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Novel approach for health monitoring of earthen embankments

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stefano Utili


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This paper introduces a novel modular approach for the monitoring of desiccation-induced deterioration in earthen embankments(levees), which are typically used as flood-defense structures. The approach is based on the use of a combination of geotechnical and noninvasivegeophysical probes for the continuous monitoring of the water content in the ground. The level of accuracy of the monitoring is adaptableto the available financial resources. The proposed methodology was used and validated on a recently built, 2-km-long river embankment inGalston (Scotland, United Kingdom). A suite of geotechnical probes was installed to monitor the seasonal variation of water content overa 2-year period. Most devices were calibrated in situ. A novel procedure to extrapolate the value of water content from the geotechnicaland geophysical probes at any point of the embankment is shown. Desiccation fissuring degrades the resistance of embankments against severalfailure mechanisms. An index of susceptibility is proposed here. The index is a useful tool to assess the health state of the structure and prioritizeremedial interventions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Utili S, Castellanza R, Galli A, Sentenac P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering

Year: 2015

Volume: 141

Issue: 3

Online publication date: 07/11/2014

Acceptance date: 09/09/2014

ISSN (print): 1090-0241

ISSN (electronic): 1943-5606

Publisher: American Society of Civil Engineering


DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001215


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