Natural Hazards

, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 1163–1178 | Cite as

Experiments on internal erosion in sandy gravel foundations containing a suspended cutoff wall under complex stress states

  • Shuang Wang
  • Jian-sheng Chen
  • Yu-long Luo
  • Jin-chang Sheng
Original Paper


Internal erosion is one of the most common failure modes of embankment dams or foundations, and the simplest and most effective preventive measure is to build a cutoff wall. The soil at the bottom of the cutoff wall is usually under complex stress states. The deeper the cutoff wall, the higher is the stress. In this study, the effects of stress conditions on the evolution of internal erosion were investigated in sandy gravel foundations containing a suspended cutoff wall using a newly developed stress-controlled erosion apparatus. Three series of erosion tests were conducted on gap-graded soil under different confining stresses, different deviatoric stresses, and different confining and deviatoric stresses. The results of these tests are as follows: (1) The discharge and permeability decrease with an increase in the confining stress, but the critical hydraulic gradient increases. (2) In the second series of erosion tests, the specimen is compressed under low deviatoric stress; the specimen undergoes shear expansion under high deviatoric stress. (3) In the third series of erosion tests, the confining and deviatoric stresses synchronously change, and therefore, their combined effect on the evolution of internal erosion is complicated. Under low stress, the soil is compressed in the early stage of the experiment, and its structure may change during internal erosion. When the stress level is high, the specimen also undergoes shear expansion, and the degree of expansion is controlled by both confining and deviatoric stresses.


Internal erosion Stress state Suspended cutoff wall Shear expansion Soil structure 



The authors are grateful for the assistance of the laboratory where all analyses were performed. The support of the 973 Program of China (2012CB417005) and the postgraduate research and innovation plan project of Jiangsu Province (CXZZ13_0243) are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuang Wang
    • 1
  • Jian-sheng Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yu-long Luo
    • 3
  • Jin-chang Sheng
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Civil and Transportation EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of Earth Sciences and EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina

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