Permeameter tests were performed on four widely graded cohesionless soils, to study their susceptibility to internal erosion. Test specimens were reconstituted as a saturated slurry, consolidated, and then subjected to multi-stage seepage flow under increasing hydraulic gradient. The occurrence of internal instability is described qualitatively, from visual observations through the wall of the permeameter during a test and from post-test observations; it is also described quantitatively, from change of hydraulic gradient within the specimen and from axial displacement during a test. The results provide a novel insight into the spatial and temporal progression of seepage-induced internal instability. This insight yields an improved characterization of suffusion and suffosion in cohesionless soils, the progression of which appears governed by a critical combination of hydraulic gradient and effective stress.
- Internal instability