School of Engineering, Information Technology and Physical Sciences

Multiple Point Statistics for Finite Element Method Slope Stability Analysis

Multiple Point Statistics for Finite Element Method Slope Stability Analysis

Project Outline

Inherent soil variability can have significant effects on the stability of open-pit mine slopes.  In practice, the spatial variability of materials is not commonly considered as a routine component of slope stability analysis.  The process of quantifying spatially variable parameters as well as the modelling of their behaviour is often a complex undertaking.  Currently, there are no large-scale commercial software packages containing in-built methods for modelling spatial variability within the Finite Element environment.

Numerical slope stability analysis with spatially variable soils is commonly considered using the Random Finite Element Method (RFEM), however, the technique often performs poorly in the absence of large datasets of geotechnical strength parameters.  Multiple Point Statistics (MPS) is a set of geostatistical methods for constructing complex spatial patterns of probable soil profiles through the development of training images.  In particular, MPS allows for the generation of intrinsic soil patterns and structures that cannot be generated by traditional RFEM techniques.  Although there has been significant recent advancements in the development of MPS, the method has yet to be considered for the purposes of slope stability analysis and as such is considered a paradigm shift to traditional probabilistic slope stability analysis.

This novel project aims to develop MPS slope stability analysis techniques within the Finite Element environment for the purposes of quantifying uncertainty and risk within large open-pit mine slopes and embankments.

Supervision team

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