The seminar started by briefly reviewing the power and advantages of the finite element method in tackling slope stability problems, especially in non-uniform soils. A closely related method called the Random Finite Element Method was described, which enables analyses to be made of slopes with highly non-uniform properties, in which the shear strength is described statistically. The method enables estimates to be made of the probability of slope failure, as opposed to the classical factor of safety, and gives insight into the relationship between these two measures of stability.
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