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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENGINEERING TOOLS FOR SAFE, EFFICIENT HYDRAULIC STRUCTURES AND CHANNELS Title: Development and characterization of soil material parameters for embankment breach

Authors
item Hanson, Gregory
item Temple, Darrel -
item Hunt, Sherry
item Tejral, Ronald

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 22, 2011
Publication Date: August 18, 2011
Citation: Hanson, G.J., Temple, D.M., Hunt, S.L., Tejral, R.D. 2011. Development and characterization of soil material parameters for embankment breach. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 27(4):587-595.

Interpretive Summary: Due to the aging infrastructure and the concern for the safety of people living downstream of dams, development of engineering tools to predict how earthen dams fail is paramount. A windows based software application (WinDAM B) is being developed in response to this need. The software consists of modules with the present module described in this paper for predicting the performance of homogeneous earthen embankments during overtopping. The software is the result of years of research and collaborative effort between the Agricultural Research Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Kansas State University. The research has included embankment overtopping tests, evaluation of case histories of failures, testing of materials, and development of process based mathematical algorithms. This paper is part 2 of a two paper series and presents the background and approach for obtaining input values to the software for earthen embankment material parameters that are important to predicting earthen embankment erosion during overtopping. The model will be used by the engineering profession to evaluate the performance of earthen dams during overtopping. Use of the model will assist in achieving optimal use of resources in the maintenance of public safety

Technical Abstract: Despite the widespread use of earthen dams, the processes by which earthen embankments erode and fail when overtopped during extreme events are only imperfectly understood. Aging of these dams and the associated recent focus on dam rehabilitation has increased the need for new technology and tools for predicting the performance of homogeneous earthen embankments during overtopping. Windows Dam Analysis Modules (WinDAM B) is a modular software application being developed in response to this need. This software is being developed through joint efforts of the Agricultural Research Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Kansas State University. The computational model being incorporated into this software is the result of research including embankment overtopping tests conducted in the outdoor laboratory. The model, as described in Part I, is a simplified representation of the observed process of progressive erosion leading to embankment breach. In order to be useful for field application the model has been developed to utilize soil parameters that may be reasonably obtained for the conditions to which the model is applied. This paper (Part II) presents the background for the material parameter input requirements for overtopping erosion and breach analysis including: 1) the detachment coefficient and critical stress parameters of the excess stress equation, 2) the total unit weight of soil, 3) the un-drained shear strength, and 4) the headcut migration coefficient.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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