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Microstructural analysis of sands with varying degrees of internal stability

Fonseca, J., Sim, W., Shire, T. & O'Sullivan, C. (2014). Microstructural analysis of sands with varying degrees of internal stability. Geotechnique, 64(5), pp. 405-411. doi: 10.1680/geot.13.t.014


Internal erosion involves the migration of particles through a geotechnical structure. Internal erosion poses a significant hazard to embankment dams and flood embankments. The fundamental mechanisms operate at the particle scale and a thorough understanding of these mechanisms can inform the filter design and specification process and reduce the hazard that internal erosion is known to pose to many engineered embankment structures. Engineers have long acknowledged the importance of the grain scale interactions, but until recently, explanations of the mechanisms have been purely hypothetical, as direct observation of the internal structure of filters was not possible. Recent research has used the discrete-element method to establish a particle-scale basis for Ke´zdi’s filter internal stability criterion. The discrete-element method can provide significant useful data on soil microstructure, so a discrete-element method model is inherently ideal. This study therefore examines a number of real sand samples with varying degrees of internal stability at the particle scale using high-resolution microcomputed tomography. The correlation between coordination number and internal stability is confirmed, with the coordination number values being significantly higher for the real material.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Permission is granted by ICE Publishing to print one copy for personal use. Any other use of these PDF files is subject to reprint fees
Publisher Keywords: erosion, filters, laboratory tests
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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