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Chapter 2

Lecture 8

Permeability and Seepage -4

Topics

1.2 SEEPAGE

1.2.1 Equation of Continuity

1.2.2 Flow Nets

1.2.3 Hydraulic Uplift Force under a Structure

1.2.4 Flow Nets in Anisotropic Material

1.2.5 Construction of Flow Nets for Hydraulic Structures on

Nonhomogeneous Subsoils

1.2.6 Directional Variation of Permeability in Anisotropic Medium

1.2 SEEPAGE

1.2.1 Equation of Continuity

In many practical cases, the nature of the flow of water through soil is such that the velocity

and gradient vary throughout the medium. For these problems, calculation of flow is

generally made by use of graphs referred to as flow nets. The concept of the flow net is based

on Laplace’s equation of continuity, which describes the steady flow condition for a given

point in the soil mass.

To derive the equation of continuity of flow, consider an elementary soil prism at point A

(figure 1.27b) for the hydraulic structure shown in figure 1.27a. The flows entering the soil

prism in the 𝑥, 𝑦, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑧 directions can be given from Darcy’s law as

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𝜕

𝑞𝑥 = 𝑘𝑥 𝑖𝑥 𝐴𝑥 = 𝑘𝑥 𝜕𝑥 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑧

(1.78)

𝜕

𝑞𝑦 = 𝑘𝑦 𝑖𝑦 𝐴𝑦 = 𝑘𝑦 𝜕𝑦 𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑧

(1.79)

𝜕

𝑞𝑧 = 𝑘𝑧 𝑖𝑧 𝐴𝑧 = 𝑘𝑧 𝜕𝑧 𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑧

(1.80)

The flows leaving the prism in the 𝑥, 𝑦, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑧 directions are, respectively,

𝜕 𝜕2

= 𝑘𝑥 + 𝜕𝑥 2 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑧

𝜕𝑥

(1.81)

𝜕 𝜕2

𝑞𝑦 + 𝑑𝑞𝑦 = 𝑘𝑦 + 𝜕𝑥 2 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑧

𝜕𝑥

(1.82)

𝜕 𝜕2

𝑞𝑧 + 𝑑𝑞𝑧 = 𝑘𝑧 + 𝜕𝑧 2 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑦

𝜕𝑧

(1.83)

For steady flow through an incompressible medium, the flow entering the elementary prism

is equal to the flow leaving the elementary prism. So,

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(1.84)

𝑘𝑥 𝜕𝑥 2 + 𝑘𝑦 𝜕𝑦 2 + 𝑘𝑧 𝜕𝑧 2 = 0

(1.85)

𝜕2 𝜕2

𝑘𝑥 𝜕𝑥 2 + 𝑘𝑧 𝜕𝑧 2 = 0

(1.86)

If the soil is isotropic with respect to permeability, 𝑘𝑥 = 𝑘𝑧 = 𝑘, and the continuity equation

simplifies to

𝜕2 𝜕2

+ 𝜕𝑧 2 = 0

𝜕𝑥 2

(1.87)

𝜕∅ 𝜕

= 𝑣𝑥 = −𝑘 𝜕𝑥

𝜕𝑥

(1.88)

And

𝜕∅ 𝜕

+ 𝑣𝑧 = −𝑘 𝜕𝑧

𝜕𝑧

(1.89)

If we differentiate equation (1.88) with respect to x and equation (1.89) with respect to z and

substitute in equation (1.87), we get

𝜕2∅ 𝜕2∅

+ 𝜕𝑧 2 = 0

𝜕𝑥 2

(1.90)

Therefore, ∅(𝑥, 𝑧) satisfies the Laplace equation. From equation (1.88) and (1.89),

∅ 𝑥, 𝑧 = −𝑘 𝑥, 𝑧 + 𝑓(𝑧)

(1.91)

(1.92)

∅ 𝑥, 𝑧 = −𝑘 𝑥, 𝑧 + 𝑐

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1

Or 𝑥, 𝑧 = 𝑘 [𝐶 − ∅ 𝑥, 𝑧 ]

