University of Vermont
Research project on steady state seepage
This module involves student groups constructing physical models of hydraulic structures to study steadystate seepage. Five models are constructed in a given laboratory session. This project is conducted after the constant head and falling head permeability laboratory exercise is conducted. The students are asked to use the same sand and follow generally the same sample preparation procedure in constructing their flow model as the ones used in preparing the permeability test specimens, so the permeabilities can be used in the analysis of the flow models. In the permeability laboratory, students are also asked to conduct mechanical sieve analysis test on the sand to determine its effective size (D10) to estimate permeability based on Hazenâ€™s equation. Before the research project on seepage is conducted, a laboratory session on numerical modeling of steady state seepage is also conducted where students learn to use the finite elementbased commercial software SEEP/W. Students observe the flow patterns and measure flow rate through their model and piezometric heads at some locations. They use these experimental observations to validate their graphical and numerical solutions. They write a 6 to 8 page long technical paper with all group members as coauthors.



(a) dike 
(b) dike with a cutoff at downstream toe 
(c) earth dam with a blanket drain 


Groups of students constructed these physical models to study steadystate seepage. The dye is used to observe flow paths. 
(d) dike with upstream cutoff 
(e) sheet pile cutoff wall 
(a) physical model 
(b) hand drawn flownet 
(c) numerical solution using the computer program SEEP/W 
Physical model, graphical solution and computer output generated by students as a part of their research project on steadystate seepage 
Last modified June 11 2010 04:39 PM