Doctoral Dissertations

Keywords and Phrases

Dams; Internal Erosion; Piping; Seepage


"Dam failures by seepage and internal erosion have reportedly been attributed to up to 40% of all dam failures in the United States. Backwards piping erosion either through the embankment or foundation soils has been reported to be the major contributing method to seepage and internal erosion dam failures. This proposed research is motivated by the lack of understanding of the complex stress regimes associated with internal erosion in cohesionless soils under earthen structures. The overall goal of this research is to provide a fundamental understanding of internal erosion and the hydromechanical stress conditions necessary for the initiation and continuation of internal erosion in cohesionless soils under earthen structures. This research project consisted of three experimental tasks to evaluate internal erosion in cohesionless soils. Task 1 consisted of laboratory soil characterization of regional geo-materials representative of typical Missouri earthen dam foundation materials. Task 2 consisted of a conventional finite element method numerical analysis of a typical Missouri embankment dam geometry to determine foundation stresses/strains and hydraulic flow conditions. Task 3 consisted of the bench-scale design, construction, and testing of an Internal Erosion Plane-Stain Direct Simple Shear (PSDSS) device to evaluate internal erosion. The results indicated that within internally unstable soils internal erosion typically initiates and then may terminate or continue depending upon the hydromechanical conditions. Any changes in the hydromechanical conditions can cause the re-initiation and continuation of internal erosion. Internally stable soils did not exhibit the potential for internal erosion when tested under changing hydromechanical conditions"--Abstract, p. iii


Luna, Ronaldo

Committee Member(s)

Mendoza, Cesar
Rogers, J. David
Anderson, Neil L. (Neil Lennart), 1954-
Navin, Michael


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Degree Name

Ph. D. in Civil Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Fall 2021


xv, 572 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes_bibliographical_references_(pages 557-571)


© 2021 Kerry Allen Magner, All Rights Reserved

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 12178