Rock Slope Stability Analysis Using Discrete Element Method

Document Type: Research Paper


1 University of Tehran

2 Department of Civil Engineering, Imam Khomeini International University

3 Road, Housing & Urban Development Research Center


Rock slope stability depends very much on the strength features of the rock and the geometrical and strength characteristics of the discontinuities (e.g., roughness, wall strength and persistence). Since a rock mass is not a continuum, its behavior is dominated by such discontinuities as faults, joints and bedding planes. Also, Rock slope instability is a major hazard for human activities and often causes economic losses, property damage (maintenance costs), as well as injuries or fatalities. A computer program has been developed in this research study to perform the stability analysis of a rock slope using the Discrete Element Method (DEM). The rock in the present model is treated as some blocks connected together by elasto-plastic Winkler springs. This method, the formulation of which satisfies all equilibrium and compatibility conditions, considers the progressive failure and is able to find the slip surface or unstable blocks. To demonstrate the applicability and usefulness of the method, several examples have been presented for the analysis and optimization of the rock slope stabilization.  


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