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Numerical study on the optimum layout of soil–nailed slopes

Chia-Cheng Fan * , Jiun-Hung Luo

Department of Construction Engineering, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Jhuoyue Road, Nanzih District, Kaohsiung City 811, Taiwan, ROC

Received 16 February 2007; received in revised form 4 September 2007; accepted 4 September 2007 Available online 29 October 2007

Abstract

This paper presents a numerical study on the optimum layout of soil nails to stabilize slopes. Eﬀect of nail orientation and geometric layout on the overall stability of soil–nailed slopes with various geometric conditions is investigated using the non-linear ﬁnite element approach. Stability of soil–nailed slopes is evaluated in terms of factor of safety. The optimal nail orientation for slope angle of 90 , 80 , 70 , 60 , 50 , and 40 are 0 , 8 , 16 , 23 , 30 , and 40 , respectively, for soil–nailed slopes with a horizontal backslope. The optimal nail orientation in relation to the horizontal plane increases with a decrease in the gradient of soil–nailed slopes, and it increases with an increase in the gradient of backslopes. Nail length at the lower 1/3 part of the slope is more important to the overall stability of slopes than those at other parts, especially for soil–nailed walls. Eﬀect of arrangement of vertical spacing of nails on the stability of soil–nailed slopes is insigniﬁcant if number and amount of nails used in slopes remain unchanged. 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Soil nails; Optimum layout; Optimal nail orientation; Factor of safety; Finite element analysis; Soil–nailed slopes

1. Introduction

Soil nails are traditionally designed with uniform length and equal spacing, as shown in Fig. 1 a, to stabilize slopes which do not meet safety requirements. However, nails with uniform layout in a slope may not be the optimal design if the construction cost is taken into account. In addition to slope geometry and soil parameters, main fac- tors aﬀecting the stability of soil–nailed slopes include:

(1) nail orientation, (2) property of nails, (3) nail length, and (4) nail spacing. Contribution of nails to the stability of slopes is closely relevant to the geometric layout of nails in slopes. In engineering practice, nails are installed slightly inclined downward from the horizontal. Most of the resis- tance mobilized in nails against shearing in soil mass are governed by nail’s orientation in relation to the shear plane  . The mechanical behaviour of soil–nail interactions

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +886 7 6011000x2117; fax: +886 7

6011017.

doi:10.1016/j.compgeo.2007.09.002

plays an important role in providing shearing resistance to stabilize soil mass. However, overall stability of soil– nailed slopes is the main concern in engineering practice instead of the mechanical behaviour of a single nail in the soil mass. Contribution of shearing resistance provided by nails at various elevations of a slope to overall stability of soil–nailed slopes may be diﬀerent because orientation of nails in relation to the potential failure surface at various elevations are diﬀerent. To study the optimal layout of soil–nailed slopes, investigations of the mechanism of soil–nail interactions and of the inﬂuence of geometric lay- out of nails on the overall stability of soil–nailed slopes are needed. The overall stability of soil–nailed slopes with various nail’s orientations and various geometric layouts, including length and vertical spacing, for nails were analyzed herein using the ﬁnite element procedure. Factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes was calculated to evaluate the contribu- tion of nails to the stability of soil–nailed slopes. The opti- mal layouts, leading to a least usage of nails and satisfying the required factor of safety, of nails in soil–nailed slopes

586

C.-C. Fan, J.-H. Luo / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 585–599 Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of various layouts of nails in soil–nailed walls: (a) uniform distribution; (b) nail length decreases with depth; and (c) na il length increases with depth (redrawn from ).

with various geometric conditions were evaluated. Findings of this study are helpful to eﬀectively design soil–nailed slopes.

2. Brief review

The French national research project CLOUTERRE  carried out a comprehensive study on soil–nailed walls in the years of 1980s. Eﬀect of layout of nails on the stability of soil–nailed structures was discussed qualitatively. Instal- lation of longer nails into the upper level of soil–nailed walls might be found to work well for very tall walls, as shown in Fig. 1 b. This type of layout contributes more toward reducing tilting and lateral displacement at the fac- ing of the wall. However, those installed lower down, as shown in Fig. 1 c, are more eﬃcient with respect to failure induced by the sliding movement taking place at the base of the wall. This is because the nails on lower part of the wall give favorable orientation in relation to the potential failure surface and greater anchorage length beyond the failure surface. Nails installed with no inclination are more eﬃcient in controlling lateral displacement  and in pro- viding more shear resistance to the stability of soil mass  . Sabhahit et al.  indicated that the total amount of the required length for nails decreases if nails are placed in the lower part of the slope. However, the authors suggested that nails should be placed longer at the middle of the slope to minimize the total length of reinforcements based on the analysis of a soil–nailed slope with slope angle of 70 , slope length of 4.5 m, and backslope angle of 20 . Additionally, Sabhahit et al.  suggested that horizontal placement of nails is the optimal direction except for the lower-most nails based on the limit equilibrium analysis. Shaﬁee  conducted a research on the inﬂuence of nail’s orientation on deformation of soil–nailed walls using the ﬁnite element method. The walls with nails inclined at 0 and 30 in relation to the horizontal were analyzed. Deformation on the wall face installed with nails inclined at 30 is greater than that installed with nails placed hori- zontally. Marchal  indicated that nail’s orientation in relation to the failure surface in soil mass plays a role in the mobilization of tensile and shear forces in nails as well as in the overall shear resistance of nail-reinforced soils based on experimental studies.

