Seepage Quantity Analysis Beneath Concrete Dams with Various Sheet Piles using Different Numerical Models

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Taban K. Hamad
Jehan M. Sheikh Suleimany
Tara H. Aurahman


Seepage is a dangerous phenomenon under hydraulic structures and the main cause of failure and damage to dams when neglected and not processed. This study evaluates the numerical effects of the sheet piles' quantity, depth, and spacing beneath a concrete dam with isotropic and homogenous foundations on the seepage rate, pressure head, and exit gradient. The solutions were obtained using SEEP/W code in GeoStudio software 2018 for three configurations using single, double, and triple sheet piles. In addition, SLIDE software 6.02 was examined using single and double sheet piles. Dimensional analysis was applied to draw the dimensionless variables that affect the seepage rate and exit gradient, and all tests were repeated for three different sheet pile depths and distances from the heel of the dam. The findings showed that the seepage rate in all studied configurations reduced when sheet pile depth increased. The position of the sheet pile from the dam's toe significantly decreased the seepage rate in cases using single and double sheet piles, while in cases using three-sheet piles, the position of the middle sheet pile insignificant decreased seepage. It was recognized that when using a single sheet pile, the drop in pressure head increased with depths when the sheet pile was located at the heel and middle of the dam. In addition, in the case of a single sheet pile at the toe or using two and three-sheet piles, the pressure drop decreased as the depths increased. Also, the results showed that the middle sheet pile location in the case of three sheet piles slightly affected pressure reduction. Furthermore, the results showed that using two and three-sheet piles was more effective than using a single one in reducing the exit gradient, while the position of the middle one in the case of using three-sheet piles was insignificant. A nonlinear empirical equation was developed using SPSS 22 program, and the comparison of the seepage rate measured by SEEP/W and SLIDE software versus its quantity calculated from empirical equations showed a good agreement as the determinations (R2) coefficients were equal to 0.9779 and 0.9928, respectively.

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