Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 982–989 | Cite as

Analysis of Loess Slope Stability Considering Cracking and Shear Failures

  • Jianmei Chang
  • Siwen Song
  • Huaiping Feng
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


The cracks caused by tension are commonly observed on the upper border of loess slope. Most researchers assume that shear failure is the main reason for slope instability. The existing cracks and their development are not fully considered. The finite element method is applied widely in the numerical simulations of slope stability, but it converges and time problems must be considered when a crack occurs. The extended finite element method provides a new way to solve discontinuous media problems. In this paper, a composite model of cracking and shear failure is introduced. The extended finite element method was used to simulate the cracking in loess slope. The model used here had a unified enrichment function and the enriched freedom had a clear physical meaning. Numerical analyses were performed and the simulation results showed that the stress field redistributes. The crack propagated almost vertically at the beginning. The slope stability safety factor was less than that obtained without considering tension failure. Furthermore, the critical sliding surface was determined. This model can be used for analyzing the stability of loess slope and provides a reference for slope safety analyses.


Cracking Shear failure Extended finite element method Loess slope 



Shape function


Displacement function


No. of nodes


Level set function of the crack surface


Level set function of the crack tip


Tangent vector of the crack tip


Principal stress


Crack depth of retaining wall


Bulk density


Coefficient of passive pressure



This project is financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (51478279) and the Scientific Research Foundation of Hebei Education Department (QN2015117). We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the members in the Unsaturated Lab in Shijiazhuang Tiedao University.


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© ASM International 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil EngineeringShijiazhuang Tiedao UniversityShijiazhuangPeople’s Republic of China

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