Jewell  conducted a series of laboratory direct shear tests to investigate the eﬀect of orientation of ﬂexible nails on increase of shear resistance at failure in soil mass. The optimal direction of nails in relation to the normal of shear surfaces to mobilize the maximum shear resistance in soil mass is approximately 30 , as shown in Fig. 2 . Further- more, Jones  suggested that nails can be placed with a slightly upward inclination at the upper level and inclined gradually downward at the lower level of slopes in order to develop primarily tensile forces in nails and to reach the optimal condition. Most of the above-mentioned researches regarding eﬀect of orientation and geometric layout of nails on the stability of soil–nailed structures are focused on the retaining struc- tures with a vertical facing, i.e. soil–nailed walls. Inﬂuence of orientation and geometric layout of nails on the overall stability of soil–nailed slopes with various geometric condi- tions still remains unclear.

3. Basic principles of soil–nail interactions

Nails used in stabilizing slopes usually have ﬂexural rigidity and can develop tensile forces, shear forces, and bending moments when a shearing plane takes place and interacts with nails in soil mass. Hence, nails behave like beam-type of materials in soil mass. The failure criterion Fig. 2. Inﬂuence of nail orientation on the additional shearing resistance provided by nails in soil mass .

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587 T
M max
þ
¼ 1
ð 2 Þ
M p
T p
Fig. 3. Failure envelope for a single nail (redrawn from ).
The shearing resistance mobilized by nails against shear
displacement in soil mass plays an important role in the
overall stability of soil–nailed slopes. Fig. 4 a shows the
cross-section of a typical soil–nailed slope with a potential
slip surface interacting with nails. Nails at diﬀerent eleva-
tions of a slope illustrate various orientations in relation
to the potential slip surface. A close view on the nail’s ori-
entation at a given elevation of a slope with respect to the
potential slip surface is shown in Fig. 4 b. Nails may
develop tensile forces as well as shear forces if nails are ori-
ented counterclockwise in relation to the normal of the slip
surface. The additional shearing resistance ( DS ) provided
by nails to resist against shear deformation in soil mass
can be illustrated in the following equation  :

for a beam with rectangular cross-section is governed by

Eq. (1)  . The failure envelope for the failure criterion is shown in Fig. 3 .

M max

M p

þ

T

T p

2

¼ 1

ð1 Þ

where M p and T p are the limiting bending moment and lim- iting tensile strength of nails, respectively, at the plastic condition, M max and T are the combination of the maxi- mum bending moment and the tensile force which reach failure in nails. The limiting tensile strength (T p ) of the nail at plastic condition is deﬁned as the multiplication of its cross-sectional area ( A) with yield stress ( r y ). The failure envelope for Eq. (1) is frequently used to rep- resent a limiting combination of forces for a single nail with circular cross section since no such simple equation exists for a circular nail  . Nevertheless, a limiting diamond failure envelope shown in Fig. 3 is the common assumption in structural codes and is conservative for nails with any cross-sectional shape  . Thus, the failure envelope for a single nail is illustrated in the following equation:

DS ¼ ð T cos h T c sin h Þ tan / 0 þ ð T sin h þ T c cos h Þ ð 3 Þ

where T is the tensile force mobilized in nails, T c is the shear force mobilized in nails, / 0 is the internal friction angle of soils, and h is the orientation of nails in relation to the normal of the slip surface. Mobilization of the shear- ing resistance provided by nails in soil mass is determined by its orientations, tensile forces, and shear forces, which are related to bending moment, based on the basic princi- ple of soil–nail interactions. To investigate the inﬂuence of nail’s layout on the stability of soil–nailed slopes, the ba- sic mechanism of soil–nail interactions needs to be taken into account.

4. Numerical modelling of soil–nailed slopes

4.1. Finite element modelling

In engineering practice, overall stability of soil–nailed slopes is the main concern instead of the behaviour of a sin- gle nail. The non-linear ﬁnite element program PLAXIS  , which takes into account the mechanical behaviour of soil–nail interaction and is able to calculate the factor Fig. 4. Relationship between soil nails and the potential slip surface in a soil–nailed slope .

588

C.-C. Fan, J.-H. Luo / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 585–599 Fig. 5. Geometric proﬁle of soil–nailed slopes used in this study.

of safety of slopes, was used to analyze the stability of soil– nailed slopes. Typical geometry of the soil–nailed slope analyzed in this study is shown in Fig. 5 . Height of the slope is 10 m. The nail used is a #9 rebar (29 mm in diam- eter) surrounding by cement mortar, with 10 cm in diame- ter. Length and orientation ( d ) of the nail were varied in this study to investigate their inﬂuence on the performance of soil–nailed slopes. Vertical and horizontal spacing of nails used in the analyses are 1.5 m and 1 m, respectively. The slope angle ( b ) and backslope angle ( a ) of soil–nailed slopes were varied in the analyses. Eﬀect of vertical spacing of nails with various layouts on the stability of soil–nailed slopes was investigated. The ﬁnite element mesh, which has been examined to eliminate the inﬂuence of size eﬀect and boundary on the results of the analyses, for soil–nailed slopes with a slope angle of 60 , a backslope angle of 10 , and a nail orientation of 20 is shown in Fig. 6 . The ﬁnite element mesh consists of 2998 elements, 6877 nodes, and 8994 stress points. Fig. 6. Finite element mesh for the soil–nailed slope with a slope angle of 60 and a backslope angle of 10 .

