Centrifuge modeling of the effects of natural hazards on pile-founded concrete floodwalls

Tessari, Anthony Frederick
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Other Contributors
Abdoun, Tarek
Sasanakul, Inthourn, 1977-
Zimmie, T. F.
Zeghal, Mourad
Varuso, Richard
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Civil engineering
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Effective design and construction of levees is vital in protecting civilians and infrastructure that are situated in flood-prone regions around the world. In the United States, the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are reinforcing their current levees, known as the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System. The United States Army Corps of Engineers and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute formed a partnership following Hurricane Katrina in order to investigate the mechanisms behind I-Wall failures. Consequently, I-Walls were deemed unsuitable for retaining floodwater heights greater than 1.2 meters. Pile-founded concrete floodwalls, commonly known as T-Walls, are an effective replacement alternative. They are supported by piles, battered and vertical, and contain a sheet pile cutoff wall for seepage and gradient purposes. Weak foundation soils pose a challenge in their design due to the potential instability generated by storm surge. Previous design methodologies assumed that the unbalanced forces generated in the soil would be resisted by the sheet pile and then transferred to the support piles via the concrete mat. However, recent numerical models indicate that the sheet pile will provide little to no resistance and that the support piles actually ensure stability.
December 2012
School of Engineering
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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