Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Jasim Imran

Abstract

Levees are constructed for protecting infrastructure, croplands and cities from seasonal floods of low land rivers. Most levees are constructed from earthen materials. Also known as earthen embankments, these levees may fail by overtopping, when flood levels exceed design floods. Past studies have shown that soil properties play an important role in the breach development of an overtopped levee. An experimental study has been performed in the Hydraulics Laboratory, University of South Carolina to develop a better understanding on the effect of soil properties in the breaching process. A total of eight experiments have been performed. A new methodology to measure the subaqueous breach has been developed and validated. Measurements on breach discharge, breach width evolution and headcut migration are presented and shown to be linked to soil properties. A set of nondimensional equations to describing the breach process, i.e. peak discharge, time to peak, breach width evolution, final breach width and headcut migration, as functions of soil properties have been derived by fitting the experimental data.

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