Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 815–823 | Cite as

Suffusion evaluation of coarse-graded soils from Rhine dikes

  • Ahmed Benamar
  • Ricardo N. Correia dos SantosEmail author
  • Abdelkrim Bennabi
  • Tarek Karoui
Research Paper


An experimental study on internal erosion of coarse-grained soils collected from the Rhine River is presented. The tests performed on laboratory column aim to assess the potential of such soils to suffusion and to characterize their stability and the variation of the soil physical parameters during the suffusion process. An experimental device (large vertical column with 60 cm of height and 26 cm of diameter) has been developed, which allows the application of upward flow to non-cohesive soils under controlled hydraulic loading. The investigation of the parameters affecting the suitability of the soils to suffusion leads to the identification of the hydraulic gradient that initiates the migration of particles to the outlet. The results show an increase in permeability, which is related to the migration and the washing out of fine particles in the upper layer. The particle size distribution of the downward soil layer after test is performed, and the analysis corroborates the localization of particles suffusion. The grain size analysis of the outlet shows that eroded particles are smaller than 500 µm and their size rather increases with increasing hydraulic load. Usual methods based on geometrical criteria proved to overestimate the susceptibility to suffusion of soils from the Rhine, and, therefore, one consider that, for such soils, it is preferable to carry out laboratory tests to evaluate the suffusion process.


Dykes Internal erosion Laboratory tests Rhine River Sandy gravel Suffusion 

List of symbols

Cu and Cc

Coefficients of uniformity and curvature, respectively


Percentage in weight finer than No. 200 sieve (fines content)


Specific gravity


Percentage in weight coarser than No. 4 sieve (gravel content)


Eroded mass


Hydraulic gradient applied


Hydraulic conductivity (permeability) of the soil






Seepage flow velocity


Flow rate measured in the flow meter


Water content of compacted specimens (3%)


Dry unit weight of compacted specimens (19kN/m3)


Mass fraction smaller than a given particle diameter D


Mass fraction between D and 4D


Grain size diameter of soil where x% by weight is finer



The experimental work was conducted in the framework of National Program Research “ERINOH” supported by the French research authority (Ministry) and coordinated by IREX.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UNIHAVRE, CNRS, LOMCNormandie UnivLe HavreFrance
  2. 2.Institut de Recherche en Constructibilité, ESTPUniversité Paris-EstCachanFrance
  3. 3.Geotechnical DepartmentLaboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil - LNECLisbonPortugal

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