Table 1 Soil parameters used in the FE analyses

Symbols

Parameters used in the FE analysis

c

c

c

/

E s

m

t

dry

R inter

19 kN/m 3 16 kN/m 3 50 kPa 30 30 MPa

0.3

1.0

4.2. Modelling of soils, nails, and soil–nail interfaces

Soil elements used in this study are six-node triangular isoparametric elements, with three Gauss points for each element. The Mohr–Coulomb constitutive model was used to model the stress–strain behaviour of soils. Table 1 shows the soil parameters used in the analysis. These parameters are typical soil properties frequently seen for residual soils, a combination of sands, silts, and a small amount of clayey soils, in natural slopes. Soil nails are truly discrete elements. In the two-dimen- sional ﬁnite element analysis (plane strain condition), nails were modelled using the ‘‘equivalent plate model’’ approach [1,19], replacing the discrete nail element by a plate extended to one unit width. Plates in the 2-D ﬁnite element analysis are composed of beam elements with three nodes for each beam element, and there are three degrees of freedom per node (two translational degrees of freedom and one rotational degree of freedom). Tensile forces, bending moments, and shear forces in nails can be mobi- lized if nails are subjected to shear deformation. Properties of nails are represented with equivalent parameters that reﬂect the spacing between nails in the out-of-plane direc- tion. Nails were modelled using elastic-perfectly-plastic behaviour, with a limiting tensile force ( T p ) and maximum bending moment ( M p ). The required properties for nails are Poisson’s ratio, axial stiﬀness (EA), and ﬂexural stiﬀ-

ness (EI). The thickness (

culated as d eq = (12EI/EA) 0.5 . In addition, values of limiting tensile force and maximum bending moment for nails were calculated based on a unit width. The strength contributed by the mortar surrounding nails was ignored in the analysis because it is liable to crack at a slight defor- mation. Elastic modulus and bending stiﬀness, EI, of nails with a diameter of 29 mm are 2.1 · 10 8 kPA and

7.29 kN m 2 , respectively. Values of T p and M p were calcu- lated for simply the rebar material. Table 2 illustrates the properties of nails used in the analyses. In addition, soil–nail interfaces were placed on both sides of a nail. Three pairs of nodes were used for the inter- face element. The interface element was assigned to a ‘‘vir- tual thickness’’, which is an imaginary dimension used to deﬁne the material properties of the interface. A virtual thickness of 1% of the element size was used in the analysis. An elastic-perfectly-plastic model, which is the same as its surrounding soil model (the Mohr–Coulomb model), was

d eq

) for an equivalent plate is cal-

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589

Table 2 Properties of nails used in the FE analyses

 Symbols Properties used in the FE analysis EA 1.38 · 10 5 kN/m 7.29 kN m 2 /m EI m 0.15 T p 277 kN/m 1.71 kN m/m M p

used to model the behaviour of soil–nail interfaces. The

elastic-perfectly-plastic interface model was used to make

a distinction between elastic behaviour, where small dis-

placements may take place within the interface, and the plastic behaviour, when permanent slip may occur. Mate- rial properties for the interface element are identical to those used for its surrounding soil element, except that a strength reduction coeﬃcient ( R int ) was used to determine

the strength parameters of the soil–nail interface. The strength reduction coeﬃcient ( R int ) is deﬁned as

R int ¼

c

inter

c

soil

¼ tan / inter tan / soil

ð4 Þ

where c soil and / soil are the cohesion and friction angle of the soil adjacent to the soil–nail interface, c inter and / inter are the adhesion and friction angle of the soil–nail inter- face. To measure the interface strength between grouted nails and soils, Chu and Yin [5,6] conducted laboratory pullout tests and interface shear tests on a cement-grouted nail and surrounding soil. Most of the test results measured

at the peak shear strength and at a displacement of 70 mm

show that the ratio of interface friction angle over soil fric- tion angle is in a range of 0.95–1.07 and the ratio of soil– cement adhesion over soil cohesion is in a range of 0.85– 1.18. An approximate value of 1.0 is considered reasonable for the ratios of tan / inter /tan / soil and c inter / c soil . Thus, a value of 1.0 is used for R int in the current study.

4.3. Computation of the factor of safety

To evaluate the contribution of nails to the stability of soil–nailed slopes, the factor of safety of slopes was calcu- lated herein in the ﬁnite element analyses. Computation of the factor of safety for a slope using the PLAXIS program

is based on the procedure of the so-called ‘‘phi– c reduc-

tion’’ [3,14] . The strength parameters (tan / and c ) of the

soil mass are successively reduced through a strength reduction factor until failure of the slope occurs, i.e., a large deformation takes place in the soil mass with a slight decrease in strength parameters. The strength reduction factor reaches nearly to a constant if failure of the soil mass is fully developed, and the strength reduction factor at the failure condition is the factor of safety of slopes.

