Rockfill dams are nowadays often preferred over concrete dams because of their economic advantages, their flexible and thank to the great advance achieved in geosciences and geomechanics. Unfortunately their behavior in case of overtopping is still an open issue. In fact very little is known on this phenomenon that in most cases leads to the complete finite failure o the structure with catastrophic consequences in term of loss of lives and economic damage.
The principal aim of the present work is the development of a computational method to simulate the overtopping and the beginning of failure of the downstream shoulder of a rockfill dam. The whole phenomenon is treated in a continuous framework.
The fluid free surface problem outside and inside the rockfill slop e is treated using a unique Eulerian fixed mesh formulation. A level set technique is employed to track the evolution of the free surface. The traditional Navier-Stokes equations are modified in order to automatically detect the presence of the porous media. The non-linear seepage is evaluated using a quadratic form of the resistance law for which the Ergun's coefficients have been chosen.
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