(1.93)

If 𝑥, 𝑧 is a constant equal to 1 , equation (1.93) represents a curve in the 𝑥𝑧 plane. For this

curve, ∅ will have a constant value ∅1 . This is an equipotnetial line. So, by assigning to ∅ a

number of values such as ∅1 , ∅2 , ∅3 , … . ., we can get a number of equipotential lines along

which = 1 , 2 , 3 , … … …, respectively. The slope along an equipotential line ∅ can now

be derived:

𝜕 𝜕

𝑑∅ = 𝜕 ∅ 𝑑𝑥 + 𝜕∅ 𝑑𝑧

𝑥 𝑧

(1.94)

𝑑𝑧 𝜕∅/𝜕𝑥 𝑣

= − 𝜕∅/𝜕𝑧 = − 𝑣𝑥

𝑑𝑥 ∅ 𝑧

(1.95)

𝜕𝜓 𝜕

= 𝑣𝑥 = −𝑘 𝜕𝑥

𝜕𝑧

(1.96)

𝜕𝜓 𝜕

And − 𝜕𝑥 = 𝑣𝑧 = −𝑘 𝜕𝑧

(1.97)

𝜕∅ 𝜕𝜓

=

𝜕𝑥 𝜕𝑧

𝜕2𝜓 𝜕2∅

= 𝜕𝑥 𝜕𝑧

𝜕𝑧 2

(1.98)

𝜕∅ 𝜕𝜓

− 𝜕𝑧 = 𝜕𝑥

𝜕2𝜓 𝜕2𝜓

− 𝜕𝑥 𝜕𝑧 = 𝜕𝑥 2

(1.99)

+ 𝜕𝑧 2 = − 𝜕𝑥 𝜕𝑧 = 𝜕𝑥 𝜕𝑧 = 0

𝜕𝑥 2

𝜓1 , 𝜓2 , 𝜓3 , … . ., we get a family of curves in the 𝑥𝑧 plane. Now

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𝜕𝜓 𝜕𝜓

𝑑𝜓 = 𝑑𝑥 + 𝜕𝑧 𝑑𝑧

𝜕𝑥

(2.100)

(2.100),

𝑑𝑧 𝜕𝜓 /𝜕𝑥 𝑣

= − 𝜕𝜓 /𝜕𝑧 = 𝑣𝑧

𝑑𝑥 𝜓 𝑥

(2.101)

Note that the slope, (𝑑𝑧/𝑑𝑥)𝜓, is in the same direction as the resultant velocity. Hence, the

curves 𝜓 = 𝜓1 , 𝜓2 , 𝜓3 , … …, are the flow lines.

From equations (1.95) and (2.101), we can see that at a given point (𝑥, 𝑧) the equipotential

line and the flow line are orthogonal.

The functions ∅ 𝑥, 𝑧 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝜓(𝑥, 𝑧) are called the potential function and the stream function,

respectively.

To understand the role of the continuity equation [equation (1.87)], consider a simple case of

flow of water through two layers of soil as shown in figure 1.28. The flow is in one direction

only i.e., in the direction of the x axis. The lengths of the two soil layers (𝐿𝐴 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐿𝐵 ) and

their coefficients of permeability in the direction of the x axis (𝑘𝐴 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑘𝐵 ) are known. The

total heads at sections 1 and 3 are known. We are required to plot the total head at any other

section for 0 < 𝑥 < 𝐿𝐴 + 𝐿𝐵 .

