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Title: Piping in earth dams constructed of dispersive clay : literature review and design of laboratory tests
Authors: Perry, Edward B. (Edward Belk)
Keywords: Clays
Dispersive clay
Earth dams
Soil erosion
Literature review
Publisher: Soils and Pavements Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Description: Technical Report
Abstract: It was assumed when empirical piping criteria were developed 25 yr ago that soil type and method of construction were the main parameters controlling the resistance of homogeneous earth dams to piping failure. Research on piping failure in earth dams constructed of dispersive clay (a particular type of soil in which the clay fraction erodes in the presence of water by a process of deflocculation) was initiated in Australia about 15 yr ago. This research has resulted in a method of analysis to assess the susceptibility of a homogeneous earth dam, constructed of predominately illite or montmorillonite clay, to dispersive clay piping. The first study of dispersive clay in the United States, reported in 1972, developed a relationship between percent sodium and total soluble salts in the soil pore water extract and field performance of earth dams as evidenced by piping failure or rainfall erosion damage. This research has demonstrated the usefulness of the pinhole erosion test as a method of identifying dispersive clays, shown the feasibility of using filters to prevent piping in dispersive clays, and indicated that stabilization of dispersive clays is possible. A laboratory pinhole erosion apparatus has been designed and constructed at the Waterways Experiment Station (WES). A series of laboratory tests has been designed to standardize a procedure for use of the pinhole erosion test as a method of identifying dispersive clays, evaluate the effectiveness of filters in preventing piping in dispersive soils, and determine the influence of selected parameters on erodibility of dispersive clays. The procedure for conducting the Crumb Test is given in Appendix A, and Appendixes B and C present detailed drawings and photographs, respectively, of the WES laboratory erosion test apparatus.
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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