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Failure mechanisms in unsaturated silty sand slopes triggered by rainfall
  • Autoren: Amin Askarinejad

  • Failure mechanisms in unsaturated silty sand slopes triggered by rainfall

Landslide, Mudslide, Soil Mechnics, Hydraulic, Rhine, Rüdlingen

Landslides triggered by rainfall cause significant damage to infrastructure annually and affect many lives in several parts of the world, including Switzerland. These landslides are initiated by a decrease in the effective stresses, and hence the shear strength of the soil, as a result of the increase in pore water pressure. The frequency of their occurrence is directly affected by the climatic and hydrological conditions in the region. Therefore, it is expected that the predicted rise in the number of extreme meteorological events, accompanied by the concentration of population and infrastructure in mountainous regions, will result in an increased number of casualties associated with landslides in the future.

The main goal of this doctoral project was to study the effects of pore water pressure perturbations on the stability of unsaturated silty sand slopes and to investigate the mechanisms leading to the initiation and propagation of the shear deformations and eventually possible rapid mass movements.

The behaviour of the test slope prior to the failure induced by the artificial rainfall event was investigated using analytical and numerical methods. The mechanical features of unsaturated soils and reinforcing effects of the vegetation were implemented in 2D and 3D limit equilibrium analysis. The possible depth of the failure surface was calculated based on these simplified models and was compared with the depth of the real failure surface in the landslide triggering experiment. The soil-bedrock interactions, in terms of the pattern of pore pressure distributions and their influence on stabilising or destabilising the slope, were studied and the results were compared to the field measurements.

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