Spatial and temporal progression of internal erosion in cohesionless soil

Ricardo Moffat, R. Jonathan Fannin, Stephen J. Garner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-412
Number of pages14
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Internal instability
  • Piping
  • Suffosion
  • Suffusion


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