Effect of suffusion on mechanical characteristics of sand

Nathan Shwiyhat, Ming Xiao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

15 Scopus citations


The mechanical characteristics of earth dams and levees, such as settlement, permeability, and strength, can be affected by internal erosion in the forms of piping and suffusion. This paper reports a preliminary experimental study on the changing mechanical characteristics (permeability, consolidation) with the progression of suffusion of a sandy soil. The internal erosion tests are conducted using a triaxial apparatus. The pedestal of the triaxial cell is modified to allow seepage and eroded soil particles to exit the specimen into an effluent tank. The seepage is induced in the specimen by controlled constant hydraulic gradient. The eroded soils are collected in the effluent tank so that the erosion rate and extent can be measured. Variations of the specimen's permeability and volume during the erosion are recorded. With approximately 5.5% fines in the sand, the test suggests that suffusion can occur and cause soil settlement. Suffusion of finer particles may also clog the downstream soil layer and results in permeability reduction. Suffusion and volume reduction gradually diminish relatively quickly to an un-measurable level after 4hr of seepage through the soil under a hydraulic gradient of approximately 20.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationScour and Erosion
Number of pages9
Edition210 GSP
StatePublished - 2010
Event5th International Conference on Scour and Erosion - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Nov 7 2010Nov 10 2010

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
Number210 GSP
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


Other5th International Conference on Scour and Erosion
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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