Robust design in geotechnical engineering – an update

Sara Khoshnevisan, Wenping Gong, Lei Wang, C. Hsein Juang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This paper presents an update for the robust geotechnical design (RGD) methodology, which seeks an optimal design with respect to design robustness and cost efficiency, while satisfying the safety requirements. In general, the design robustness is achieved if the system response is insensitive to the variation in the uncertain input parameters (called “noise factors”). In other words, a design is considered robust if the system response exhibits little variation, even though there is high variation in the input parameters. Robust design achieves this desirable outcome by carefully adjusting ‘design parameters’ (i.e., the parameters that can be controlled by the designer, such as the geometry and dimensions) without reducing the uncertainty in the noise factors. In this paper, the existing RGD methodology is updated with a gradient-based robustness measure and a simplified procedure for seeking the knee point. The RGD methodology and its simplified version (with new updates) are illustrated with three design examples. The results presented in this paper show that the RGD methodology and its simplified version are effective design tools that considers safety, cost and design robustness simultaneously. The advantages of the simplified RGD approach are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-234
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2014


  • deep excavation
  • foundation
  • probability of failure
  • reliability-based optimisation
  • robust design
  • rock slope stability


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