Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 319–332 | Cite as

Numerical modelling of concentrated leak erosion during Hole Erosion Tests

  • Fabienne MercierEmail author
  • S. Bonelli
  • F. Golay
  • F. Anselmet
  • P. Philippe
  • R. Borghi
Research Paper


This study focuses on the numerical modelling of the concentrated leak erosion of a cohesive soil by turbulent flow in axisymmetrical geometry, using the Hole Erosion Test (HET). The numerical model is based on the adaptive remeshing of the water/soil interface to ensure the accurate description of the mechanical phenomena occurring near the soil/water interface. The erosion law governing the interface motion is based on two erosion parameters: critical shear stress and the erosion coefficient. The model is first validated in the case of 2D piping erosion caused by laminar flow. Then, the numerical results are compared with the interpretation model of the HET. Three HETs performed on different soils are modelled with rather good accuracy. Lastly, a parametric analysis of the influence of the erosion parameters on erosion kinetics and the evolution of the channel diameter is performed. Finally, after this validation by comparison with both the experimental results and the interpretation of Bonelli et al. [2], our model is now able to accurately reproduce the erosion of a cohesive soil by a concentrated leak. It also provides a detailed description of all the averaged hydrodynamic flow quantities. This detailed description is essential in order to achieve better understanding of erosion processes.


Concentrated leak erosion Critical shear stress Erosion coefficient Fluid–structure interaction Turbulent flow modelling 



The authors are grateful to the Centre d’Ingénierie Hydraulique of EDF and geophyConsult for their financial support. They also extend special thanks to Mrs Patrick Pinettes (geophyConsult), Jean-Robert Courivaud (EDF) and Jean-Jacques Fry (EDF) for their support and confidence. This work was also funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR) through the COSINUS programme (project CARPEINTER No.ANR-08-COSI-002).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabienne Mercier
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • S. Bonelli
    • 1
  • F. Golay
    • 3
  • F. Anselmet
    • 4
    • 5
  • P. Philippe
    • 1
  • R. Borghi
    • 5
  1. 1.IRSTEAAix-en-Provence Cedex 5France
  2. 2.geophyConsult, Savoie TechnolacLe Bourget du Lac CedexFrance
  3. 3.ImathLa GardeFrance
  4. 4.IRPHEMarseille Cedex 13France
  5. 5.ECMMarseille Cedex 20France

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