Slope stabilization refers to any implemented technique that aims to stabilize an unstable or inadequately stable slope. The purpose of slope stabilization techniques is to increase the Factor of Safety of a slope to a level that is considered adequate. Stabilization techniques are divided in the following main categories:
- Removal and protection: Removing the unstable material that usually lies on the upper layer of the slope and placing protection means, (e.g., nets).
- Soil stabilization: Soil stabilization refers to all the processes that aim to enhance the soil’s mechanical properties, increasing its shear strength and, thus, the stability of the slope. The most commonly used techniques include mechanical (compaction, dewatering, mixing, etc.) and chemical (lime, cement, fly ash, etc.) stabilization.
- Support stabilization: Structural supports aim to increase the stability of the slope. Those techniques include the implementation of pre-stressed anchors, rock bolts, piles, soil nailing, geosynthetic reinforcement, retaining walls, shotcrete, etc.
- Water drainage: The presence of water in the soil or the rock mass causes increased pore water pressure. Water pressure weakens the ties between the particles and they tend to slip, a fact that reduces the stability of the slope. Drains are used to reduce water entry and control the groundwater level.