Two-Dimensional Analysis of Water-Filled Geomembrane Tubes Used as Temporary Flood-Fighting Devices

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Virginia Tech

A water-filled geomembrane tube is considered for the purpose of temporary flood protection. With proper design, this tube can be a cheap and efficient breakwater, temporary levee, or cofferdam. This thesis considers a single tube resting on clay and sand foundations.

A finite difference program, FLAC, is used in the numerical analyses. The tube is assumed to be infinitely long, and it is modeled two-dimensionally. Beam elements are used to model the tube. The tube is inflated with water. The hydrostatic pressure in the tube is converted to point loads and applied at the beam nodes in the direction perpendicular to the chord connecting two adjacent nodes.

Two of FLAC's built-in soil models are used: elastic and Mohr-Coulomb. The Mohr-Coulomb model is used in all the cases except the preliminary analyses, in which the elastic soil model is used. The Mohr-Coulomb soil model is able to model the soil's nonlinear stress-strain and path-dependent deformation behavior.

A tube without external water is placed on clay with various shear strengths to study how the clay consistency affects the height and the stresses in the tube. A tube with external water on one side is placed on medium dense sand. A wooden block is placed on the side opposite the floodwater. Three types of block geometry and two sizes are studied. The floodwater level is increased until the system fails. Three failure modes, rolling, sliding, and piping, are studied. The effect of pore pressure on these failure modes is examined. The influence of a filter placed under part of the tube and block is also investigated.

The tube's tensile forces, shear forces, moments, and settlements are included. Soil stresses and pore pressures at the soil-tube interfaces are computed. The cross-section of the tube at various external water levels, and the pore pressures in the soil, are calculated. These results are compared with experimental results that were obtained by graduate students in geotechnical engineering at Virginia Tech.

flood control, flood-fighting devices, geotextile, numerical modeling, geomembrane tube, soil-structure interaction