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layers of soil

For one-dimensional flow, equation (1.87) becomes

𝜕2

=0

𝜕𝑥 2

(2.102)

= 𝐶2 𝑥 + 𝐶1

(2.103)

𝑎𝑡 𝑥 = 0, = 1

𝑎𝑡 𝑥 = 𝐿𝐴 , = 2

However, 2 is unknown(1 > 2 ). From the first boundary condition and equation (2.103),

𝐶1 = 1 . So,

= 𝐶2 𝑥 + 1

(2.104)

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1 − 2

=− 𝑥 + 1 (𝑓𝑜𝑟 0 ≤ 𝑥 ≤ 𝐿𝐴 )

𝐿𝐴

(2.105)

For flow through soils B, the boundary condition for solution of 𝐶1 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐶2 in equation

(2.102) are

𝑎𝑡 𝑥 = 𝐿𝐴, = 2

𝑎𝑡 𝑥 = 𝐿𝐴 + 𝐿𝐵, = 0

𝐶1 = 2 − 𝐶2 𝐿𝐴

(2.106)

or

(2.107)

𝐶2 = − 𝐿 2

𝐵

(2.108)

𝐿

𝐶1 = 2 + 𝐿 2 𝐿𝐴 = 2 1 + 𝐿𝐴

𝐵 𝐵

(2.109)

𝐿

= 𝐿 2 𝑥 + 2 1 + 𝐿𝐴 (𝑓𝑜𝑟𝐿𝐴 ≤ 𝑥 ≤ 𝐿𝐴 + 𝐿𝐵 )

𝐵 𝐵

(2.110)

With equation (2.105) and (2.110), we can solve for h for any value of x from 0 to 𝐿𝐴 + 𝐿𝐵 ,

provided that 2 is known, however,

1 − 2 2

So, 𝑞 = 𝑘𝐴 𝐴 = 𝑘𝐵 𝐴

𝐿𝐴 𝐿𝐵

(2.111)

Where 𝑘𝐴 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑘𝐵 are the coefficients of permeability of soils A and B, respectively, and A is

the area of cross section of soil perpendicular to the direction of flow.

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𝑘𝐴 1

2 = 𝐿

𝐴 (𝑘 𝐴 /𝐿𝐴 +𝑘 𝐵 /𝐿𝐵 )

(2.112)

Substitution of equation (2.112) into equation (2.105) and (2.110) yields, after simplification,

𝑘𝐵 𝑥

= 1 1 − 𝑘 (𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑥 = 0 𝑡𝑜 𝐿𝐴 )

𝐴 𝐿𝐵 +𝑘 𝐵 𝐿𝐴

(2.113)

𝑘𝐴

= 1 (𝐿𝐴 + 𝐿𝐵 − 𝑥 (𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑥 = 𝐿𝐴 𝑡𝑜 𝐿𝐴 + 𝐿𝐵 )

𝑘 𝐴 𝐿𝐵 +𝑘 𝐵 𝐿𝐴

(2.114)

A set of flow lines and equipotential lines is called a flow net. As discussed in section. 2.2.1, a flow

line is a line along which a water particle will travel. An equipotential line is a line joining the points

that show the same piezometric elevation (i.e., hydraulic head = 𝑥, 𝑧 = 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡). Figure 1.29

shows an example of a flow net for a single row of sheet piles. The permeable layer is isotropic with

respect to the coefficient of permeability i.e., 𝑘𝑥 = 𝑘𝑧 = 𝑘. Note that the solid lines in figure 1.29 are

the flow lines, and the broken lines are the equipotential lines. In drawing a flow net, the boundary

conditions must be kept in mind. For example, in figure 1.29,

AB is an equipotential line

EF is an equipotential line

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GH is a flow line

The flow lines and the equipotential lines are drawn by trial and error. It must be remembered that

the flow lines intersect the equipotential lines at right angles. The flow and equipotential lines are

usually drawn in such a way that the flow elements are approximately squares. Drawing a flow net is

time consuming the tedious because of the trial-and-error process involved. Once a satisfactory flow

net has been drawn, it can be traced out.

Some other examples of flow nets are shown in figure 1.30 and 1.31 for flow under dams.

Calculation of seepage from a flow net under a hydraulic structure. A flow channel is the strip

located between two adjacent flow lines. To calculate the seepage under a hydraulic structure,

consider a flow channel as shown in figure 1.32. The equipotential lines crossing the flow channel

are also shown, along with their corresponding hydraulic heads. Let ∆𝑞 be the flow through the flow

channel per unit length of the hydraulic structure (i.e., perpendicular to the section shown).

