Influence of a nonlinear failure criterion on the bearing capacity of a strip footing resting on rock mass using a lower bound approach

Xiaoli Yang, Jianhua Yin, Liang Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The strength envelope of almost all geomaterials is nonlinear when one considers a wide range of stresses. Therefore, a nonlinear failure criterion needs to be used in stability analysis whenever the effects of nonlinearity are too significant to be neglected. This paper presents a lower bound solution to the bearing capacity calculation of a strip footing resting on a homogenous weightless rock mass using the nonlinear Hoek-Brown (HB) failure criterion. Two types of admissible stress fields are used to develop solutions. The first stress field has three stress legs. The second stress field has a spiral-like shape with n stress legs, where n may vary from 9 to 18 000 (even to infinity). Using two admissible stress fields, equations are derived and used for the calculation of lower bound bearing capacity values of a strip footing on rock mass. The influences of the admissible stress leg number n and the material parameter s in the nonlinear HB failure criterion are investigated. It is found that the lower bound bearing capacity calculated using the spiral-like shape admissible stress field approaches to the true optimum value as the stress leg number n increases, and the nonlinear material parameter s has a strong influence on the bearing capacity of the footing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-707
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003


  • Bearing capacity
  • HB failure criterion
  • Lower bound theorem
  • Rock
  • Stress leg

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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