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Computer Program AutoBlock for Analyzing the Stability of Foundations and Slopes in Rock based on a Digital Terrain Model


The CAD-based program AutoBlock enables engineers to analyze the stability of discrete blocks in a digital terrain model. These so called potential unstable blocks are endangered by sliding along known discontinuities or by separating from them. The digital terrain model is created from a digital terrain surface, which may be obtained from a digitized terrain map. Additionally, foundations or parts to be excavated may be superimposed. When determining the potential unstable blocks it must be taken into account that the digital terrain model is intersected by arbitrary sets of discontinuities, the geometry and strength properties of which have to be defined individually for each set. For each potential unstable block, which, based on kinematic considerations, may fail, the factor of safety against sliding is computed using the limit equilibrium method.

AutoBlock is an add-on to the popular program "AutoCAD" and exploits its possibilities and its power (e.g. for 3D-visualizations). A specially implemented user interface with menus and dialog boxes enables one to use AutoBlock even without a detailed knowledge of AutoCAD. It provides all the tools necessary for representing and visualizing the results and facilitates a stability analysis with any number of potential unstable blocks.

Thanks to these tools and by exploiting the services of AutoCAD, AutoBlock enables engineers to overview and handle the geometry of the discontinuities in the ground and to determine potential unstable blocks with a minimum of expense and a maximum of accuracy.


Fritz, Pit and Bergamin, Stefan

Index Terms:

slope; stability; CAD; dam; large dam; analysis; Stabilitat; AutoBlock; rock; TunnelingGroup; Informatics; Bergamin, Stefan; Fritz, Pit

Further Information:

Date published: 2004