Effects of Weak Layer Angle and Thickness on the Stability of Rock Slopes

Document Type: Research Paper


1 China University of Mining and Technology

2 Department of Surface mining and slope Engineering China University of Mining and Technology


This paper researches two key factors (angle and thickness) of a weak layer in relation to their influencing mechanism on slope stability. It puts forward the sliding surface angle and morphological model criteria for the control of rock slopes and realization of its failure mechanism. By comparing the Failure Modes and Safety Factors (Fs) obtained from numerical analysis, the influence pattern for the weak layer angle and thickness on the stability of rock slopes is established. The result shows that the weak layer angle influences the slope by validating the existence of the “interlocking” situation. It also illustrates that as the angle of the weak layer increases, the Fs unceasingly decreases with an Fs transformation angle. The transformation interval of the Fs demonstrates the law of diminishing of a quadratic function. Analysis of the weak layer thickness on the influence pattern of slope stability reveals three decrease stages in the Fs values. The result also shows that the increase in the thickness of the weak layer increases the failure zone and influences the mode of failure. Given the theoretical and numerical analysis of a weak layer effects on the stability of rock slopes, this work provides a guiding role in understanding the influence of a weak layer on the failure modes and safety factors of rock slopes.