Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 1491-1508, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-1491-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
28 Feb 2018
Effectiveness of distributed temperature measurements for early detection of piping in river embankments
Silvia Bersan1, André R. Koelewijn2, and Paolo Simonini1 1Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Padova, Padova, 35131, Italy
2Department of Dike Technology, Deltares, Delft, 2600 MH, the Netherlands
Abstract. Internal erosion is the cause of a significant percentage of failure and incidents involving both dams and river embankments in many countries. In the past 20 years the use of fibre-optic Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) in dams has proved to be an effective tool for the detection of leakages and internal erosion. This work investigates the effectiveness of DTS for dike monitoring, focusing on the early detection of backward erosion piping, a mechanism that affects the foundation layer of structures resting on permeable, sandy soils. The paper presents data from a piping test performed on a large-scale experimental dike equipped with a DTS system together with a large number of accompanying sensors. The effect of seepage and piping on the temperature field is analysed, eventually identifying the processes that cause the onset of thermal anomalies around piping channels and thus enable their early detection. Making use of dimensional analysis, the factors that influence this thermal response of a dike foundation are identified. Finally some tools are provided that can be helpful for the design of monitoring systems and for the interpretation of temperature data.

Citation: Bersan, S., Koelewijn, A. R., and Simonini, P.: Effectiveness of distributed temperature measurements for early detection of piping in river embankments, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 1491-1508, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-1491-2018, 2018.
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Short summary
Backward erosion piping is the cause of a significant percentage of failures and incidents involving dams and river embankments. In the past 20 years fibre-optic Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) has proved to be effective for the detection of leakages and internal erosion in dams. This work investigates the effectiveness of DTS for monitoring backward erosion piping in river embankments. Data from a large-scale piping test performed on an instrumented dike are presented and discussed.
Backward erosion piping is the cause of a significant percentage of failures and incidents...
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