Analytical Solutions for General Three-Wedge Stability

Patrick J. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A force-based limit-equilibrium analysis is presented for the stability of a general two-dimensional, three-wedge sliding mass of soil with vertical or nonvertical interfaces between the wedges. The analysis is conducted using five failure planes and can accommodate variable conditions for wedge geometry, pore pressure, shear strength parameters, reinforcement, applied loads, and pseudostatic seismic coefficients. A constant factor of safety is assumed for each failure plane and reinforcement element, although this assumption can be relaxed through the selection of strength parameters. The factor of safety is obtained analytically and requires solving for the roots of a polynomial equation. A numerical example is provided to demonstrate the method and illustrate the importance of selected parameters, including wedge interface angles, for the stability of an earth slope. The analytical solutions take compact form, provide insight for the three-wedge method, and offer good capability to tailor conditions for applications that can be suitably characterized by wedge failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04022219
JournalInternational Journal of Geomechanics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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