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4th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, London, 1957


Earth Pressures and Bearing Capacity Calculations by Generalized

Procédure of Slices
Les Poussées et la Force Portante des Sols—Calculs et Méthode Généralisée des Tranches

b y N . J a n b u , D .S c ., N o rw e g ian G eo te ch n ica l In stitu te , T ro n d h e im L a b o ra to ry , N o rw a y

Summary Sommaire
A g en eralized p ro c é d u re o f slices f o r c o m p o s ite slip su rfa c e s o f an y Dans cette étude un procédé généralisé par tranches pour surfaces
sh a p e (J a n b u , 1954) h a s h e re in b e e n e x p a n d e d to in c lu d e e a r th de glissement composites d’une forme quelconque (J a n b u , 1954) a
p re ss u re a n d b e a rin g c a p a c ity c a lc u la tio n s . été étendu pour y inclure les calculs de la pression du sol et de la force
As examples of application, formulae and numerical values have portante.
been obtained for earth pressure coefficients and bearing capacity Comme exemples d’application on a obtenu des formules et des
factors. Moreover, Terzaghi’s formula for strip footings has been valeurs numériques des coefficients de pression du sol et des facteurs
modified for inclusion of inclined loads. By independent control de force portante. De plus, la formule de Terzaghi pour fondations
stability analyses, accuracy of the obtained formulae is indicated. sur semelles a été modifiée pour y introduire les charges inclinées.
The factor of safety with respect to shear strength is recommended, L’exactitude des formules obtenues se trouve indiquée par des
whether the problem be concerned with earth pressure, bearing analyses indépendantes de contrôle de la stabilité.
capacity or slope stability. Therefore a separate study of the relation- On recommande un facteur de sécurité concernante la résistance
ship between the proposed and the orthodox safety factors is in- au cisaillement, qu’il s’agisse de problèmes portant sur la pres­
cluded, from which appropriate numerical values may be selected in sion du sol, sa force portante ou de la stabilité de la pente. C’est
accordance with past experience. pourquoi l’auteur fournit une étude spéciale sur le rapport entre les
facteurs de sûreté proposés et les facteurs classiques, permettant de
choisir des valeurs numériques convenables répondant aux expériences
W orking Formulae
The principal considérations leading to the w orking form ulae A long this element the shear stress r necessary for equilibrium
are briefly reviewed below. F o r this purpose référencé is made can be expressed as a certain p o rtion o f ry, say
to Fig. 1, showing key sketches, prim ary notations and equili-
brium conditions. t = Tf / F = ce + a' tan <j>e (2)
Définition o f safety factor—Let the shearing résistance ly
along a n elem ent o f a potential slip surface be given in term s of in which ce = c'IF, tan <j>c = tan <j>'lF, and F is the familiar
effective norm al stress a' by the empirical équation, factor o f safety with respect to shear strength.
Tf = c' + o' tan<£' . . . . (1) Normal stress and shear stress— Condition (a) in Fig. 1 leads
A ip Equations of equilibrium for each slice
X "
0=origin Vertical : dW + dP + dT - dSsin<x+ dA/cosa. (a)
z H 1u /
Horizontal : dE - dO --d S co so t + dWsintt (b)
b IIBoundary
Eh~~<lface -J W'= t,/F Moment
about M
Tdx + Edy, - dEh, + d Qz - 0 (c)
Slip surface ^
(of any shape) Equilibrium of whole sliding mass, consider free body
u^pore water pressure
(dS sin a, + d/Vcos a ) = fil(dW+dP) + Tb
dx Vertical i „ J° (al)
' /Un-dT = Tb

Horizontal S dScos<x+ d/Vsinct) = Er- Q (bl)

i.e. fddE - Et,

Abbreviations used in text:

