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Soil Engineering

Does cutting slope cause slope deformation or slope failure?

Slope cutting causes stress relief in slopes which may cause slope movement. For instance, for weathered rocks the horizontal stresses would be relatively low when compared with normally consolidated soils.

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Consequently, a major cut on the slope formed by weather rock may result in the development of tensile stresses in the slope, leading to slope movement.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

Why are filled slopes vulnerable to slope failure?

Filled slopes constructed in many decades ago are mostly sub-standard. The relative density of filled slopes may be below 85% and is readily subjected to liquefaction. To rectify the situation, the sloped are reconstructed by excavation of 3m measured vertically from slope surface. Then, compaction should be carried out in thin layers to achieve in-situ density of not less than 95% of maximum dry density. After compaction, the compacted layer would not vulnerable to liquefaction failure. Moreover, it is less permeable than loose fill upon compaction and prevents water entry into underlying soils inside the slope.

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For the case of Hong Kong, most fill slopes constructed before 1977 were formed by end-tipping so that they are in a loose state and poses hazard to developments nearby.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

What is the difference in failure slip surface between slopes with cohesive and granular materials?

When cohesive strength is zero (i.e. slopes of granular types), the slip surface is of shallow failure type and is parallel to the slope surface.

When friction angle is zero (i.e. slopes of clayey types), the slip surface is if deep seated failure. The factor of safety of slopes is nearly independent of the angle of slopes because the weight of deep seated failure regime is much greater than the slope.

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Normally, non-circular failure surface is always more critical than circular one for two dimensional analysis.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

Other than liquefaction, what are the possible causes of failure of loose fill slopes?

Other than static liquefaction, slow-moving slips driven by transient pore water pressure leading to high speed landslide are the other possible cause of failure of loose fill slopes.

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For loose fill lying on low permeability soil layers, there is potential storage of infiltrating water when the slope of underlying low-permeability soil layer is mild. As such, there is a localized zone of high transient pore water pressure induced within the fill material. Flowslides normally start with a local slip caused by transient pore water pressure by soil layering or flow restriction. Then, the nature of slow-moving soil debris and the geometry of slip result in a fast landslide.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

Why are fill slopes compacted to dense state instead of loose state?

In rainstorm, the runoff from rainfall infiltrate into the top layer of fill slopes. It may result in saturation of this layer of fills leading to the decrease in soil suction. Consequently shallow slope failure may occur.

If the fill slope is in a loose state, the soils would tend to decrease in volume during deformation. As a result this induces a rise in pore-water pressure which triggers slope failure in form of mud-avalanche.

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If the fill slope is in a dense state, the soils would tend in increase in volume during deformation and it only fails like a mud slump.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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