On the optimal profile of a slope

S. Utili, R. Nova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The problem of determining the best profile for a c, φ soil slope is tackled, with reference to rigid rotational failure mechanisms. By means of limit analysis, upper bound values of collapse load are determined. A new mathematical function is derived to compute the external work made by the weight of a double spiral shaped soil region sliding away. It is found that a log spiral front is associated with a larger safety factor than a planar one. The obtained results may also explain the log-spiral shape of perimeter walls of some typical Japanese castles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-731
Number of pages14
JournalSoils and foundations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • cohesive-frictional materials
  • limit analysis
  • optimization
  • slope stability
  • upper bound
  • civil engineering


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