Discrete Fracture Network Modelling for Slope Stability Analysis

Discrete Fracture Network Modelling for Slope Stability Analysis

Project Outline

Characterising fractured and jointed materials is a critical component of geotechnical slope stability analysis. The presence of large joints within slopes can produce sliding planes, leading to potentially catastrophic slope failure. Additionally, water ingress into sub-vertical joints can give rise to significant stresses within slopes.

Numerical simulation of jointed slopes is often complicated by the process of identifying joint locations often covered by layers of overburden. Jointing may occur in closely oriented groups, with individual joints extending laterally, sometimes up to a kilometre in length.

Discrete Fracture Network (DFN) analysis is a state-of-the-art technique for the investigation of joint properties based on the observed statistical distributions of joint characteristics. Although Discrete Fracture Networks are increasingly prevalent, their implementation in a Finite Element Method (FEM) framework is seldom considered.

This project aims to develop DFNs integrated within Finite Element environments to consider the effects of large fractured structures on numerical slope stability analysis, joint propagation and water flow.

Supervision team

Professor Thomas Baumgartl, Mr. Ashley Dyson (Research Fellow), Dr. Javad Yaghoubi (Research Fellow)