Long-Term Stability of Clay Slopes

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Clay slopes have undergone changes which are either short-term or long-term in nature. However, it is quite difficult to draw a distinction between short-term and long-term stability. It certainly depends on the geologist, soil scientist or the engineer's subjectivity.


In order to describe "the long term stability of clay slopes", this paper will look at factors that make slopes become unstable overtime; the measurement of the instability; impact of long-term stability; and the prevention of instability of clay slopes.
To begin with, long term stability of clay slopes is influenced by several causes which as are embedded in two major factors. These main factors, according to Price (1984) and Ritter (1986, p 121) are shear stress and shear strength. Shear stress refers to the forces that cause movement of materials down slope while shear strength is the force that resists materials from moving down the slope. These forces oppose each other in the sense that, while shear stress wants movement of material to commence, shears strength refuses. This means that movement will only occur when shear stress exceeds shear strength. Otherwise, like Sparks (1964, p 56) puts it, in uniform material, shear stress and shear strength may remain comparatively uniform.
It is worth noting that shear stress has several intricate components that make it provoke movement of material down slope. Ritter (1986, p 121) outlines material internal friction characteristics; material normal stress and material normal cohesion as factors that determine stability of shear stress. Any drop or increase in these factors may alter shear stress. ...
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