According to Darcy’s law

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1 − 2 2 − 3

∆𝑞 = 𝑘𝑖𝐴 = 𝑘 𝑏1 × 1 = 𝑘 𝑏2 × 1

𝑙1 𝑙2

3 − 4

=𝑘 𝑏3 × 1 = ⋯ (2.115)

𝑙3

Figure 1.32

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𝑙1 = 𝑏1

𝑙2 = 𝑏2

𝑙3 = 𝑏3

1 − 2 = 2 − 3 = 3 − 4 = ⋯ = ∆ = 𝑁

𝑑

(2.116)

Where

∆ = Potential drop = drop in piezometric elevation between two consecutive equipotential lines

= Total hydraulic head = difference in elevation of water between the upstream and downstream

side

Equation (2.116) demonstrates that the loss of head between any two consecutive equipotential lines

is the same. Combining equation (2.115) and (2.116),

∆𝑞 = 𝑘 𝑁 (2.117)

𝑑

If there are 𝑁𝑓 flow channels in a flow net, the rate of seepage per unit length of the hydraulic

structure is

𝑁

𝑞 = 𝑁𝑓 ∆𝑞 = 𝑘 𝑁 𝑓 (2.118)

𝑑

Although flow nets are usually constructed in such a way that all flow elements are approximately

squares, that need not always be the case. We could construct flow nets with all the flow elements

drawn as rectangles. In that case, the length-to-width ratio of the flow nets has to be a constant, i.e.,

𝑏1 𝑏2 𝑏3

= = =⋯=𝑛

𝑙1 𝑙2 𝑙3

(2.119)

For such flow nets, the rate of seepage per unit length of hydraulic structure can be given by

𝑁

𝑞 = 𝑘 𝑁 𝑓 𝑛 (2.120)

𝑑

Example 1.4 For the flow rate net shown in figure 1.30:

How high would water rise if a piezometer is placed at (i) A, (ii) B, (iii) C?

If 𝑘 = 0.01 𝑚𝑚/𝑠, determine the seepage loss of the dam in 𝑚3 /(𝑑𝑎𝑦 ∙ 𝑚).

Solution. The maximum hydraulic head h is 10m. In figure 1.30, 𝑁𝑑 = 12, ∆ = /𝑁𝑑 = 10/12 =

0.833.

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Part (a), (i): To reach𝐴, water has to go through three potential drops. So head lost is equal to

3 × 0.833 = 2.5𝑚.. Hence the elevation of the water level in the piezometer at A will be 10 − 2.5 =

7.5 𝑚 above the ground surface.

Part (a), (ii): The water level in the peizometer above the ground level is 10 − 5 0.833 = 5.84𝑚.

Part (a), (iii): Points A and C are located on the same equipotential line. So water in a peizometer at

C will rise to the same elevation as at 𝐴, 𝑖. 𝑒. , 7.5 𝑚 above the ground surface.

Part (b): The seepage loss is given by 𝑞 = 𝑘(𝑁𝑓 /𝑁𝑑 ). From figure 1.30, 𝑁𝑓 = 5 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑁𝑑 = 12.

Since

0.01

𝑘 = 0.01 𝑚𝑚/𝑠 = (60 × 60 × 24) = 0.864 𝑚/𝑑𝑎𝑦

1000

Flow nets can be used to determine the hydraulic uplifting force under a structure. The procedure can

best be explained through a numerical example. Consider the dam section shown in figure 1.30, the

cross section of which has been replotted in net shown in figure 1.33. To find the pressure head at

point D (figure 1.33), we refer to the flow net shown in figure 1.30; the pressure head is equal to (10

+ 3.34 m) minus the hydraulic head loss. Point D coincides with the third equipotential line

beginning with the upstream side, which means that the hydraulic head loss at that point is 2(/

𝑁𝑑 ) = 2(10/12) = 1.67𝑚. So,

in figure 1.30

Similarly,

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(Note that point F is approximately midway between the fourth and fifth equipotential lines starting

from the upstream side).