4.4. Veriﬁcation

To verify the numerical model employed herein, the ﬁnite element model was veriﬁed by back-predicting the full-scale test conducted in 1986 for the French national research project CLOUTERRE  . The soil–nailed wall in the CLOUTERRE project is 7 m high, 7.5 m wide and constrained between two lateral walls covered with a dou- ble layer of polyethylene sheet greased in between to ensure plane strain conditions. Cross-section of the soil–nailed wall is shown in Fig. 7 . Five types of nails, marked with A, B, C, D, and E, were used in the test. Nail’s length for type A, B, C, D, and E is 6 m, 8 m, 6 m, 7.5 m, and 8 m, respectively. The wall was constructed by stepped excavation, alternating 1 m excavation with the installation of nails. Hollow aluminum tubes grouted in the soil, with liquid concrete, injected under low pressure were used for the nails. The nail lengths range from 6 m to 8 m and were inclined at 10 with respect to the horizontal plane. A RC retaining wall was constructed behind the backﬁll, a sandy material, prior to placing the nails. A facing, made of a mesh-reinforced shotcrete, was installed after placing the nails. Unit weight, relative density, internal friction angle, and cohesion of the backﬁll are 16.6 kN/m 3 , 60%, 38 , and 3 kPa, respectively. Unit weight, internal friction angle, and cohesion of the foundation soil are 17 kN/m 3 , 36 , and 0 kPa, respectively. The soil–nailed wall was con- structed in seven phases. Vertical and horizontal spacing of the nails were 1 m and 1.15 m, respectively. Properties of the nails and the wall used in the ﬁnite element analysis are selected based on the study carried out by Benhamida et al.  and Plumelle et al.  and are listed in Table 3 . The ﬁnite element mesh, consisting of 6704 nodes and 2762 elements, for the soil–nailed wall is shown in Fig. 8 . The ﬁnite element analysis was conducted in accordance with the construction sequence in the experiment. Compar- ison of the computed lateral displacements in the backﬁll at Fig. 7. Geometric proﬁle of the soil–nailed wall in the CLOUTERRE project .

590

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Table 3 Properties of soils, nails, and the wall facing used in the FE analysis for the soil-nailed wall in the CLOUTERRE project

 Backﬁll Foundation soils Unit weight Young’s modulus Poisson’s ratio Cohesion Angle of internal friction c 16.6 kN/m 3 3.1 · 10 4 kPa 17.0 kN/m 3 8.4 · 10 4 kPa E m 0.39 0.37 c 3 kPa 0 kPa / 38 36 Unit weight c Shotcrete facing 24.0 kN/m 3 25 · 10 6 kPa 2 · 10 6 kN/m 1066.67 kN m 2 /m 0.08 m Young’s modulus E Axial stiﬀness EA Bending stiﬀness EI Shotcrete thickness d Poisson’s ratio m 0.2 Nails (Grouted diameter=63 mm) Length Tube thickness Tube diameter L (Type A) 6 m 1 mm 16 mm 5.57 · 10 4 kN/m 13.39 kN m 2 /m 0.072 kN/m/m (Type B) 8 m 2 mm 30 mm 6.1 · 10 4 kN/m 14.05 kN m 2 /m (Type C–E) 6 m 1 mm 40 mm 5.88 · 10 4 kN/m 14.3 kN m 2 /m e / Axial stiﬀness EA Bending stiﬀness EI Weight w 0.072 kN/m/m 0.072 kN/m/m Poisson’s ratio m 0.20 0.20 0.20 Fig. 8. Finite element mesh of the soil–nailed wall for the CLOUTERRE project.

2 m behind the facing at the end of phase 3 (excavation depth = 3 m) and at the end of phase 5 (excavation depth = 5 m) with the experimental data is shown in Fig. 9 . The experimental results are slightly greater than those computed using the numerical model employed herein. In addition, comparison of the distribution of com- puted tensile stresses along nails at various depths at the end of phase 5 and at the end of construction (excavation depth = 7 m) with the measured results is shown in Fig. 10 . At the end of phase 5, the computed tensile forces in the nails are in good agreement with the measured results except that lower tensile forces were measured at the area about 1.5–2.5 m next to the facing. The computed tensile forces at various levels agree well with the measured results at the end of excavation. It is noted that no tensile force was generated in the bottom row of the nails. Fig. 11 illustrates the comparison between the computed maxi-

mum tensile forces in the nails with depth and measured results, and a reasonable agreement between the computed and measured results is reached except that slightly greater maximum stresses were predicted at the lower levels of the nails. In addition, failure of the soil–nailed wall in the CLOU- TERRE project has been achieved by progressively satu- rating the backﬁll soil from the top surface, using a constant ﬂow water basin with a width of 5 m at the top surface, three months after the end of the construction of the wall. At failure, the saturation height in the soil was about 5–6 m, and a crack, 2.5 m behind the wall, was observed at the top surface  . Numerical simulation for saturating the backﬁll soil was carried out by replacing the soil properties with saturated properties in an order from the top surface to a height of 6 m. The unit weight of the saturated backﬁll soil in the project is 19.3 kN/m 3 ,

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591 Fig. 9. Comparison of computed lateral displacements in the backﬁll at 2 m from the wall with measured results. Fig. 11. Comparison of the computed maximum tensile forces ( T max ) in nails with depth with measured results. Fig. 10. Comparison of the computed tensile forces in nails with the measured results: (a) at the end of phase 5 and (b) at the end of construction.

and the soil cohesion is 3 kPa  . The area inﬂuenced by the inﬁltration of water through the backﬁll soil is esti- mated between the wall facing and the boundary inclined at 10 from the vertical line of 5 m behind the wall facing. The numerical simulation for saturating the backﬁll soil is completed in six stages, 1 m vertical thickness at each stage. The estimated saturation zone due to the water ﬂow from the top surface is shown in Fig. 12 . At a saturation height of 6 m, distribution of plastic points, which reach the plas- tic condition, in the backﬁll soil obtained in the FE analysis conducted herein is shown in Fig. 12 . The observed failure zone in the backﬁll soil is shown in Fig. 13  . The aver- age failure line intersects the top surface at about 2.5 m behind the wall in the full-scale test, and it is located at about 3.5 m behind the wall in the FE analysis. The aver- age failure line behind the wall obtained in FE analysis is slightly farther than that observed in the full-scale test. Additionally, the observed failure zone in the backﬁll soil is close to that obtained in the FE analysis.

