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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 13, Number 6, December 2017, pages 947-961

A spiral variable section capillary model for piping hydraulic gradient of soils causing water/mud inrush in tunnels
P. Lin, S.C. Li, Z.H. Xu, L.P. Li, X. Huang, S.J. He, Z.W. Chen and J. Wang

     An innovative spiral variable-section capillary model is established for piping critical hydraulic gradient of cohesion-less soils causing water/mud inrush in tunnels. The relationship between the actual winding seepage channel and grain-size distribution, porosity, and permeability is established in the model. Soils are classified into coarse particles and fine particles according to the grain-size distribution. The piping critical hydraulic gradient is obtained by analyzing starting modes of fine particles and solving corresponding moment equilibrium equations. Gravities, drag forces, uplift forces and frictions are analyzed in moment equilibrium equations. The influence of drag force and uplift force on incipient motion is generally expounded based on the mechanical analysis. Two cases are studied with the innovative capillary model. The critical hydraulic gradient of each kind of sandy gravels with a bimodal grain-size-distribution is obtained in case one, and results have a good agreement with previous experimental observations. The relationships between the content of fine particles and the critical hydraulic gradient of seepage failure are analyzed in case two, and the changing tendency of the critical hydraulic gradient is accordant with results of experiments.
Key Words
    capillary model; piping; cohesion-less soils; critical hydraulic gradient; incipient motion
P. Lin, S.C. Li, Z.H. Xu, L.P. Li, X. Huang, S.J. He and J. Wang: Geotechnical & Structural Engineering Research Center, Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong, 250061, China

Z.W. Chen: School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia

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