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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 6, Number 2, February 2014 , pages 99-115

Partial safety factors for retaining walls and slopes: A reliability based approach
Anasua GuhaRay and Dilip Kumar Baidya

    Uncertainties in design variables and design equations have a significant impact on the safety of geotechnical structures like retaining walls and slopes. This paper presents a possible framework for obtaining the partial safety factors based on reliability approach for different random variables affecting the stability of a reinforced concrete cantilever retaining wall and a slope under static loading conditions. Reliability analysis is carried out by Mean First Order Second Moment Method, Point Estimate Method, Monte Carlo Simulation and Response Surface Methodology. A target reliability index β = 3 is set and partial safety factors for each random variable are calculated based on different coefficient of variations of the random variables. The study shows that although deterministic analysis reveals a safety factor greater than 1.5 which is considered to be safe in conventional approach, reliability analysis indicates quite high failure probability due to variation of soil properties. The results also reveal that a higher factor of safety is required for internal friction angle φ, while almost negligible values of safety factors are required for soil unit weight γ in case of cantilever retaining wall and soil unit weight γ and cohesion c in case of slope. Importance of partial safety factors is shown by analyzing two simple geotechnical structures. However, it can be applied for any complex system to achieve economization.
Key Words
    retaining wall; slope stability; uncertainty; reliability analysis; partial safety factors
Anasua GuhaRay and Dilip Kumar Baidya:
Civil Engineering Department, IIT Kharagpur, West Bengal - 721302, India.

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