5. Eﬀect of layout of nails on stability of soil–nailed slopes

5.1. Optimal nail orientation

Contribution of nails to the additional shear resistance in soil mass is primarily governed by the mobilization of tensile forces in nails based on the mechanism of soil–nail interactions [8,10]. In addition, mobilization of axial forces in nails relies signiﬁcantly on its orientation with respect to the slip surface. Fig. 14 shows a schematic diagram of distribution of axial forces in nails that may likely mobilize at diﬀerent elevations of a soil–nailed slope. Nail’s

592

C.-C. Fan, J.-H. Luo / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 585–599 Fig. 12. Distribution of plastic points in the backﬁll soil at a saturation height of 6 m in the FE analysis. Fig. 13. The observed failure zone in the backﬁll soil of the soil–nailed wall in the CLOUTERRE project .

orientations in relation to the normal of the potential slip surface at various elevations of a slope are diﬀerent due to the development of a curved failure surface. Nails located at the lower level of the slope, e.g., point A to point B, may develop primarily tensile forces along with minor shear forces. In addition, nails located at the middle level of the slope, e.g., point B to point C, may primarily mobi- lize shear forces along with minor axial forces, and the nails located at the upper level of the slope, e.g., point C to point D, may develop primarily compressive forces along with minor shear forces. Hence, contribution of nails at diﬀerent Fig. 14. Schematic diagram of mobilized forces for nails at diﬀerent elevations in relation to the potential slip surface.

elevations of a slope to the overall stability of soil–nailed slopes is diﬀerent. The ﬁnite element analyses were conducted to investi- gate the eﬀect of nail’s orientation on the overall stability of soil–nailed slopes with various geometric conditions, as shown in Fig. 5 . Fig. 15 shows inﬂuence of nail orienta- tion on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a hor- izontal backslope ( a = 0 ) at various slope angles ( b ). It shows that the optimal nail orientation, i.e. the best perfor- mance in the factor of safety, is dependent on the geometry of slopes. The factor of safety for soil–nailed walls (b = 90 ) decreases with an increase in nail’s orientation. In other words, nails placed horizontally in slopes leads

C.-C. Fan, J.-H. Luo / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 585–599

593 Fig. 15. Inﬂuence of nail orientation on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a horizontal backslope.

to the optimal performance in overall stability of soil– nailed walls if the backslope is horizontal. Additionally, the optimal nail orientations for slope angles of 80 , 70 , 60 , 50 , and 40 are 8 , 16 , 23 , 30 , and 40 , respectively. To verify the ﬁnding of the optimal nail orientations obtained herein, inﬂuence of nail orientation on the bear- ing capability of soil–nailed slopes was carried out using the ﬁnite element analysis (PLAXIS program). The bearing capability was evaluated in terms of the vertical displace- ment developed at the middle point (point A in Fig. 16 ) of a uniform loading at the top surface. The uniform load- ing, with a width of 5 m, applied on top of the slope is 100 kPa. Distribution of the vertical displacement com- puted at point A for various slope angles and various nail’s orientations is shown in Fig. 16 . The nail orientations lead- ing to the best performance in the surcharge capacity, i.e., the smallest vertical displacement developed at point A, for soil–nailed slopes with a gradient of 90 , 80 , 70 , 60 , and 50 are illustrated in Table 4 . The optimal nail orientations Fig. 16. Computed vertical displacements at the middle of a uniform loading at the top surface of soil–nailed slopes with various slope angles ( b) and various nail orientations ( d).

Table 4 Nail orientation leading to the smallest vertical displacement at the middle point of a uniform loading (100 kPa; applied with a width of 5 m) on top of a soil–nailed slope

 Slope angle = 50 Slope angle = 60 Slope angle = 70 Slope angle = 80 Slope angle = 90 28 22 15 5 0

Table 5 The optimal nail orientations for soil–nailed slopes with various geometric conditions

 Backslope angle Backslope angle Backslope angle Slope angle ( b ) (a )=0 ( a) = 10 ( a) = 20 40 40 50 65 50 30 40 58 60 23 30 47 70 16 20 30 80 8 10 20 90 0 0 10

obtained are very close to those obtained based on the eval- uation of the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes, illus- trated in Table 5 . Moreover, the optimal nail orientations obtained herein were checked with those of soil–nailed slope with a height of 5 m and 14 m. The same procedure as those obtained in Fig. 15 was used to obtain the optimal nail orientations for soil–nailed slopes, under various slope angles, with a height of 5 m and 14 m. For slopes with a height of 5 m, the optimal nail orientations for slopes with a gradient of 90 , 70 , and 50 are 0 , 12 , and 32 , respec- tively. The optimal nail orientations for slopes with a gra- dient of 90 , 70 , and 50 are 0 , 16 , and 32 , respectively, for slopes with a height of 14 m. The optimal nail orienta- tions obtained for slopes with a height of 5 m and 14 m are fairly close to those for slopes with a height of 10 m. Furthermore, inﬂuences of nail orientation on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with the backslope inclined at 10 and 20 are shown in Figs. 17 and 18 , respectively. The backslope angle has an inﬂuence on the optimal nail’s ori- entation of the soil–nailed slopes. Fig. 19 shows variation of the optimal nail’s orientation with the slope angle ( b ) for three types of backslope angles (a ), i.e., 0 , 10 , and 20 . The optimal nail’s orientation decreases with an increase in the slope angle ( b ) at a given backslope angle (a ), and it increases with an increase in the backslope angle (a ) for any given slope angle (b ). The optimal nail’s orien- tations of soil–nailed slopes with various geometric condi- tions are summarized in Table 5 . The optimal nail’s orientations for slope angles of 90 , 80 , 70 , 60 , 50 , and 40 are 0 , 10 , 20 , 30 , 40 , and 50 , respectively, if the backslope angle is 10 ; the optimal nail’s orientations for slope angles of 90 , 80 , 70 , 60 , 50 , and 40 are 10 , 20 , 30 , 47 , 58 , and 65 , respectively, if the backs- lope angle is 20 . Most of the past researches [7,12,17] suggested that nails placed horizontally generate the best performance in the