' - ï ï dx

Illustration des conditions élémentaires d’équilibre pour le procédé généralisé par tranches
to the following form ulae for effective norm al stress a' = Often, it is possible to obtain directly accurate results w ithout
dN/ dl - u, successive approxim ation, particularly when T can be estim ated
a’ = (/> + / — «) — t tan a . . . . (3) at the outset o f the calculation. In such cases it is recommended
to use équation 6 as control o f whether or n ot the estim ated T
E quations 2 and 3 yield, is reasonable. B oth procédures are used herein.
= ce + (p + t — u) tan <f>e The application o f the working form ulae require a consistent
(4) use o f signs. It is therefore im portant to notice the positive
1 + tan. a tan <j>e
directions o f ail external and internai forces defined in Fig. 1.
Internai forces and boundary conditions—W hen eliminating
dN from conditions (a) and (b) one finds,
Application to Earth Pressure Calculation
d E = d Q + (p + t) tan a d* — r cos-2 a d x . . . . (5)
The calculations below are restricted to dry sand, i.e. c' = 0,
The horizontal force E at any vertical section is obtained by u = 0 and <j>' = <j>. Since it is possible to deal with active and
integrating équation 5 from 0 to x. passive earth pressure sim ultaneously, the double subscript, ap
T he corresponding shear force T is expressed in term s o f E is applied. M oreover, when double signs occur, the upper and
and Q, on dividing condition (c) by d*, lower signs refer to active and passive pressure, respectively.
AE Principal dérivations—Référencé is m ade to Fig. 2a. In tro ­
T = — E tan at + h — ( 6) ducing c' = 0, u = 0, Q = 0 and Eb = Pap into équation 8a
and observing th a t t is negative for the passive case, one
I f a résultant force at a boundary face, x = b, is represented by
obtains for the horizontal com ponent,
the com ponents Eb and 7*, the overall, directional equilibrium
o f the free body requires Pap = f (p + 0 tan (“ T <t>e) d x ----- (9)
Ç d T = Tb, fb d E = E b ....(7)
The vertical com ponent a t the contact face b — b is expressed as,
Jo Jo
Overall m om ent equilibrium is satisfied by équation 6. Ta p = * P a p tan S, ....(10)
Stability criterion—F o r the proposed procédure it is m ost in which tan S e = tan S/F, where ta n S represents wall friction
convenient to use the overall condition o f equilibrium in (see Fig. 3). Introducing équations 10 and 5 into 6, the
horizontal direction as stability criterion, équations 5 and 7 boundary condition in vertical direction along b — b is
Q + f (P + t) tan a d x — f r cos-2 a d x = Eb . . . . (8)
J0 Jo
T tan 8 e = — tan<x(lv + 1^-(y H + q + tw) tan (aw T <f>e) . . . (11)
In the dérivation no simplifying assum ption has been made * ap
regarding the shape o f the potential slip surface. The criterion The symbols are defined in Fig. 2 and q = dP Idx
is therefore applicable to any specified o r chosen surface, F o r inclined walls équations 9 and 11 are first applied to an
whether the problem is to determine F (e.g. slope stability imaginary vertical section b — b through the top (for inward)
analysis) or to determ ine earth pressure or bearing pressure or the bottom o f the wall (for outw ard inclinations). The
corresponding to a specified F. pressure com ponents on the actual contact face are obtained
F o r a specified value o f F the stability criterion is m ore com ­ by means o f a force polygon for the triangular slice located
plété w hen we substitute for r the value given by équation 4. between the contact face and section b — b.
Observing th a t tan a dx = dy, équations 4 and 8 yield, Plane surfaces—W hen applying plane slip surfaces rising at
an angle a = aw w ith the horizontal, équations 9 and 10 yield
Eb - f udy = Q + f [(p + t — ü)
Jo Jo for vertical wall and horizontal terrain surface,
+ ce cot <f>e\ tan (a — <f>e) d x — ce cot <j>e d y ___ (8a) cot a tan (a T è e) .. Tr. ,
Jo r« - 02 )
F o r the purpose o f determ ining F a w orking form ula is ob­ The abbreviation r represents the ‘roughness ra tio ’,
tained by introducing T f = F t into équations 4 and 8 and
solving the latter w ith respect to F. F o r finite différences, tan S g _ tan 8
r ~ ta n ^ e — ta n ^
2 r /C o s -2 a A x
F =
Q — Eb + 2Q? + /) tan a A x The critical earth pressure coefficient in équation 12 is found
from the requirem ent dPap/da = 0, which leads to,
_ c' + (p + t — u) tan <ft' _ co t2 ttap
. . . . (8b) a °p - x+r
1 + ta n a ta n <f>'jF
(When T / is introduced into the well know n m om ent équation {(1 + r)(l + ta n 2 &,)}* T (1 + r) tan <j>e ^
for slip circle analyses one obtains the form ula derived by 1 — r ta n 2 <j>e
B is h o p , 1954.)
Herein, aap is the angle between the critical plane and the
Calculation procédure—T he working form ulae contain the horizontal.
quantity t, which is statically indeterm inate as long as the Particularly, for sm ooth walls (r = 0), the following classical
actual stress conditions are n o t explored. However, by as- results are derived from équation 14,
suming a reasonable position o f the Une o f thrust, accurate
values o f the corresponding internai forces, E and T, are Kap = ta n 2 (45° =F for ccap = 45° ± i f a ----- (14a)
obtained from équations 5 and 6 by means o f a successive Furtherm ore, for r = — 1 one obtains
approxim ation procédure.
First, initial values E 0 and T0 are calculated for the condition Kap = cos2 <f>e, for aap = 90° ----- (14b)
t = 0. F rom T0 one obtains t0 = dT 0/dx, which when in tro ­ corresponding to a potential slip along the wall.
duced into équations 5 and 6 leads to im proved values E\ and Composite surfaces—F o r the initial investigation, the con­
Ti, and so on. In m ost cases the convergence is very rapid. ditions t = 0 and q = 0 are considered. M oreover, the line

