On the rheological characterisation of liquefied sands through the dam-breaking test

Gabriele Della Vecchia*, Massimiliano Cremonesi, Federico Pisanò

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


This paper concerns the rheological characterisation of liquefied sands as non-Newtonian Bingham fluids. For this purpose, dam-breaking laboratory tests are often executed and interpreted, offering a viable option to identify the properties of fluidised water-soil mixtures. However, limited attention has been devoted so far to clarify what variables and measurements would allow unambiguous calibration of Bingham parameters, namely, the viscosity η and the yield stress τ y . The numerical results of parametric studies based on the particle finite element method (PFEM) are critically inspected to gain deeper insight into the problem. First, it is confirmed that multiple η − τ y pairs may reproduce the same experimental evidence when formed by only one measurement—usually, the post–dam-breaking displacement of the bottom toe (tip) of the liquefied mass. Then, two alternative procedures are proposed for unambiguous identification of both η and τ y : one is based on monitoring the evolving aspect ratio of the fluid mass during free, gravity-driven flow; the other relies on a slightly different dam-breaking test, also including impact against a rigid obstacle. In particular, the latter approach reduces the relevant duration of the test, reducing the possible influence of reconsolidation effects on the calibration of rheological parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1410-1425
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bingham fluid
  • CFD
  • dam breaking
  • liquefied sands
  • PFEM
  • rheology


Dive into the research topics of 'On the rheological characterisation of liquefied sands through the dam-breaking test'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this