Micromechanical assessment of an internal stability criterion

Shire, T. and O’Sullivan, C. (2013) Micromechanical assessment of an internal stability criterion. Acta Geotechnica, 8(1), pp. 81-90. (doi: 10.1007/s11440-012-0176-5)

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The internal stability of a soil is a measure of its susceptibility to suffusion and suffosion, two forms of internal erosion. The internal stability of granular filters must be carefully considered when designing new embankment dams and assessing the risk associated with existing embankment dams. Current guidelines for assessing the internal stability of such filters were empirically derived from macroscale observations and consider the shape of the particle-size distribution curve. These guidelines lack a fundamental, scientific micromechanical basis. The initiation and propagation of internal erosion is clearly a particle-scale phenomenon, and this paper applies particulate mechanics to provide a micromechanical justification for one currently used stability criterion. The study used discrete element simulations of idealised virtual soil samples that had various degrees of internal stability when assessed using the criterion proposed by Kezdi [10]. The internal topologies of stable and unstable samples were analysed by considering the distributions of inter-particle contact forces, the number of particle-particle contacts and the average particle stresses. Clear correlations are observed between the filter stability criterion and the average number of contacts per particle and the probability that a given particle participates in stress transmission. The phenomenon of a critical fines content, at which the existing guidelines are no longer considered to be valid, is also considered.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shire, Dr Thomas
Authors: Shire, T., and O’Sullivan, C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
Journal Name:Acta Geotechnica
ISSN (Online):1861-1133

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