(a) (b)

T ^sin (45’ -j<f>e)e


«= co^e

R=He « W '

Fig. 2 Key sketches for earth pressure calculations

Schémas pour le calcul de la pression du sol

Sign convention for wall friction

Passive Active
t-.-, .... ... . .. . - X-

Pa =Ka [ '/ 2 y H 2+ q H ]
T„ - tan 6 . P„

0-4 0-6 oe
Values of tan <pe- 1 /F tan <p

Fig. 3 Earth pressure coefficients in sand for horizontal terrain and vertical walls of différent roughness
Coefficients de pression du sol dans du sable pour terrain horizontal et murs verticaux de rugosités différentes
o f thrust is draw n through the lower third points of each slice. The four slip surfaces used in the analysis are logarithm ic
Accordingly, équations 9 and 11 can be w ritten as follows : spirals with their centres on line M — M \ com bined w ith
straight lines inclined a t 45 degrees — \<j>e w ith the horizontal.
Kap = z tan (a T 4>e) d* ----- (15) In the first p art o f the analysis, the distribution o f T was
assumed, according to the formula, Fig. 4,
2 2
T tan 8,, = - ^ tan <x„ + tan (ocu, T </>e) ----- (15a) T=£"TP . . . . (18)
F or a given value o f <j>e corresponding values o f K ap and tan Se F o r surface N o. 1 différent values o f n were used. The safety
can be obtained for any chosen slip surface by means o f factors calculated by équation 8b are assembled in a table in
équations 15 and 15a. Since b oth équations m ust be satisfied Fig. 4, from which it is indicated th a t F approaches 1 -50 for
simultaneously, the condition t = 0 (in the soil) is équivalent to increasing n, which is in accordance w ith the assum ption o f a
a concentrated shear force along the wall. The conséquences concentrated shear force at the wall.
o f this simplification are investigated separately by a numerical In the second p art o f the investigation, T was calculated by
example. step-wise approxim ation, using h, ~ 0-4z in équation 6. It
If the potential slip surfaces are represented by com binations was then disclosed th a t the calculated an d assumed T were
o f straight lines and logarithm ic spirals w ith their centres at
the to p o f the wall, such as shown in Fig. 2b, it is seen that
a w = ± 4>e and z tan (a T <f>e) equals x and 2L — x in intervais Data: H -5 m , y=2t/m3, q= 2i/m 2
0 to L , and L to 2L, respectively. Hence, from équations 15 ^ 4 7 ’ F=t-5i.e. ip-30" A
and 15a, Whereof for r =—
2 TN
R =176 t/m T p =67-8 t/m
Kap = 2 ( | ) 2 = 2 sin2 (45° T exp (* e T | ) ta n & . . . . (16)
q=2 t/m
tan Se = $ tan <f>e, or r = £ . . . . (16a)
F o r logarithm ic spirals w ith their centres on line M — M ' (to
both sides o f the top o f the wall) the following form ulae were
in No. 1.
* a ' = 2 ( é ) 2 + i tan£ü° ....(17)
2 2
± ta n 8 e = - - tan(o>0 ± <f>e) + tano>0 -----(17a)
+ Calculated T
The positive value o f co0 is defined in Fig. 2b, otherwise the 7] assumed
symbols are the same as above. The last term in équation 17 parabolic n=2
is slightly simplified w ithout significant loss in accuracy.
Values o f K a and K p—N um erical values o f the earth pressure
coefficients have been evaluated, and they are plotted versus
