Numerical Modelling of Internal Soil Erosion with Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics

Numerical Modelling of Internal Soil Erosion with Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics

Project Outline

Internal soil erosion is often a major contributor in the failure of large geostructures such as dams, dikes and mine pit lakes.  Internal soil erosion refers to the flow of granular soils through a porous media and can lead to a range of soil failure mechanisms including piping, soil contact erosion and suffusion.

Erosive soil behaviour is particularly important for the rehabilitation of the Latrobe Valley’s large open-pit brown coal mines as piping through silt bearing interseam layers may have catastrophic consequences for the creation of mine pit lakes.  Concentrated surface water flows within tension cracks and jointed coal seams can initiate sub-surface soil erosion, leading to sink holes as well as slope failure.  The phenomenon of internal soil erosion can also be extended to man-made structures, like tailings dams.

When considering numerical analysis of internal soil erosion, particle based models are often required to accurately represent the transport of fine soils through porous media.  Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) is advanced meshless Lagrangian method ideally suited to the simulation of large strain problems involving free surface flows and large displacements.

This project aims to investigate the properties of internal soil erosion within mine pit lakes using SPH to evaluate the risks and implications of partial or full pit lake scenarios.

Supervision team

Professor Thomas Baumgartl, Mr. Ashley Dyson (Research Fellow), Dr. Javad Yaghoubi (Research Fellow)