The compatibility between a fine grained base (B) material and a downstream coarser particulate transition (T), under the seepage forces related to hydraulic gradients, plays a key role in safety of earthfill dams. This aspect, that is the possible migration of fine grains through the voids larger than their size, is analyzed according to a numerical procedure simulating the 1D-coupled particle migration and seepage unsteady states. The procedure accounts for grain size curve, constriction sizes and porosity of the materials as well as the rate of the suspension and drag forces associated with the seepage flow; friction triggered by normal contact forces induced by confining pressure is considered too. The procedure has been systematically applied to: (i) simulate the newly formed filter (F) at the contact of different B-T systems, (ii) review the criteria proposed by Terzaghi, and (iii) analyze the particle migration phenomena that affected some embankment dams.
Part of the book: Granular Materials