tan <j>e for différent r, Fig. 3. F o r positive r, équations 16 and
17 were applied. F o r negative r, équation 14 was used since 100
control investigations by means o f com posite slip surfaces
indicated sufficient accuracy, except perhaps near r = — 1.
A n ail round com parison between plane and com posite slip
surfaces verified previous findings. The différences are small
in the active zone, while, in the passive zone, the plane surfaces
lead to errors on the unsafe side for positive r. M oreover, Fig. 4 Control stability analyses for determining the accuracy of
these errors increased rapidly with increasing <f>e and r. Par- the formula calculation of passive earth pressure
ticularly, for <f>e = Se = 45 degrees the plane surface yields Analyses de stabilité de contrôle pour la détermination de
l’exactitude de la formule de calcul de la pression passive
K p = oo, while for com posite slip surfaces values between 22 du sol
and 25 have been obtained. F o r further com parison référencé
is m ade to C a q u o t and K é r is e l (1949), and B r i n c h H a n s e n alm ost identical for n = 2 (see plot o f internai forces in Fig. 4).
(1953). F o r the four surfaces the calculated values o f F are plotted
T he orthodox form ulae for Pa and P p, given in Fig. 3, are versus the point o f intersection a t ground level. A m inimum
slightly incorrect for com posite slip surfaces, since the co­ value o f F = 1 -54 is indicated.
efficients before the y- and the ç-term s are n o t identical for such Since the différence between the applied F = 1 '50 (for con­
surfaces. However, the num erical example below appears to centrated T ) and the calculated m inim um F = 1-54 (for
indicate th a t this simplification is justified in practice. distributed T) is so small, it is believed th a t the only conséquence
Accuracy investigations—The d ata given in Fig. 4 lead to the o f the simplifications m ade is th a t the locations o f the corre­
following passive earth pressure com ponent, according to sponding critical spirals are différent.
Fig. 3, and using F = 1 -50. In this connection it may also be o f interest to observe the
P p - 176 t/m , Tp = 67-8 t/m fairly wide zone w ithin which F varies between fairly narrow
Let it now be assumed th a t the calculated com ponents are limits, say between 1 -54 and 1 -57.
actually acting on the wall. F o r com parison the corresponding
factor o f safety can be explored by means o f stability analysis, Application to Bearing Capacity Calculations
carried o u t independently o f the form ula calculations. F o r Herein, équation 8a is applied for the calculation o f allowable
this purpose équation 8b is applicable. bearing pressures on inftnitely long strip footings under inclined
T= 0, excepl al A-A,
p z y z + 3 . for B ï x ïO where T zi /3 tan tye Pap
1 B
p z y z + y D ,fo r b * x ? B Horizontal equilibrium at A-A\ czO
Ka ('/2 y Hj i2+
+ fg
k H - Kp
ut)*Pah = /7/,..u2*
ve ('/ 2 y H 2y D H )
Fig. 5 Key sketches for bearing capacity calculations
Schémas pour les calculs de la force portante

