Volume 17 Issue 1
Mar.  2024
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Zhengang Wang. 2024: Numerical three-dimensional modeling of earthen dam piping failure. Water Science and Engineering, 17(1): 72-82. doi: 10.1016/j.wse.2023.09.008
Citation: Zhengang Wang. 2024: Numerical three-dimensional modeling of earthen dam piping failure. Water Science and Engineering, 17(1): 72-82. doi: 10.1016/j.wse.2023.09.008

Numerical three-dimensional modeling of earthen dam piping failure

doi: 10.1016/j.wse.2023.09.008
  • Received Date: 2023-04-02
  • Accepted Date: 2023-09-19
  • Available Online: 2024-03-05
  • A physically-based numerical three-dimensional earthen dam piping failure model is developed for homogeneous and zoned soil dams. This model is an erosion model, coupled with force/moment equilibrium analyses. Orifice flow and two-dimensional (2D) shallow water equations (SWE) are solved to simulate dam break flows at different breaching stages. Erosion rates of different soils with different construction compaction efforts are calculated using corresponding erosion formulae. The dam's real shape, soil properties, and surrounding area are programmed. Large outer 2D-SWE grids are used to control upstream and downstream hydraulic conditions and control the boundary conditions of orifice flow, and inner 2D-SWE flow is used to scour soil and perform force/moment equilibrium analyses. This model is validated using the European Commission IMPACT (Investigation of Extreme Flood Processes and Uncertainty) Test #5 in Norway, Teton Dam failure in Idaho, USA, and Quail Creek Dike failure in Utah, USA. All calculated peak outflows are within 10% errors of observed values. Simulation results show that, for a V-shaped dam like Teton Dam, a piping breach location at the abutment tends to result in a smaller peak breach outflow than the piping breach location at the dam's center; and if Teton Dam had broken from its center for internal erosion, a peak outflow of 117 851 m3/s, which is 81% larger than the peak outflow of 65 120 m3/s released from its right abutment, would have been released from Teton Dam. A lower piping inlet elevation tends to cause a faster/earlier piping breach than a higher piping inlet elevation.


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