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Critical appraisal of piping phenomena in earth dams

  • Kevin S. Richards
  • Krishna R. Reddy
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper presents a comprehensive review of published literature on soil piping phenomena. The first tools to design earth dams to resist piping were developed during 1910–1935. Filter criteria for dispersive soils was refined in the 1970’s. Piping phenomena are generally defined as: (1) heave, (2) internal erosion, (3) backwards erosion, although other modes are possible. Recent work on piping highlights the limitations of the occurrence of piping and the role that design and construction may play in a large percentage of piping failures. Standardized laboratory procedures are available to assess piping potential in cohesive materials, but no such methods exist for non-cohesive soils. However, methods are available for evaluation of self-filtration potential. Recent advances in computer technology have facilitated the evaluation of seepage and deformation in embankments but computational methods for evaluation of piping potential are currently limited.

Keywords

Earth dams Piping Internal erosion Heave Suffosion 

Résumé

L’article présente une analyse générale de résultats publiés sur les phénomènes de suffosion des sols. Les premiers outils visant à dimensionner les barrages en terre contre la suffosion ont été développés durant la période 1910–1935. Les critères de filtres destinés à éviter ces phénomènes ont été améliorés dans les années 1970. Les phénomènes de suffosion sont généralement associés à (1) du gonflement, (2) de l‘érosion interne, (3) de l‘érosion régressive, mais d’autres processus sont possibles. Des travaux récents sur la suffosion mettent en lumière les techniques permettant de limiter les risques d’apparition de ce phénomène. Ils montrent aussi le rôle des principes de conception et des techniques de construction sur beaucoup de situations de rupture initiées par des phénomènes de suffosion. Des essais de laboratoire standardisés existent pour évaluer la susceptibilité à la suffosion de sols cohérents, ce qui n’est pas le cas pour des sols non cohérents. Cependant, des méthodes sont disponibles pour évaluer la capacité d’auto-filtration d’un matériau donné. Des avancées récentes dans le domaine de la simulation numérique ont facilité l’évaluation des ècoulements et des déformations dans les structures de barrage en terre, mais il faut noter que ces méthodes numériques restent impuissantes pour mettre en évidence les conditions d’apparition de la suffosion.

Mots clés

Barrages en terre Suffosion Erosion interne Gonflement 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Materials EngineeringUniversity of IllinoisChicagoUSA

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