Experimental investigation on the impact dynamics of saturated granular flows on rigid barriers

Nicoletta Sanvitale*, Elisabeth Bowman, Miguel Angel Cabrera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Debris flows involve the high-speed downslope motion of rocks, soil, and water. Their high flow velocity and high potential for impact loading make them one of the most hazardous types of gravitational mass flows. This study focused on the roles of particle size grading and degree of fluid saturation on impact behavior of fluidsaturated granular flows on a model rigid barrier in a small-scale flume. The use of a transparent debris-flow model and plane laser-induced fluorescence allowed the motion of particles and fluid within the medium to be examined and tracked using image processing. In this study, experiments were conducted on flows consisting of two uniform and one well-graded particle size gradings at three different fluid contents. The evolution of the velocity profiles, impact load, bed normal pressure, and fluid pore pressure for the different flows were measured and analyzed in order to gain a quantitative comparison of their behavior before, during, and after impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental and Engineering Geoscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Debris Flows
  • Engineering Geology
  • Geotechnical
  • Landslides
  • Physical Modelling


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