Incorporating Uncertainty into Backward Erosion Piping Risk Assessments
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS, USA
a Corresponding author: Bryant.A.Robbins@usace.army.mil
Backward erosion piping (BEP) is a type of internal erosion that typically involves the erosion of foundation materials beneath an embankment. BEP has been shown, historically, to be the cause of approximately one third of all internal erosion related failures. As such, the probability of BEP is commonly evaluated as part of routine risk assessments for dams and levees in the United States. Currently, average gradient methods are predominantly used to perform these assessments, supported by mean trends of critical gradient observed in laboratory flume tests. Significant uncertainty exists surrounding the mean trends of critical gradient used in practice. To quantify this uncertainty, over 100 laboratory-piping tests were compiled and analysed to assess the variability of laboratory measurements of horizontal critical gradient. Results of these analyses indicate a large amount of uncertainty surrounding critical gradient measurements for all soils, with increasing uncertainty as soils become less uniform.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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