Numerical analysis of the erosion and the transport of fine particles within soils leading to the piping phenomenon

Kazunori Fujisawa, Akira Murakami, Shin Ichi Nishimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


About 50z of the world's dam failures are triggered by piping, which is a primary cause of embankment breaks. The phenomenon of piping results from the erosion of soil particles and their transport within a soil mass. In this paper, a numerical method is proposed to analyze the erosion within soils and the transport of eroded soil particles by adopting the concept of the erosion rate of soils. In such an analysis, the saturated-unsaturated seepage flow of the pore liquid, the detachment of the soil particles from the soil fabric, and the migration of the eroded particles are taken into consideration, and the equations related to the conservation of the pore liquid and the eroded soil particles are numerically solved. This numerical simulation allows for the procurement of the temporal alteration and the spatial distribution of the porosity, the particle size distribution, and the concentration of the detached soil particles in the pore liquid, as well as the distribution of pore liquid pressure. The results have revealed that the method can reproduce the experimental data from previous studies on the internal erosion of soils and that it qualitatively predicts, from the numerical experiments, the typical development of piping within soils, such as soil blocks and embankments, as the solutions to the initial and the boundary value problems of the governing equations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-482
Number of pages12
JournalSoils and Foundations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Erosion
  • Numerical analysis
  • Seepage (IGC A10/E7/E13)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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