loads. The calculations are restricted to centric loads and between the values of N v calculated from équation 22c and the
u = 0. corresponding values obtained by T e r z a g h i (1943) show th at
Principal dérivation—The bearing capacity o f shallow strip the différences are small. T he form ula for N h, however, lacks
footings under inclined loads can be determined, a t least any basis for direct com parison, since it is used herein for the
approxim ately, by the following modified équation, Fig. 5. first time. F o r an indirect com parison référencé is m ade to
M e y e r h o f (1953).
p „ ± N hPh = i N ^ B + N ^ D + N ^ fl9)
The bearing capacity factors are plotted versus tan rf>c in
wherein Fig. 6.
Ph < P u ta n 4>e Accuracy investigations—W hen utilizing the d ata given in
Fig. 7, a form ula calculation (Fig. 6) for vertical Ioad yields,
O n substituting for p, according to Fig. 5a, and com paring
équations 8a and 19 terni for term , one finds for T = 0, Pv = 56 t/m , (for F = 1-5)
B 2 Cb F o r the sake o f com parison the stability o f this footing is
N h = J, Ny = — z tan ( e t - <j>e) d x
explored independently by means o f équation 8b. Three
N v = - y \ b tan (a-<f>e) d x . . . . (20)
1 Jb

Nc = _ J tan (a — <f>e) djcJ

H erein, the abbreviation I represents the intégral

I = ( ta n (a — <f>e) d x ___ (20a)
T he condition T = 0 leads to conservative /V-values. How-
ever, by assum ing a reasonable distribution o f T for each term
(P/i, y , y D and ce) im proved N-values are obtained. M oreover,
équation 6 is applicable for control o f the assumed résultant T.
Shallow footing on horizontal terrain— F o r the simple case
illustrated in Fig. 5b the bearing capacity factors can be ob-
tained directly from the condition o f equilibrium in horizontal
direction. F o r c = 0

^ — 1\ y H + ^ y D (21)
B ^ HKa 2 \K a F ^ KJ y ’ Values 0! tan <pe.
O n com paring équations 19 and 21, and introducing for K a
Fig. 6 Bearing capacity numbers for shallow strip footings acted
an d K p according to équation 16, one finds upon by centric loads of différent inclinations

Nh = j Y k = sec (45° + exP (4- y>e) tan <f>e . . . . (22a)

Valeurs de force portante pour semelles peu profondes sous
l’action de charges centriques d’inclinaisons différentes

Nq = = ta n 2 (45° + i<f>e) exp v tan <j>c ___ (22b) différent distributions o f the contact pressure are considered.
F o r each case b oth calculated and assumed distributions o f T
are used, including the initial step T = 0. The resuit o f the
Ny = ® “ J) f = \ Nh{-N “ ~ I} • • • • (22c) investigation is assembled in a table in Fig. 7.
F urtherm ore, since d = 0, the following relationship is derived F o r cases (b) and (c), w ith a maximum contact pressure under
from équation 20 the centre o f the footing, the obtained values o f F are close to
1 -50, as used in the form ula calculation of P„. A further com ­
N c = (Nq - 1) cot 4,c . . . . (22d)
parison appears to indicate th at a rigid footing (case a) is
The values obtained for N c and N q are in agreement with the slightly safer th an a flexible footing (cases b or c) for otherwise
Prandtl theory for sm ooth base. M oreover, a com parison equal conditions.
N earby trial surfaces above and below the ‘Prandtl surface’ cation th an the available procédures for specified slip surfaces.
indicated equal or slightly higher safety factors. Particularly, when the factor o f safety is to be determined, it
As another example an inclined load is considered (Fig. 8) has been found through practical experience th at irrespective
utilizing the same soil constants as above. The form ula cal­ o f the shape o f the slip surface, the proposed procédure is ju st
culation for F = 1 -5 yields, Fig. 6 as simple as the slip circle analyses.
The factor o f safety with respect to shear strength (term ed F )
P v = 34 t/m , Ph = 9 t/m
is herein suggested as the basis of design in ail stability problem s.
F o r control, separate stability analyses are carried out along 6 F o r problem s concerning slopes, cuts, em bankm ents an d earth
com posite slip surfaces shown in Fig. 8. dams, F has already found widespread application, while in the

