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Experimental investigation into rockfill dam failure initiation by overtopping

Nasrin Javadi and Tew-Fik Mahdi

Article (2014)

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Cite this document: Javadi, N. & Mahdi, T.-F. (2014). Experimental investigation into rockfill dam failure initiation by overtopping. Natural Hazards, 74(2), p. 623-637. doi:10.1007/s11069-014-1201-9
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Rockfill is the most abundant building material. It is often used for water retention under different contexts, such as dams, embankments or drainage systems. Climate change may cause water levels to rise in reservoirs. As rockfill structures are not able to resist strong overtopping flow, rising water levels will constitute a danger for rockfill dam stability as well as for people living nearby. This work is aimed at the development of an empirical formula that enables calculation of the critical water level of overflow at the crest from the geometrical and physical parameters of a dam. To achieve these objectives, several experimental tests on a rockfill dam model with two different impervious cores, moraine with a sand filter and an empty wooden formwork, were conducted in a hydraulic channel at the hydro-environmental laboratory at École Polytechnique de Montréal. The purpose of these tests was to study the initiation of a riprap failure under the influence of different variables, such as rock size, riprap bank, downstream side slope and bed slope. Results showed linear trends between the critical water level and both the downstream side slope and bed slope. Also, a power trend was observed between the critical level and riprap grain size. A formula that gives the critical overtopping water level was developed from these results.

Uncontrolled Keywords

Laboratory tests; Initiation of dam failure; Overtopping level; Critical hydraulic gradient

Open Access document in PolyPublie
Subjects: 1000 Génie civil > 1006 Génie hydrologique
1100 Génie des structures > 1100 Génie des structures
1400 Génie minier et minéral > 1403 Mécanique des roches
Department: Département des génies civil, géologique et des mines
Research Center: Non applicable
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2020 18:14
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2020 01:20
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/5315/
Document issued by the official publisher
Journal Title: Natural Hazards (vol. 74, no. 2)
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-014-1201-9


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