594

C.-C. Fan, J.-H. Luo / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 585–599 Fig. 17. Inﬂuence of nail orientation on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle ( a) of 10 . Fig. 19. Optimal nail orientations for soil–nailed slopes with various slope geometries. Fig. 18. Inﬂuence of nail orientation on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with the backslope angle (a ) of 20 .

stability of soil–nailed walls (vertical facing). This state- ment coincides with the results obtained herein if the backslope angle is less than 20 . Nevertheless, the optimal nail orientation relies signiﬁcantly on the geometric condi- tions of the slope based on the analyses conducted herein. According to the mechanism of soil–nail interaction dis- cussed in this paper, the additional shearing resistance pro- vided by nails to resist shear deformation in soil mass is governed by the nail’s orientation in relation to the shear plane. Contribution of nails at diﬀerent elevations of slopes to the stability of soil–nailed slopes may be diﬀerent since a curved potential slip surface is likely to develop. However, nails are usually placed with identical inclinations. The research results obtained herein provide some helpful infor- mation to select proper nail’s orientations in the design of soil–nailed slopes.

5.2. Eﬀect of layout of nail length on stability of soil–nailed slopes

To quantify the inﬂuence of layout of nail length on the overall stability of soil–nailed slopes, height of a soil–nailed slope was divided into three parts, i.e., upper 1/3 part, mid- dle 1/3 part, and lower 1/3 part, as shown in the drawing inserted in Fig. 20 a. Each of the three parts is installed with two nails. Eﬀect of arrangement of nail length on the over- all stability of soil–nailed slopes was conducted by varying the nail length at each part of the height while keeping the nail length at the other two parts unchanged. The baseline nail length is 10 m. The optimal orientations of the nail, as illustrated in Table 5 , corresponding to various geometric conditions were used as the nail’s inclinations in the analyses. Fig. 20 a and b shows eﬀect of nail length at diﬀerent ele- vations on the factor of safety of soil–nailed walls and soil– nailed slopes with a gradient of 60 (moderate slope angles), respectively, if the backslope is horizontal. The parameter in the x-coordinate is ratio of nail length ( L i ) with respect to height of the slope ( H ). The subscript i with values from 1 to 3 denotes the upper, middle, and lower 1/3 part of the slope, respectively. Eﬀect of nail length on over- all stability of soil–nailed walls and soil–nailed slopes (b = 60 ) is nearly insigniﬁcant if ratios of L 1 / H , L 2 / H , and L 3 / H are greater than 1.0. Nail length ( L 1 ) at the upper 1/3 part of a slope has trivial inﬂuence on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes, and it has a moderate inﬂuence on the factor of safety of soil–nailed walls as the ratio of L 1 / H is less than 1.0. Nail length (L 2 ) at the middle 1/3 part of a slope has a slight inﬂuence on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes ( b = 60 ) and soil–nailed walls. In addi- tion, inﬂuence of nail length (L 3 ) at the lower 1/3 part of a slope on the factor of safety is signiﬁcant. Table 6 illus- trates the percentages of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes ( b = 60 and b = 90 ) with a horizon-

C.-C. Fan, J.-H. Luo / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 585–599

595 Fig. 20. Eﬀect of nail length at various elevations on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a horizontal backslope: (a) b = 90 and (b) b = 60 .

Table 6 Percentage of decrease in FS of soil–nailed slopes with a horizontal backslope if L /H at diﬀerent levels drops from 1.0 to 0.2

 Slope angle ( b) Upper 1/3 part of the height (%) Middle 1/3 part of the height (%) Lower 1/3 part of the height (%) 60 90 (wall) 0.2 4.0 14.9 8.3 9.5 23.4

tal backslope if the value of L/ H at diﬀerent levels decreases from 1.0 to 0.2. The percentage of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a gradient of 60 is about 15% if the value of L / H at the lower 1/3 part of the slope drops from 1.0 (suﬃcient nail lengths) to 0.2 (considerably short lengths), and the percentage of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed walls ( b = 90 ) at the same condition is about 23.4%. It is of interest to note that eﬀect of nail length on the factor of safety of soil–nailed walls is more signiﬁcant than that of soil–nailed slopes ( b = 60 ).

Fig. 21 a and b shows eﬀect of nail length at diﬀerent ele- vations of a slope on factor of safety of soil–nailed walls and soil–nailed slopes with a slope angle ( b) of 60 , respec- tively, if the backslope angle is 10 . For soil–nailed slopes and walls with the backslope inclined at 10 , nail lengths at the upper 1/3 and middle 1/3 part of a slope have a minor inﬂuence on the factor of safety, while inﬂuence of nail length at the lower 1/3 part on the factor of safety is signiﬁcant. Table 7 illustrates the percentage of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes and walls with a backslope angle of 10 if the value of L / H at diﬀerent lev- els drops from 1.0 to 0.2. The percentage of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a gradient of 60 is about 10% if the value of L / H at the lower 1/3 part of the slope drops from 1.0 to 0.2, and the percentage of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed walls (b = 90 ) at the same condition is about 17%. In addition, eﬀect of nail length at any elevation of a slope on factor of safety of Fig. 21. Eﬀect of nail length at various elevations on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle ( a) of 10 : (a) b = 90 and (b) b = 60 .

