The reliable assessment of the stability of saturated slopes becomes a challenging task when slopes are consisting of discontinuous materials and containing pre-existing joints. The discontinuous nature of the slopes' material could increase the overall permeability of the slope, while existing joints facilitate groundwater leakage through the joint surfaces into the slope which subsequently exerts a major impact on deformation and the effective stress distribution. This paper aims to study the Pore Water Pressure (PWP) distribution changes in a saturated fractured slope by conducting advanced coupled pore fluid diffusion and stress-strain analyses, while investigating the sensitivity of results to the variation of permeability and leakage properties of fracture surfaces. Modelling of jointed slopes is carried out using the e-Xtended Finite Element Method (XFEM) in conjunction with the Finite Element Method (FEM). In this study, the fluid flow inside the joint is the major focus at which the constitutive response of the fluid inside the joint considers both tangential and normal flows. To demonstrate the state-of-the-art simulation technique presented in this paper, simulation of a fractured slope at the second largest open-pit mine in Australia is performed as a case study. This study shows the effect of a variable leak-off coefficient of the joint surfaces and the permeability magnitude on the pore water pressure distribution.
This research has been supported financially by the Earth Resources Regulation of the Victorian State Government Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. The first and second authors are funded by the GHERG LV Batter Stability Project Scholarship and Faculty Tuition Scholarship of Federation University Australia.