Asee peer logo

PNW-SLOPE – A New Educational Tool for Geotechnical Engineers

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Computers in Education Division Technical Session 9: Pedagogical Tools

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Thiago Fernandes Leao Purdue University Northwest

visit author page

Thiago Fernandes Leao is a Civil Engineer with Master of Science in Engineering at Purdue University Northwest. He has research interests in geotechnical and structural engineering. He has four years of industrial experience working as a Structural Engineer in Brazil and about one year working with parking structures in the US. He worked with projects ranging from small to large structures, reinforced and prestressed concrete, steel, masonry and foundations.

visit author page


Jiliang Li P.E. Purdue University Northwest

visit author page

Dr. Jiliang Li, D.Eng, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, M.ARMA, is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Purdue University Northwest. Before coming back to teach at University, he had industrial experience in several States with projects consulting experience ranging from small residential, commercial and subdivision projects to larger scale State DOT and federal projects after additional courses and research study of geotechnical engineering at UAkron. Dr. Li has teaching and research interests ranging from engineering mechanics encompassing statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials and geotechnics (including geomechanics, rock mechanics, soil mechanics and engineering geology/hydrology), probability and statistics applications in civil engineering, and reliability based LRFD of geotechnical engineering, design of earth structures, soil and rock exploration, geotechnical and foundation engineering in particular. Dr. Li can be reached at Li1919@PURDUE.EDU and/or Li1919Purdue@Gmail.Com

visit author page


Jinyuan Zhai Minnesota State University, Mankato

visit author page

Dr. Jinyuan Zhai joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty at MSU in August 2019. She earned her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at The University of Akron in 2016. Before joining MSU, Dr. Zhai has been teaching Mechanical Engineering courses at Purdue University Northwest for one year. Dr. Zhai's research interests include solid mechanics, mechanics of materials and structures, machine design, mechanical testing, elasticity, plasticity and ductile fracture modeling of advanced engineering materials, finite element simulation.

visit author page

Download Paper |


In this study, a new educational tool to solve geotechnical engineering problems is presented, named___-SLOPE. This tool consists of a program created in Microsoft Excel with the aid of VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) for calculations of 2D slope stability problems. Slope stability has been considered one of the most important topics in geotechnical engineering for years, so this is a subject which student should lay a good foundation background in the university. Another goal of ___-SLOPE is to help in the understanding of probabilistic concepts applied in geotechnical engineering, a topic often not properly studied in the university. Reliability analysis has increasingly been incorporated in standards and design codes throughout the world, including geotechnical engineering structures, so it is important to understand the difference between deterministic and probabilistic approaches. Moreover, spreadsheets have widely been used in engineering, but not so many civil engineering students use resources such as VBA, which requires some computer programming skills. ___-SLOPE demonstrates that it is possible to create advanced spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel when these additional resources are considered. The authors expect to help students in their learning, also encourage the application of computer programming skills in their spreadsheets for engineering problems.

Fernandes Leao, T., & Li, J., & Zhai, J. (2020, June), PNW-SLOPE – A New Educational Tool for Geotechnical Engineers Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35061

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015