Modeling coupled erosion and filtration of fine particles in granular media

Jie Yang, Zhen Yu Yin, Farid Laouafa, Pierre Yves Hicher

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


One of the major causes of instability in geotechnical structures such as dikes or earth dams is the phenomenon of suffusion including detachment, transport and filtration of fine particles by water flow. Current methods fail to capture all these aspects. This paper suggests a new modeling approach under the framework of the porous continuous medium theory. The detachment and transport of the fine particles are described by a mass exchange model between the solid and the fluid phases. The filtration is incorporated to simulate the filling of the inter-grain voids created by the migration of the fluidized fine particles with the seepage flow, and thus, the self-filtration is coupled with the erosion process. The model is solved numerically using a finite difference method restricted to one-dimensional (1-D) flows normal to the free surface. The applicability of the model to capture the main features of both erosion and filtration during the suffusion process has been validated by simulating 1-D internal erosion tests and by comparing the numerical with the experimental results. Furthermore, the influence of the coupling between erosion and filtration has been highlighted, including the development of material heterogeneity induced by the combination of erosion and filtration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1615-1627
Number of pages13
JournalActa Geotechnica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Filtration
  • Granular media
  • Internal erosion
  • Permeability
  • Seepage
  • Suffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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