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Flow in Soil

Content
Capillary in soil, soil shrinkage and soil
expansion
Head and flow of one and two dimensional
Seepage analyses; flow net, seepage force,
quick sand and liquefaction
Filter design
Capillary Rise
Capillary rise is the upward movement of a liquid above the level of
zero pressure (vadose zone) due to a net upward force produced by the
attraction of the water molecules to a solid surface (e.g., soil or glass)
The capillary rise of water can be substantial, up to 6 m (20 ft) or more
The potential capillary rise can be estimated by the following:


Where,
h
c
= capillary rise (cm)
C = Constant (can range from 0.1 to 0.5 cm
2


e = void ratio
D10 = Soil particle size , 10 percent percentage finer passing (cm)

Thus, the smaller the soil grain size, the greater the potential for vertical
water movement




( )
10
c
C
h
e D
=
Capillary Rise
Ground water table
Zone of capillary rise
Unsaturated
soil
Saturated
soil
Vadose zone
Phreatic zone
Shrinking and swelling soil
Some soils will change volume significantly depending upon their
moisture content.

Shrinking and swelling are generally associated with fine-grained clay
soils.



Shrinking soil
Soil shrinkage is generally confined to the upper portions of a
soil. Shrinkage and shrinkage cracks are caused by a reduction in soil
moisture content through:

1. Evaporation from the soil surface in dry climates.
2. Lowering of the groundwater table.
3. Desiccation of soil by trees during temporary dry spells in otherwise
humid climates.

As moisture content decreases, capillary stress in the void spaces
increases due to the increased surface tension. This increased surface
tension tends to pull adjacent soil particles closer together resulting in
an overall soil volume decrease

Shrinking soil (cont..)
As moisture content continues to decrease, capillary stress continues to
increase, which continues to reduce overall volume. The point where no
further volume reduction occurs but the degree of moisture saturation is
still 100 percent is called the shrinkage limit (SL), which is an Atterberg
limit, just as plasticity index (PI) is
The shrinkage limit is not commonly tested
because of various difficulties. However, a
soil near the shrinkage limit typically have
lower void ratios that can be achieved by
compaction because of the associated high
capillary stress.
Swelling soil
Swelling soils, also known as expansive soils, are ones that swell in
volume when subjected to moisture. These swelling soils typically
contain clay minerals that attract and absorb water.

When water is introduced to expansive soils, the water molecules are
pulled into gaps between the soil plates. As more water is absorbed,
the plates are forced further apart, leading to an increase in soil pore
pressure.

If this increased pressure exceeds surcharge pressure (including the
weight of the overlying pavement) the soil will expand in volume to a
point where these pressures are once again in balance.
Seepage
The flow of water through soil is not in one direction
and not uniform over the entire area.
The flow nets will be used to calculate the ground
water flow.
The concept of the flow net is based on Laplaces
equation of continuity.
Flow nets
Flow net is a graphical representation of a flow field with the combination of
flow line and equipotential line
Flow line flow path of a particle of water from the
upstream to downstream
Equipotential line- line representing constant
head
Flow nets
The criteria of flow net construction:
1. No two flow lines can intersect
2. No two equipotential lines can intersect
3. Flow lines and equipotential lines must intersect at right angle
4. The ratio of width to length must be same for all cells (except near
the ends of a flow area.
5. The flow and equipotential lines are smooth.
STEP BY STEP TO DRAW FLOW NETS
1. Draw cross-section of structure to scale.
(be sure horizontal and vertical scales are equal)
2. Identify boundary condition
(identify whether the boundary is flow line or equipotential line)
3. Select the number of flow channels
(Usuallay 2 or 3. For more precision is needed, the flow channels can be subdivided to 4 or 6)
4. Sketch the initial flow lines
5. Add equipotential lines
STEP BY STEP TO DRAW FLOW NETS
INITIAL ITERATION OF FLOW NET GEOMETRY AND BOUNDARY
CONDITION
STEP BY STEP TO DRAW FLOW NETS
REFINING FLOW NET ADJUSTMENT OF FLOW NET
STEP BY STEP TO DRAW FLOW NETS
FINAL FLOW NET
Example of Flow nets
Example of Flow nets
Example of Flow nets
Example of Flow nets
Flow nets
concrete dam
impervious strata
soil
curvilinear
square
90
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FLOW NET APPLICATION
The flow net whether generated by hand or using numerical method, can be
used to:

