The impact of evaporation induced cracks and precipitation on temporal slope stability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

69 Downloads (Pure)


The stability of a dike is influenced strongly by its water content, via both changing its weight and strength. While safety calculations using both analytical and numerical methods are well studied, the impact of surface boundaries exposed to natural conditions is rarely considered, nor is the fact that this surface is covered in vegetation and is susceptible to cracking. This paper presents a numerical study of stability of dikes covered with grass, subject to meteorological forcing and crack formation due to drying conditions.
Building on a previous study and adding the impact of cracking, a crop model and a Finite Element Method (FEM) model are integrated together using an optimisation method to ensure mass balance and consistency. The crop model, used to simulate vegetation growth and infiltration/evaporation in response to meteorological forcing, is modified to consider preferential flow due to cracking. The FEM model, used to simulate the dike stability and hydro-mechanical behaviour, has the material properties modified to simulate the impact of cracks. Results simulating a ten-year period indicate a strong impact of cracking on the factor of safety. The vegetation was found to be responsive to both crack presence and an increase in the amount of cracks, which suggests that monitoring vegetation could be a useful tool to identify cracked (vulnerable to cracking) locations along dikes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103506
Number of pages10
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cracks
  • Dikes
  • Drought
  • Slope stability
  • Vegetation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of evaporation induced cracks and precipitation on temporal slope stability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this