, it is observed that both the unreinforced and
reinforced slopes have a circular slip failure as shown in Fgure 19, 20, 21 and 22. Due to the circular
slip the slope is observed to have move out of plane resulting in the bulging of the slope. The crest of
the slope is also found to have undergone settlement for both the cases of unreinforced and reinforced
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5588

slopes with all the nail inclinations of 0°, 15° and 30°. The nails of the reinforced slopes are found to
get displaced from their original position due to slope deformation. Some nails are observed to have
been pulled inside slightly from the slope face as shown in Fgure 23 (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f). The
soil nails are not observed to have undergone any bending as compared to the bending of nails which
occurred in case of model testing.

Figure 19: Failure pattern of unreinforced slope of 45°


Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5589

Figure 20: Failure pattern of unreinforced slope of 60°

Figure 21: Failure pattern of reinforced slope of 30°


Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5590

Figure 22: Failure pattern of reinforced slope of 60°

(a) (b)

(c) (d)
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5591

(e) (f)
Figure 23: (a) Failure pattern of reinforced slope with 0 ° nail inclination for 30° slope; (b)
Failure pattern of reinforced slope with 0 ° nail inclination for 60° slope; (c) Failure pattern
of reinforced slope with 15 ° nail inclination for 30° slope; (d) Failure pattern of reinforced
slope with 15 ° nail inclination for 60° slope; (e) Failure pattern of reinforced slope with 30 °
nail inclination for 30° slope; (f) Failure pattern of reinforced slope with 30 ° nail inclination
for 60° slope
From the FE analysis, it is observed that the load carrying capacity of the unreinforced slopes
shows a small increase in comparison to the experimental values. A similar pattern is observed in the
load carrying capacity reinforced slopes. The nail inclination of 0° with slope of 45° is found to give
the maximum increase in the load carrying capacity of the slope as compared to the model testing
values. From the Fgure 24 and 25, it is observed that the settlement values obtained from the FE
analysis have a large variation as compared to the settlement values from model testing. The FE
analysis is found to give small settlement values for all slopes with different inclination. The
summary of the results is shown in table 5 and table 6. The stress pattern obtained for the reinforced
slopes clearly shows that the entire slope is stressed under the surcharge loading. The stresses are
found to be maximum near the crest and minimum at the toe as shown in Fgure 26 (a) and (b).

Table 5: Summary of Experimental and Finite Element analysis for unreinforced slopes
Experimental results Finite element analysis
Slope Angle
Load(N) Displacement (mm) Load(N) Displacement (mm)
45o 13200 9.4 15662.34 1.8

60o 11600 11.3 12300.89 1.2


Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5592

Table 6: Summary of Experimental and Finite Element analysis for reinforced slopes
Experimental results Finite Element analysis
Slope Angle Nail inclination Failure load Settlement Failure Settlement
(N) (mm) load (N) (mm)
0° 19400 11.7 25450.20 4.94
45 15° 17682 11.3 24220.11 3.83
30° 15340 10.8 20130.45 3.80
0° 17300 10.6 23990.00 2.88
60 15° 16774 10.2 21820.60 2.60
30° 14400 9.5 19688.70 2.50

The nail force observed from FE shows a complex pattern of force variation. However, the
top row of nails is found to bear the maximum force in FE analysis which is similar to the nail
behavior during model testing. The nail forces decrease from top to bottom in both the experimental
and finite element analysis. The variation of nail forces from FE analysis is shown in Fgure 27 and
28. The maximum nail force by FE analysis is observed for 0° nail inclination in 45° soil slope which
coincides with the pattern observed in model testing.