1. Determine the rate of seepage, q
2. The Head, H
3. The pressure, u
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Rate of Seepage (q)- Isotropic soil
d
f
N
N
h k q A =
.per unit length normal to the plane
number of flow channels (number of flow
lines minus one
number of equipotential drops (number of
equipotential lines minus one
impervious strata
concrete
dam
Ah
head loss from upstream to
downstream
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Rate of Seepage (q)- Anisotropic soil
d
f
z x
N
N
h k k q A =
.per unit length normal to the plane
number of flow channels (number of flow
lines minus one
number of equipotential drops (number of
equipotential lines minus one
Flow net are valid for isotropic soils only. However we can use flow net by
transforming the scale to draw the flow net.
Anisotropy, which is the
opposite of isotropy, is a
term used to denote
preferential flow direction
in soils and other geologic
materials. If soil consisted
of perfectly spherical
grains, flow rates would be
isotropic the same in all
directions, other factors
being equal. Soil doesnt
consist of perfectly
spherical grains, however
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Heads at a Point X
impervious strata
concrete
dam
datum
X
z
Ah
TH = Ah
TH = 0
Total head (TH)= Ah - number of drops from upstream x AL
AL
Elevation head = -z
Pressure head = Total head Elevation head
d
N
h A
=
Uplift pressure under hydraulic structures
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Flow net can be used to determine the uplift pressure at the
base of hydraulic structure.

The pressure distribution diagram at the base can be obtained
from equipotential line as shown in next figure
Uplift pressure under hydraulic structures
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N
d
=7
Different water level = 7m
So, the head loss for each
potential drop is h/N
d
= 7/7 =1 m
The uplift pressure at a =
Pressure head at a X
w
= [(7+2)-1]
w
= 8
w

The unit force per unit length can
be calculated by finding the area
of the pressure diagram.
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Piping in Granular Soils
datum
concrete
dam
impervious strata
soil
h
L

At the downstream, near the dam,
Ah = total head drop
Al
l
h
i
exit
A
A
=
the exit hydraulic gradient
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Piping in Granular Soils
datum
concrete
dam
impervious strata
soil
Ah
If i
exit
exceeds the critical hydraulic gradient (i
cr
), firstly
the soil grains at exit get washed away.
no soil; all water
This phenomenon progresses towards the upstream, forming a
free passage of water (pipe).
e
G
e
G
i
s
w
w s
w
cr
+

=
|
.
|

\
|
+

= =
1
1
1
1 '

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Piping in Granular Soils
Piping is a very serious problem. It leads to downstream
flooding which can result in loss of lives.
concrete
dam
impervious strata
soil
Therefore, provide adequate safety factor against piping.
exit
cr
piping
i
i
F =
typically 5-6
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Piping Through Foundation
Water, through the foundation of dam, may start seeping at a huge rate when highly
permeable cavities or fissures or strata of coarse sand or gravel are available in the
foundation of the dam. This concentrated flow at a high gradient, may erode the soil.
This leads to increase flow of water and soil, ultimately resulting in a rush of water and
soil, thereby creating hollows below the foundation. The dam may sink down into
hollow so formed, causing its failure.
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Piping Through the dam body
When the concentrated flow channels get developed in the body of the dam, soil may
be removed in the same manner as was explained in the foundation piping, leading to
the formation of hollows in the dam body, and subsequent subsidence of the dam.
These flow channels may develop due to faulty construction, insufficient compaction,
cracks developed in embankment due to formation of settlement, shrinkage cracks,
animal burrows etc.
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Various causes of dam failures
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Example of piping failures
Exit hole of a soil pipe
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Filters
Used for:
facilitating drainage
preventing fines from being washed away
Used in:
earth dams
retaining walls
Filter Materials:
granular soils
geotextiless
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Granular Filter Design
Two major criteria:
(a) Retention Criteria
(b) Permeability Criteria
- to prevent washing out of fines
- to facilitate drainage and thus avoid
build-up of pore pressures
Filter grains must not be too coarse
Filter grains must not be too fine
granular filter
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Granular Filter Design
Retention criteria:
D
15, filter
< 5 D
85, soil

- after Terzaghi & Peck (1967)
Permeability criteria:
D
15, filter
> 4 D
15, soil

average filter pore size
D
15, filter
< 20 D
15, soil

D
50, filter
< 25 D
50, soil

- after US Navy (1971)
GSD Curves for the soil and filter must be parallel
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Drainage Provisions in Retaining Walls
drain pipe
granular soil
weep hole
geosynthetics
QUICK SAND & LIQUEFACTION
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Quicksand is a colloid hydrogel consisting of fine granular material (such as sand or silt, clay, and
water.
Quicksand forms in saturated loose sand when the sand is suddenly agitated. When water in the
sand cannot escape, it creates a liquefied soil that loses strength and cannot support weight.
Quicksand can form in standing water or in upwards flowing water (as from an artesian spring). In
the case of upwards flowing water, seepage forces oppose the force of gravity and suspend the
soil particles.
The saturated sediment may appear quite solid until a sudden change in pressure or shock initiates
liquefaction. This causes the sand to form a suspension and lose strength. The cushioning of water
gives quicksand, and other liquefied sediments, a spongy, fluidlike texture. Objects in liquefied
sand sink to the level at which the weight of the object is equal to the weight of the displaced
soil/water mix and the submerged object floats due to its buoyancy.
Liquefaction is a special case of quicksand. In this case, sudden earthquake forces immediately
increases the pore pressure of shallow groundwater. The saturated liquefied soil loses strength,
causing buildings or other objects on that surface to sink or fall over.

QUICK SAND & LIQUEFACTION
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Example:
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