Simultaneous determination of critical slip surface and reliability index for slopes

Jian Feng Xue*, Ken Gavin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a new method for applying reliability-based design approaches to slope stability analysis. In this method the soil properties are considered to be random variables. The factor of safety of the slope is found using Bishop's simplified method for noncircular slip surfaces. By considering the variability of the soil properties, the probability of failure is determined from the reliability index (β). The minimization problem (determination of the lowest β value for the range of variables and possible slip surfaces considered) is solved using a genetic algorithm approach, which simultaneously locates the critical slip surface and determines the reliability index. The performance of the new method is compared to some existing reliability approaches when applied to case histories of slope failures from the geotechnical literature. The new approach is seen to provide reasonable and consistent estimates of the reliability index and critical slip surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-886
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • Algorithms
  • Probabilistic methods
  • Reliability
  • Safety factors
  • Slope stability


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