Experimental study of soil arching effect under seepage condition


Soil arching effect, which relates to the load transfer and stress redistribution in a soil mass, exists commonly in various geotechnical situations. Many researchers have conducted trapdoor tests and theoretical analyses to study the soil arching and its development in recent years. However, little attention has been paid to the interaction between soil arching and seepage flow, both occurring during the tunnelling of a seabed tunnel. To study the influence of the seepage flow on soil arching, a series of two-dimensional trapdoor tests were carried out considering different fill heights and water level heights. Two subvertical slip surfaces were observed during the tests using the PIV technique. It was found that seepage flow increased the displacement of the particles and the effective vertical stress acting at the top of the trapdoor. However, there was little difference in the development of slip surfaces between the seepage condition and the saturated/no-seepage condition. In addition, a nonuniform distribution of vertical stresses at the top of the trapdoor was observed. The effective earth pressure measured along the centreline of the trapdoor was larger than that on the two edges of the trapdoor. But this nonuniformity decreased with an increasing water level height in the test chamber.

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Many people and organizations contributed to the success of this project. The financial supports received from the National Key Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (No. 2015CB057801), National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars of China (NSFC Grant No. 51725802), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC Grant No. 51338009) are greatly acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Luju Liang.

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Xu, C., Liang, L., Chen, Q. et al. Experimental study of soil arching effect under seepage condition. Acta Geotech. 14, 2031–2044 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11440-019-00769-y

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  • PIV technique
  • Seepage flow
  • Slip surfaces
  • Soil arching effect
  • Stress redistribution