American Society of Civil Engineers


Levee Failure Due to Piping: A Full-Scale Experiment


by V. M. van Beek, (Deltares, P.O. Box 177, 2600 MH, Delft; and Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. E-mail: vera.vanbeek@deltares.nl), H. T. J. de Bruijn, (Deltares, P.O. Box 177, 2600 MH, Delft), J. G. Knoeff, (Deltares, P.O. Box 177, 2600 MH, Delft), A. Bezuijen, (Deltares, P.O. Box 177, 2600 MH, Delft; and Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences), and U. Förster, (Deltares, P.O. Box 177, 2600 MH, Delft)
Section: Erosion of Soils, pp. 283-292, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/41147(392)27)

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Scour and Erosion
Abstract: Piping is considered as an important failure mechanism for water retaining structures in the Netherlands. A recently performed study on the safety of Dutch levees raised some doubts with respect to the validity of the current calculation model. A large research program has therefore started to investigate the process of piping in more detail. After laboratory experiments and desk studies, the model was validated in a full-scale experiment (seepage length 15 m). This paper describes the piping process as observed in this experiment. Different phases were found: seepage, retrograde erosion, widening of the channel and failure. Once sand craters were formed, stabilization of sand transport was not observed, although quantities of transported sand were very low. Ongoing erosion resulted in a piping channel from the downstream to the upstream side in a few days. Widening of the channel due to continued erosion finally resulted in significant deformation and failure of the levee.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Experimentation
Failures
Levees and dikes
Netherlands