The pressure heads calculated above are plotted in figure 1.33. Between points F and G, the

variation of pressure heads will be approximately linear. The hydraulic uplift force per unit length of

the dam, U, can now be calculated as

= 9.81 1.67 + 1.67 + 18.32

2 2 2

4.56 + 5.84 5.84 + 5

+ 1.67 + (1.67)

2 2

= 1714.9 𝑘𝑁/𝑚

In developing the procedure described in section. 2.2.3 For plotting flow nets, we assumed that the

permeable layer is isotropic, i.e., 𝑘𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑧𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙 = 𝑘𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 =𝑘 . let us now consider the case of

constructing flow nets for seepage through soils that show anisotropy with respect to permeability.

For two-dimension a flow problems, we refer to equation (1.86):

𝜕2 𝜕2

𝑘𝑥 + 𝑘𝑧 =0

𝜕𝑥 2 𝜕𝑧 2

𝜕2 𝜕2

+ 𝑘𝑧 =0

(𝑘 𝑧 /𝑘 𝑥 )𝜕𝑥 2 𝜕𝑧 2

(2.121)

𝜕2 𝜕2

+ 𝑘𝑧 (2.122)

(𝑘 𝑧 /𝑘 𝑥 )𝜕𝑥 2 𝜕𝑥 ′ 2

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𝜕2 𝜕2

+ =0

𝜕𝑥 ′ 2 𝜕𝑧 2

(2.123)

Equation (2.123) is of the same form as equation (1.87), which governs the flow, is isotropic soils

and should represent two sets of orthogonal lines in the 𝑥 ′ 𝑧 plane. The steps for construction of a

flow net in an anisotropic medium are as follows:

𝑘𝑧 𝑘 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙

Determine =

𝑘𝑥 𝑘 𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑧𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙

𝑘𝑧

Adopt a horizontal scale such that 𝑆𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑧𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙 = (𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 )

𝑘𝑥

With the scales adopted in steps 1 and 3, plot the cross section of the structure.

Draw the flow net for the transformed section plotted in step 4 in the same manner as is done for

seepage through isotropic soils.

𝑁

𝑞= 𝑘𝑥 𝑘𝑧 𝑁 𝑓

𝑑

(2.124)

Compare equation (2.117) and (2.124). Both equations are similar, except for the fact that k in

equation (2.117) is replaced by 𝑘𝑥 𝑘𝑧 in equation (2.124).

Example 1.5 A dam section is shown in figure 1.34a. The coefficient of permeability of the

permeable layer in the vertical and horizontal directions are 2 × 10−2 𝑚𝑚/𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 4 × 10−2 𝑚𝑚/𝑠,

respectively. Draw a flow net and calculate the seepage loss of the dam in 𝑓𝑡 3 (𝑑𝑎𝑦 ∙ 𝑓𝑡).

= 20 𝑓𝑡

2×10 −2 1

𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑧𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑒 = 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑒 = (𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑒)

4×10 −2 2

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Figure 1.34

On the basis of this, the dam section is replotted and the flow net drawn as in figure 1.34b. The rate

of seepage is given by 𝑞 = 𝑘𝑥 𝑘𝑧 (𝑁𝑓 /𝑁𝑑 ). From figure 1.34b, 𝑁𝑑 = 8 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑁𝑓 = 2.5 (the

lowermost flow channels a width-to-length ratio of 0.5). So,

Example 1.6. A single row of sheep pile structure is shown in figure 1.35a. Draw a flow net for the

transformed section. Replot this flow net in the natural scale also. The relationship between the

permeability’s is given as 𝑘𝑥 = 6𝑘𝑧 .

