WIT Press

Probabilistic Risk Assessment: The Tool For Uncertainty Reduction In Geotechnical Engineering


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WIT Press


Z. Mrabet & D. Giles


Probabilistic risk assessment: the tool for uncertainty reduction in geotechnical engineering Z. Mrabet & D. Giles School of Earth h Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK Abstract During last two decades many earth structures have encountered problems concerning their safety and reliability. Many of these difficulties arise due to an insufficient understanding of the uncertainties concerned with both their design and construction. Increased attention is now being given to risk and uncertainty in geotechnical engineering, driven by the pressure for improved reliability and safety. Geotechnical engineering is an interesting context in which to develop and apply ideas of uncertainty management. The Engineer is confronted with uncertainty associated with the random nature, spatial variability and inadequate characterization of geotechnical properties and in the complexity of the associated engineering projects. The Engineer is expected to make dependable and clear decisions often based on incomplete data sets. To do so requires an understanding of the nature of uncertainty and of appropriate techniques to manage and reduce it. This paper includes a brief description of recent probabilistic tools affecting reliability and probabilistic modelling of earth structures. 1 Introduction Any representation or characterization of the geotechnical media is sullied with uncertainties due to the inherent heterogeneity with these media and in the limitations within the objective or subjective methods, which are used to characterize them. Results of tests performed at different points of the medium could be considered as independent outcomes of the same experiment.