Volume 47, N. 4

in progress, October-December 2024

Analysis of the modification of piping channels on kaolinitic clayey samples in the pinhole test


Volume 47, N. 4, in progress, October-December 2024 | DOWNLOAD PDF (12 downloads)


Dispersivity is a severe pathology that occurs mainly in clay soils and is usually catastrophic in geotechnical structures susceptible to this damage. Hundreds of dams worldwide have failed due to quality problems, mainly by piping in the body, foundation, spillway, culvert, and other peripheral structures. The pinhole test is currently considered the most accurate test for detecting the dispersivity of clay soils. However, it presents problems when objectively evaluating the dispersivity of a material due to the qualitative nature of the estimation of results. In particular, the methodology for determining turbidity has been identified. This document studies different piping paths in the sample, which a priori may be more realistic than the single path in the current test. A kaolinitic clay, widely studied through index and mineralogical tests, is used as the base material. Regarding the detection of dispersivity, a specialized test package was used to reduce the uncertainty of the results. Natural samples were analyzed using ASTM D4647-13. A modification of the pinhole test was proposed based on the imposition of additional artificial channels. The results revealed that this modification can make the test more realistic because when the dispersive front advances in the soil, it does not travel along a single path but instead looks for different erosive paths. The details of this assertion are discussed throughout the paper.

Keywords: Dispersivity, Pinhole test, Piping, Internal erosion, Double hydrometer test,

Submitted on March 01, 2023.
Final Acceptance on April 03, 2024.
Discussion open until February 28, 2025.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.2024.002223