Probabilistic models for the erosion rate in embankments and reliability analysis of earth dams

Marco Andreini, Paolo Gardoni, Stefano Pagliara, Mauro Sassu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Probabilistic models for the concentrated leak erosion of earthen water retaining structures are presented. The models predict the values of the critical shear stress, the coefficient of erosion and the pipe radius enlargement, starting from other measurable soil properties and the geometrical dimensions of the embankment. The models account for both the non-cohesive and cohesive contributions to the erosion behavior. A Bayesian approach is used for the treatment of the unknown parameters. An importance sampling simulation is adopted to calibrate the models and estimate the posterior distribution of the unknown model parameters using laboratory and in situ experimental data. The new proposed probabilistic model for the pipe radius is then used to develop fragility curves that capture the pipe enlargement as a function of time for a given earth dam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-155
Number of pages14
JournalReliability Engineering and System Safety
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Bayesian approach
  • Concentrated leak erosion
  • Earth dams
  • Fragility
  • Levees
  • Piping
  • Probabilistic models
  • Water retaining structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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