A system that involves the use of a low-cost microelectromechanical system (MEMS)-based sensor stick and soil-water characteristic curve (SWCC) inferred from grain-size distribution was developed to assess the factor of safety against rainfall-induced shallow slope failure. The system allows water content at multiple depths to be monitored in the field. The corresponding suction and factor of safety against infinite slope failure are derived based on the estimated SWCC. The new system circumvents the use of tedious and often costly field as well as laboratory procedures while providing a quantitative slope stability assessment on a real-time basis. The paper introduces the background of the new development and describes the application of the sensor stick system in a field test.
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