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SIGMA/W 2021.4

Stress and deformation analysis

SIGMA/W is a powerful finite element software product for modelling stress and deformation in soil, rock, and structures. SIGMA/W analyses may range from simple linear elastic simulations to soil-structure interaction problems with nonlinear material models.

SIGMA/W enables you to analyze a broad class of problems in the civil and mining sectors due to its extensive material model library and rigorous formulation. With SIGMA/W, you can analyze complex consolidation problems, stability of soil and rock slopes, soil-structure interaction problems, and much more.

Key Features

Stress History

In Situ stresses can be established using gravity activation, field stresses, or the K0 procedure, which consider the volumetric water content function to determine effective stresses in the unsaturated zone. Pore-water pressures can be defined using a variety of sources.

Coupled Consolidation

The coupled stress and pore-water pressure formulation can handle complex analyses with saturated or unsaturated soils. This is useful for construction sequences involving fill placement, excavation, and soil-structure interaction.


Unloading or loading activities can be simply and accurately modelled, including submerged fill placement, dam and tailings embankment construction, deep excavations, and open pit mine construction. Pore-water pressure changes can be incorporated by defining the initial and final water conditions.

Stress Redistribution

The stress redistribution algorithm is capable of doing stress correction for any material model with a failure criteria. Strength Reduction Stability is also available as an alternative to the limit equilibrium stability method.


SIGMA/W can model a broad range of stress or deformation problems

Strength Reduction Stability

This example uses the Strength Reduction Stability (SRS) technique to compute the Safety Factor for a slope. Results are compared to the Finite Element Stress stability method available in SLOPE/W.

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Bangkok Wick Drain

Before construction of a new airport in Bangkok, Thailand, full-scale test embankments were constructed on the site to study the effectiveness of prefabricated vertical drains (PVDs) for accelerating the consolidation and dissipation of the excess pore-pressures resulting from fill placement.

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Excavation Below Watertable

The primary objective of this example is to consider the change in pore-water pressure during an excavation below the watertable, particularly the potential for negative pore-water pressures to form. A secondary objective of the example is to demonstrate the use of a moving hydraulic boundary condition on the excavation face.

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Braced Deep Excavation

Halim and Wong’s paper in Underground Singapore 2005 presents six case histories where deflections of the shoring walls were measured during construction. The case histories show that GeoStudio has the capabilities to model the behavior of deep shored excavations in soft ground.

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SIGMA/W’s intuitive modeling workflow

  1. Create problem workspace and analysis properties
  2. Draw domain regions or import from a CAD program
  3. Define material properties and pore-water pressure
  4. Define stress/strain boundary conditions/structures
  5. Draw mesh properties
  6. Solve your analyses
  7. Display stress, pore-water pressure or displacement
  8. View results, generate Mohr Circles, plots and reports