The particular value of the slope of a pile of loose homogeneous material, at which instability sets in.
This critical value is reached by progressive addition of material to the pile. If further grains are added, the surface grains will slide off and leave the slope unchanged.
The angle made by the slope and the flat base of the mound is called "angle of repose".
Critical slopes are proper of mounds of materials devoid of viscosity. Any degree of viscosity allows for the accumulation of stress and creates a potential for runaway events.
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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