Load (N)
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000
0.00

2.00

4.00
Settlement (mm)

6.00

8.00 Experimental vs. FE anaysis


Nails at 0 deg (FE analysis)
10.00 Nails at 15 deg (FE analysis)
Nails at 30 deg (FE analysis)
nails at 0 deg (Experimental)
12.00
Nails at 15 deg (Experimental)
nails at 30 deg (Experimental)
14.00
Figure 24: Load – Settlement response of unreinforced and reinforced slope of 45° from
experimental results and Finite Element analysis
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5593

Load (N)
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000
0

4
Settlement (mm)

6
Experimental vs. FE analysis
nails at 0 deg (FE analysis)
8
Nails at 15 deg (FE analysis)
Nails at 30 deg (FE analysis)
10 Nails at 0 deg (Experimental)
nails at 15 deg (Experimental)
Nails at 30 deg (Experimental)
12
Figure 25: Load – Settlement response of unreinforced and reinforced slope of 45° from
experimental results and Finite Element analysis

(a)
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5594

(b)

Figure 26: (a) Stresses in the reinforced slope with 0° nail inclination for 30° slope;
(b) Stresses in the reinforced slope with 0° nail inclination for 60° slope

14000
Nail force vs. Surcharge Load
12000 Top nails
Middle nails
10000
Nail force (N)

8000

6000

4000

2000

0
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000
Load (N)

Figure 27: Nail forces in 45o slope with nail inclination of 0° by FE analysis
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5595

Figure 28: Nail forces in 60o slope with nail inclination of 0° by FE analysis

CONCLUSIONS
From the present study it can be concluded that reinforcing soil slopes leads to an increase in the
load carrying capacity and stability of slopes.
(1) From the failure pattern of unreinforced and reinforced slopes which undergo a circular slip
failure for both 45° and 60° slope angle, it can be concluded that reinforced slopes undergo rotational
failure.
(2) The load carrying capacity for unreinforced and reinforced 45° slope is found to increase by
46.96% for nail inclination of 0°, 33.95% for 15° nail inclination and 16.21% for 30° nail inclination.
For 60° slope angle, increase in load carrying capacity of the slope for 0°, 15° and 30° is found to be
49.14%, 44.60% and 24.13% respectively. It can be concluded that soil nailing increase the load
carrying capacity of the slopes.
(3) The maximum increase in load carrying for both 45° and 60° slopes is found with nail
inclination of 0°. So, it can also be concluded that load carrying capacity varies with nail inclination.
However, all nails inclination will only lead to an increase in the load carrying capacity of the slopes.
(4) A larger percentage increase in the load carrying capacity is observed for 60° slope as
compared to 45° slope in mode testing and analysis. Therefore, it can be said that greater the slope
angle more effective is the nailing of slopes.
Vol. 21 [2016], Bund. 17 5596

(5) From the nail force distribution both in model testing and FE analysis it can be inferred that
maximum load is taken by the top nails.
(6) The bending of nails observed during model testing and the inward displacement of nails
shown by the FE analysis signifies that the nails are subjected to shear bending and shear stress.
(7) The punching of crest during model testing and the stress distribution by FE analysis,
accounts to the fact that failure propagates from crest to toe of slope.
(8) However, small settlement of slope crest in FE analysis can be attributed to the boundary
conditions stimulated. The base of the simulated model is treated as fixed in case of FE analysis
whereas in case of model testing lateral expansion of the model is found to occur. Thus it can be said
that the boundary conditions established in case of model testing are partially fixed in nature.
Therefore, the displacement of slope in x and y direction is partially restricted which leads to larger
settlement of the slope crest.
(9) The nail forces are found to decrease from top nails to bottom nails. This nail force
distribution response also concludes that slopes have circular slip surface failure. Also the maximum
nail forces found from model testing and FE analysis signifies that as soon as the nail reaches its
maximum load value, the slope starts to fail.

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© 2016 ejge

Editor’s note.
This paper may be referred to, in other articles, as:
S. Rawat and A. K. Gupta: “An Experimental and Analytical Study of Slope
Stability by Soil Nailing” Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering,
2016 (21.17), pp 5577-5597. Available at ejge.com.

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