596

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Table 7 Percentage of decrease in FS of soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle of 10 if L/ H at diﬀerent levels drops from 1.0 to 0.2

 Slope angle (b ) Upper 1/3 part of the height (%) Middle 1/3 part of the height (%) Lower 1/3 part of the height (%) 60 90 (wall) 0 4.5 10.0 1.8 0.6 16.9

soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle of 10 is less sig- niﬁcant than that with a horizontal backslope by compar- ing the results illustrated in Table 6 with those in Table 7 . Fig. 22 a and b shows the distribution of tensile stresses along nails at various nail lengths ( L/ H = 0.4, 1.0, and 1.4) at the upper 1/3 part and at the lower 1/3 part of slopes, respectively, if soil–nailed slopes (b = 60 ) with a backslope angle of 10 reach failure in the ﬁnite element analyses. The stress distribution along nails shown in Fig. 22 a demon- strates that tensile stresses in nails with short lengths ( L/ H = 0.4) at the upper 1/3 part are mobilized less than those Fig. 22. Distribution of tensile forces in nails for soil–nailed slopes with various layouts in nail lengths as the slope reaches failure in the FE analyses: (a) various nail lengths at the upper 1/3 part of slopes and (b) various nail lengths at the lower 1/3 part of slopes.

with long lengths. Nails at the middle and lower 1/3 part of

slopes then carry slightly higher tensile stresses if nails with short lengths are placed at the upper 1/3 part of slopes than those with long lengths. Additionally, tensile stresses mobi- lized in nails at the upper 1/3 part of slopes are much smal- ler than that at the lower 1/3 part, irrespective of the nail length. Thus, nail length placed at the upper 1/3 part of slopes has a minor inﬂuence on the factor of safety, which

is governed mainly by tensile stresses mobilized in nails.

Furthermore, tensile stresses mobilized in nails with short lengths at the lower 1/3 part of slopes are signiﬁcantly less than those with longer lengths, as shown in Fig. 22 b. Irre- spective of the nail length used at the lower 1/3 part of slopes, distributions of tensile stresses along nails at the upper 1/3 part of slopes are close. Thus, it is justiﬁed that eﬀect of nail length at the lower 1/3 part of slopes on the stability of soil–nailed slopes is signiﬁcant compared to that at the upper part of slopes. Fig. 23 a and b shows eﬀect of nail length at diﬀerent ele- vations of slopes on the factor of safety of soil–nailed walls and soil–nailed slopes (b = 60 ), respectively, if the backs- lope angle is 20 . Nail lengths at the upper and middle 1/3 parts of slopes have a trivial inﬂuence on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes. For the backslope angle of 20 , eﬀect of nail length at the lower 1/3 part of slopes on the factor of safety is moderate for soil–nailed walls

and soil–nailed slopes ( b = 60 ). Table 8 illustrates the per- centage of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle of 20 if values of L/ H at dif- ferent levels decrease from 1.0 to 0.2. The percentage of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with

a gradient of 60 is about 5% if the value of L/ H at the

lower 1/3 part of a slope drops from 1.0 to 0.2, and the per- centage of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed walls ( b = 90 ) at the same condition is about 9.8%. Addi-

tionally, it is of interest to note that eﬀect of nail length at any elevation on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes is less signiﬁcant as the backslope angle increases. Findings obtained herein demonstrate that nail length at the lower 1/3 part of slopes plays an important role in the overall stability of soil–nailed slopes as compared with those located at the upper and middle levels of the slope, especially for soil–nailed walls. This behaviour can be explained by the following reasons: (1) nails located at the lower level of slopes bear greater overburden stresses than those located

 at the upper part of slopes. Thus, greater pull-out resistance is expected for nails at the lower part of slopes compared to

those at the upper level of slopes and (2) nails located at the lower part of slopes tend to develop more tensile forces than those located at the upper part of slopes and tensile forces in nails is more eﬀective in mobilizing shear resistance against shear deformation in soil mass. Hence, nails located at the lower part of slopes may provide more shear resistance against shear deformation in soil mass. Nevertheless, nail length at the upper and middle parts of slopes aﬀects the overall stability of soil–nailed walls to some extent if the backslope angle is less than 10 . It is recommended to place

C.-C. Fan, J.-H. Luo / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 585–599

597 Fig. 23. Eﬀect of nail length at various elevations on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle ( a) of 20 : (a) b = 90 and (b) b = 60 .

Table 8 Percentage of decrease in FS of soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle of 20 if L/ H at diﬀerent levels drops from 1.0 to 0.2

 Slope angle (b ) Upper 1/3 part of the height (%) Middle 1/3 part of the height (%) Lower 1/3 part of the height (%) 60 90 (wall) 0.3 1.2 5.1 4.5 0.9 9.8

nails with a length of at least 1.0 times the height of slopes at the lower 1/3 part to ensure the eﬀectiveness of the nails on the overall stability of slopes.

