Temporal Development of Backward Erosion Piping in a Large-Scale Experiment

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This paper presents a large-scale backward erosion piping experiment aimed at studying the erosion rate. This temporal aspect of piping complements previous research that focused on the critical head. To study the progression rate in realistic conditions, an experiment was carried out on a 1.8 m high levee with a cohesive blanket on a sandy foundation. The pipe was guided along a row of pore pressure transducers in order to measure its temporal development. Pipe development in space and time was successfully derived from pore pressure changes, showing an average progression rate of 8  m/day during the progressive erosion phase. The results show a relation between upstream gradient and progression rate. Furthermore, analysis of the eroded sand mass shows a relatively large pipe volume compared to existing lab tests, and an approximately linear relation between pipe length and volume. The results and insights from this study can be used to validate and improve transient piping models, leading to more accurate dam and levee safety assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number04020168
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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