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Hydraulic and stability analysis of the supporting layer of wedge-shaped blocks




San Mauro, J., author
Larese, A., author
Salazar, F., author
Irazábal, J., author
Morán, R., author
Toledo, M. Á., author
Colorado State University. Department of Engineering, publisher

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Wedge shaped blocks (WSB) are attracting increasing attention as protection against overtopping for earth and rock-fill dams. However, there are limited examples of application and some aspects of the technology merit additional research and improvement. One key issue is the design of drainage and supporting layer for WSB protections. During overtopping, part of the overflow leaks through the joints between blocks, hence circulating through the granular material. The permeability and thickness of the supporting layer must be sufficient to prevent the flow from generating pressure on the bottom side of the blocks, which contributes to its destabilization. However, it must also be structurally stable to avoid undesirable deformations on the downstream face. Both the material permeability and the layer thickness determine the hydraulic behavior of this element. These, together with the weight of the blocks and the slope of the downstream face, directly influence mass and block stability. These aspects should be taken into account for the numerical modeling of seepage through the supporting layer. To this end, an application of the open source software Kratos Multi-physics was employed. A parametric study was conducted to quantify the influence of each design variable in the safety factor against mass sliding of the supporting and drainage layer.


Presented at the Protections 2016: 2nd international seminar on dam protection against overtopping: concrete dams, embankment dams, levees, tailings dams held on 7th-9th September, 2016, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. The increasing demand for dam and levee safety and flood protection has motivated new research and advancements and a greater need for cost-effective measures in overtopping protection as a solution for overtopping concerns at levees and dams. This seminar will bring together leading experts from practice, research, development, and implementation for two days of knowledge exchange followed by a technical tour of the Colorado State University Hydraulic Laboratory with overtopping flume and wave simulator. This seminar will focus on: Critical issues related to levees and dams; New developments and advanced tools; Overtopping protection systems; System design and performance; Applications and innovative solutions; Case histories of overtopping events; Physical modeling techniques and recent studies; and Numerical modeling methods.
Includes bibliographical references.

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mass sliding
numerical modeling
supporting layer
wedge-shaped blocks


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