5.3. Eﬀect of layout of vertical spacing of nails on stability of soil–nailed slopes

To investigate the eﬀect of layout of nail’s vertical spac- ing on the stability of soil–nailed slopes, nails in slopes were divided into two groups, i.e. the upper half and the

lower half of the height, as shown in the drawing attached in Fig. 24 . The baseline vertical spacing of nails used in this study is 1.5 m, and the nail length is 10 m. Vertical spacing of nails at the upper half of slopes was adjusted to increase or decrease in the analysis. In the mean time, vertical spac- ing of nails at the lower half of the slope also decreases or increases with the same amount. For example, vertical spacing of nails at the upper half of the slope increases from 1.5 m to 2.0 m if vertical spacing of nails at the lower half of the slope decreases from 1.5 m to 1.0 m, and vice versa. Locations of the top and bottom level of the nail remains unchanged. The inclinations of nails used in the analyses are the optimal orientations at various slope geometries, as illustrated in Table 5 . Eﬀect of layout of nail’s vertical spacing on the overall stability of soil–nailed slopes was studied by varying the value of S v = S v from 0.2 to 5. The parameters S v and S v are vertical spacing of nails at the lower half and upper half of slopes, respectively. Figs. 24–26 show inﬂuence of layout of vertical spacing of nails on factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with vari- ous gradients for backslopes inclined at 0 , 10 , and 20 ,

0

0 Fig. 24. Inﬂuence of nail’s vertical spacing with various layouts on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a horizontal backslope. Fig. 25. Inﬂuence of nail’s vertical spacing with various layouts on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle (a) of 10 .

598

C.-C. Fan, J.-H. Luo / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 585–599 Fig. 26. Inﬂuence of nail’s vertical spacing with various layouts on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle (a ) of 20 .

respectively. With a horizontal backslope, the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with the value of S v = S v less than 1 is slightly greater than those with values of S v = S v 0 greater than 1.0. In other words, nails placed with smaller vertical spacing at the lower half of the slope result in better perfor- mance in the overall stability of soil–nailed slopes. Factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with S v = S v of 0.2 is about 3–9% more than that with S v = S v of 5 if the slope angle is greater than 70 and the backslope is horizontal. Eﬀect, however, of the value of S v = S v on the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle of 10 and 20 is minor. The results obtained herein show that inﬂuence of layout of the vertical spacing of nails on the stability of soil–nailed slopes is minor if elevations of the top and bottom level of nails remain ﬁxed.

0

0

0

0

6. Conclusions

Eﬀect of orientations and geometric layout, including nail length and nail’s vertical spacing, of nails on the over- all stability of soil–nailed slopes was investigated in this paper in terms of factor of safety analyzed using the ﬁnite element method. Various slope geometries, including a wide range of slope angles as well as various backslope angles, were taken into account in the analyses. Findings of this paper are helpful to the optimal design of soil–nailed slopes. Major ﬁndings concluded from this research are summarized as follows:

The optimal nail orientations for soil–nailed slopes with a gradient of 90 , 80 , 70 , 60 , 50 , and 40 are 10 , 20 , 30 , 47 , 58 , and 65 , respectively, if the backslope is inclined at 20 . However, the nail ori- entation in relation to the horizontal is recommended not to be less than 10–15 if nails are constructed with pre-drilled holes and ﬁlled with mortar. (2) Nail length at the upper and middle 1/3 parts of soil– nailed slopes has a minor inﬂuence on the overall sta- bility of slopes with a gradient of 60 (a moderate slope gradient), however, it aﬀects the factor of safety of soil–nailed walls to some extent if the backslope angle is less than 10 . Nail length at the lower 1/3 part of soil–nailed slopes and soil–nailed walls has a con- siderable inﬂuence on the overall stability of the slopes. For a horizontal backslope, the percentage of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with a gradient of 60 is about 15% if the value of L / H at the lower 1/3 part of the slope drops from 1.0

(suﬃcient nail lengths) to 0.2 (considerably short lengths), and the percentage of decrease in the factor of safety of soil–nailed walls ( b = 90 ) at the same condition is about 23.4%. (3) Eﬀect of nail length at any given elevation of slopes

on the factor of safety of soil–nailed walls is more sig-

niﬁcant than that of soil–nailed slopes with a moder- ate slope angle (60 ) irrespective of backslope angles.

Role of nail length at any given elevation in the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes and soil–nailed walls decreases as the backslope angle increases. (4) Layout of vertical spacing of nails on slopes has a trivial inﬂuence on the overall stability of soil–nailed slopes with inclined backslopes if elevations of the top and bottom levels of nails in slopes remain ﬁxed. However, for soil–nailed slopes with a gradient greater than 70 and with a horizontal backslope, the factor of safety of soil–nailed slopes with small vertical spacing at the lower half of slopes is greater than that with large vertical spacing by about 3–9%.

Acknowledgement

This research work was sponsored by the National Science Council in Taiwan under the Grant Number NSC 93-2211-E-327-002. This support is gratefully acknowledged.

(1) The optimal nail’s orientation, in relation to the hor- izontal, decreases with an increase in the slope angle, and it increases with an increase in the backslope angle. For a horizontal backslope, the optimal nail orientations for soil–nailed slopes with a gradient of 90 , 80 , 70 , 60 , 50 , and 40 are 0 , 8 , 16 , 23 , 30 , and 40 , respectively. For soil–nailed slopes with a backslope angle of 10 , the optimal nail orienta- tions for slope angle of 90 , 80 , 70 , 60 , 50 , and 40 are 0 , 10 , 20 , 30 , 40 , and 50 , respectively.

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