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Reliability Analysis of a Deep Excavation Problem


  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The NorthCap University, Gurgaon - 122017, Haryana, India


Objectives: Quantification of uncertainties and its implications on stability assessment of geotechnical problems can very well be captured through probabilistic analysis in which parameters are considered to be random variables. Thus, randomness of the response of the system is also captured and safety assessment is reported in terms of a safety index, commonly called as “reliability index”. In this study, probabilistic approach in conjunction with conventional deterministic approach is used for the analysis of a deep excavation problem and advantages of probabilistic approach are highlighted. Methods/Statistical Analysis: Probabilistic analysis requires establishment of connection between input parameters and output responses, for which response surface method (RSM) concepts can effectively be utilized. RSM helps developing regression model between input and output which can be used for the probabilistic analysis through First Order Reliability Method (FORM). Advanced finite element numerical tool, i.e., PLAXIS 3D is utilized for the purpose of the analysis. Findings: Considering this typical case of deep excavation problem, it is highlighted that probabilistic analysis when used in conjunction with the deterministic approach, it brings rationality in decision making while dealing with uncertainty and provides mathematical basis for treating uncertainty. Application/Improvements: Conventionally, stability analyses of a deep excavation system are carried out through limit equilibrium based approaches and the parameter used to define extent of stability is factor of safety. With advent of computers and finite element or finite difference based computing facilities, strength reduction technique is adopted to estimate the factor of safety. These numerical tools also help in predicting the deformation pattern and judging the serviceability requirements. In either case, the soil parameters used as input in the numerical tools are taken a constant value uniformly. Choice of appropriate value of design input parameter is based on past experience, good engineering judgment and confidence in the adopted analysis methodology. Due to various uncertain sources involved in the estimation of the input properties of a natural material like soil, such as, natural variability, testing errors, model transformation, it is impractical to assign a single value to design parameter. Deterministic approach, which involves single value of design parameters for stability assessment is considered to be simple and straight forward. It is demonstrated that quantification of uncertainties and its influence on stability assessment of deep excavation problem can be captured in probabilistic framework.


Deep Excavation, Factor of Safety, Numerical, Reliability, Uncertainty

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