Safety factors obtained Distributions t/m 2

(a) Uniform

Load For T=0 Assumed

distribution (Initial step) T T ;
(b) Theoretical
(a) Uniform 1 39 1 55 1-58
'tM L
(b) Theoretical 1375 153 1-54 WN,yD
* «’ ’ T
(c ) Parabolie 136 151 1-40 (c)Parabolic

yD =t-5 t/m 2 yB=4t/m2, B-2m

Data '
t=35 . F * 1-5 i.e. $ ,= 2 5 °

-* — Abscissa x t/m

Fig. 7 Stability investigation of a strip footing on sand with vertical Fig. 8 Stability investigation for a strip footing on sand under an
load and différent contact pressure distributions inclined load
Recherches de stabilité d’une fondation à semelle sur sable Recherches de stabilité d’une fondation à semelle sur sable
avec charge verticale et différentes répartitions de la sous une charge inclinée
pression de contact.
case o f permissible earth or bearing pressures it has only
The obtained values o f F are plotted versus the point of inter­
recently been recomm ended (B rinch H ansen , 1953, 1955).
section between the slip surface and level A — A '. F ro m this
plot it is indicated th a t Fmia = 1 -47, while F = 1-50 was used
in the form ula calculation. It is also interesting to notice the
wide zone w ithin which the calculated F varies between the B ish o p , A. W. (1954). The use of the slip circ le in the stability
analysis of slopes. European Conf. on Stability o f Earth Slopes,
narrow limits of 1 -47 to 1 -50. Vol. I. Stockholm
A ltogether, the investigations above indicate th a t the form ula C a q u o t, A. and K é r i s e l , J. (1949). Tables de Butee, de Poussee et
obtained for shallow strip footings is accurate, even though the de Force Portante des Fondations. Paris ; Gauthier-Villars
actual critical slip surface for inclined loads is n o t as deep H a n s e n , J. B r i n c h (1953). Earth Pressure Calculation. Copen-
seated as th a t used for the form ula dérivations. hagen ; Danish Technical Press
— (1955). Simpel beregning af fundamenters bereevne. Ingeniôren,
Vol. 4. Copenhagen
Concluding Rem arks J a n b u , N . (1954). Application of composite slip surfaces for stability
The generalized procédure o f slices, presented herein, has a analyses. European Conf. on Stability o f Earth Slopes, Discussion,
Vol. III, Stockholm
wide field o f application, since it is n o t limited to any particular — B je r r u m , L . and K j a r n s l t , B . (1956). Veiledning ved losning av
shape o f the potential slip surface, nor is it restricted to simple, fundamenteringsoppgaver. Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Oslo
uniform soil conditions, o r to any particular category o f those L a z a r d , A. (1955). Nouvelles remarques sur le calcul de la stabilité
soil stability problem s where potential slip surfaces are des talus en terre. Travaux, Paris
applicable. M e y e r h o f , G. G. (1953). The bearing capacity of foundations under
eccentric and inclined loads. Proc. 3rd International Conférence
D espite the circumstance th a t ail équations o f equilibrium are on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, Vol. 1, pp. 4-40, 445
satisfied and the internai forces between the slices are included, T e r z a g h i, K. (1943). Theoretical Soil Mechanics, Chaps. VII and
the procédure is no m ore time consuming in practical appli­ VIII. New York; Wiley


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