𝑘𝑧

𝐻𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑧𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑒 = (𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑒)

𝑘𝑥

1

= (𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑒)

6

The transformed section and the corresponding flow net are shown in figure 1.35b. Figure 1.35c

shows the flow net constructed to the natural scale. One important fact to be noticed from this is that

when the soil is anisotropic with respect to permeability, the flow and equipotential lines are not

necessarily orthogonal.

NPTEL- Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

Figure 1.35

1.2.5 Construction of Flow Nets for Hydraulic Structures on

Nonhomogeneous Subsoils

The flow-net construction technique described in section 2.2.3 is for the condition where the subsoil

is homogeneous. Rarely in nature do such ideal conditions occur; in most cases, we encounter

stratified soil deposits such as those shown in figure 1.38. When a flow net is constructed across the

boundary of two soils with different permeability’s, the flow net deflects at the boundary. This is

called a transfer condition. Figure 1.36 shows a general condition where a flow channel crosses the

boundary of two soils. Soil layers 1 and 2 have permeability is of 𝑘1 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑘2 , respectively. The

broken lines drawn across the flow channel are the equipotential lines.

NPTEL- Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

Figure 1.36

Let ∆ be the loss of hydraulic head between two consecutive equipotential lines. Considering a unit

length perpendicular to the section shown, the rate of seepage through the flow channel is

∆ ∆

∆𝑞 = 𝑘1 𝑏1 × 1 = 𝑘2 𝑏2 × 1

𝑙1 𝑙2

𝑘 𝑏 /𝑙

Or 𝑘 1 = 𝑏2 /𝑙2 (2.125)

2 1 1

Where 𝑙1 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏1 are the length and width of the flow elements is soil layer 1, and 𝑙2 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏2 are the

length and width of the flow elements in soil layer 2.

𝑙2 = 𝐴𝐵 𝑠𝑖𝑛 𝜃2 = 𝐴𝐵 𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝛼2

(2.126b)

NPTEL- Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

𝑏1 𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝜃1 𝑠𝑖𝑛 𝛼 𝑏 1

= = 𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝛼1 𝑜𝑟 𝑙 1 = 𝑡𝑎𝑛 𝜃 = 𝑡𝑎𝑛 𝛼1

𝑙1 𝑠𝑖𝑛 𝜃1 1 1 1

2.127)

𝑏2 𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝜃2 𝑠𝑖𝑛 𝛼 𝑏 1

= = 𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝛼2 𝑜𝑟 𝑙 2 = 𝑡𝑎𝑛 𝜃 = 𝑡𝑎𝑛 𝛼2

𝑙2 𝑠𝑖𝑛 𝜃2 2 2 2

(2.128)

𝑘1 𝑡𝑎𝑛 𝜃 𝑡𝑎𝑛 𝛼

= 𝑡𝑎𝑛 𝜃1 = 𝑡𝑎𝑛 𝛼 2 (2.129)

𝑘2 2 1

Flow nets in nonhomogeneous subsoil’s can be constructed using the relations given by equation

(2.129) and other general principles outlined in section 2.2.3. It is useful to keep the following points

in mind while constructing the flow nets:

If 𝑘1 > 𝑘2 , we may plot square flow elements in layer 1. This means that 𝑙1 = 𝑏1 in equation

(2.125). So𝑘1 /𝑘2 = 𝑏2 /𝑙2 . Thus the flow elements in layer 2 will be rectangles and their width-to-

length ratios will be equal to 𝑘1 /𝑘2 . This is shown in figure 1.37a.

If 𝑘 > 𝑘2 , we may plot square flow elements in layer 1(i.e., 𝑙1 = 𝑏1 ). From equation (2.125),

𝑘1 /𝑘2 = 𝑏2 /𝑙2 . So the flow elements in layer 2 will be rectangles. This is shown in figure 1.37b.

Figure 1.37 Flow channel at the boundary between two soils with different

coefficient of permeability

NPTEL- Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

An example of the construction of a flow net for a dam section resting on a two-layered soil deposit

is given in figure 1.38. Note that 𝑘1 = 5 × 10−2 𝑚𝑚/𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑘2 = 2.5 × 10−2 𝑚𝑚/𝑠. So,

dam

= 2.5×10 −2 = 2 = 𝑡𝑎𝑛 𝛼 2 = 𝑡𝑎𝑛 𝜃1

𝑘2 1 2

In soil layer 1, the flow elements are plotted as squares; and since 𝑘1 /𝑘2 = 2, the length-to-width

ratio of the flow elements in soil layer 2 is 1/2.

In anisotropic soils, the directions of the maximum and minimum permeability are generally at right

angles to each other. However, the equipotential lines and the flow lines are not necessarily

orthogonal, as was shown in figure 1.35c.

Figure 1.39 shows a flow line and an equipotential line. 𝑚 is the direction of the tangent drawn to

the flow line at 𝑂, and thus that is the direction of the resultant discharge velocity. Direction n is

perpendicular to the equipotential line at O, and so it is the direction of the resultant hydraulic

gradient. Using Darcy’s law,

NPTEL- Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

permeability

𝜕

𝑣𝑥 = −𝑘𝑚𝑎𝑥

𝜕𝑥

(2.130)

𝜕

𝑣𝑧 = −𝑘𝑚𝑖𝑛 𝜕𝑧

(2.131)

𝜕

𝑣𝑚 = −𝑘𝛼 𝜕𝑚

(2.132)

𝜕

𝑣𝑛 = −𝑘𝛽 𝜕𝑛 (2.133)

Where

𝜕 𝜕 𝜕

𝜕𝑚

= 𝜕𝑥 𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝛼 + 𝜕𝑧 𝑠𝑖𝑛 𝛼

(2.134)

NPTEL- Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

𝜕 𝑣𝑥 𝜕 𝑣𝑧 𝜕 𝑣

= −𝑘 = −𝑘 = − 𝑘𝑚

𝜕𝑥 𝑚𝑎𝑥 𝜕𝑥 𝑚𝑖𝑛 𝜕𝑚 𝛼

𝑣 𝑣𝑥 𝑣𝑧 𝑣𝑚 𝑣𝑚 𝑣𝑚

− 𝑘𝑚 = − 𝑘 𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝛼 − 𝑘 𝑠𝑖𝑛 𝛼 𝑜𝑟 =𝑘 𝑐𝑜𝑠 2 𝛼 + 𝑘 𝑠𝑖𝑛2 𝛼

𝛼 𝑚𝑎𝑥 𝑚𝑖𝑛 𝑘𝛼 𝑚𝑎𝑥 𝑚𝑖𝑛

1 𝑐𝑜𝑠 2 𝛼 𝑠𝑖𝑛 2 𝛼

So 𝑘 = +

𝛼 𝑘 𝑚𝑎𝑥 𝑘 𝑚𝑖𝑛

(2.135)

The nature of the variation of 𝑘𝛼 with 𝛼 as determined by equation (2.135) is shown in figure 1.40.

𝑣𝑛 = 𝑣𝑥 𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝛽 + 𝑣𝑧 𝑠𝑖𝑛 𝛽

(2.136)

𝜕 𝜕 𝜕

𝑘𝛽 𝜕𝑛 = 𝑘𝑚𝑎𝑥 𝜕𝑥 𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝛽 + 𝑘𝑚𝑖𝑛 𝑠𝑖𝑛 𝛽

𝜕𝑧

(2.137)

𝜕 𝜕

But 𝜕𝑥 = 𝜕𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝛽 (2.138)

𝜕 𝜕

But 𝜕𝑧 = 𝜕𝑛 𝑠𝑖𝑛 𝛽 ` (2.139)

(2.140)

The variation of 𝑘𝛽 𝑤𝑖𝑡 𝛽 is also show in figure 1.40. It can be seen that, for gives values of

𝑘𝑚𝑎𝑥 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑘𝑚𝑖𝑛 , equation (2.135) and (2.140) yields slightly different values of the directional

permeability. However, the maximum difference will not be more than 25%.

NPTEL- Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

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