Steady seepage in trenches and dams: Effect of capillary flow

Michel C. Boufadel, Makram T. Suidan, Albert D. Venosa, Mark T. Bowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Steady seepage from two-dimensional domains is investigated using a dimensionless formulation for variably saturated media that depends on three dimensionless parameters, M, n, and a. The parameter M is the product of the anisotropy ratio and the squared ratio of the vertical length scale to the horizontal length scale. The parameter n increases with the uniformity of the pore sizes, and a represents the ratio of the domain height to the height of the capillary fringe. Our modeling results show that the seepage face height in rectangular domains is always larger than the seepage face height computed from saturated flow models. The results also show that the seepage face height increases with increasing M, increasing n, and/or decreasing a. The outflows computed from the present model are always larger than the outflows computed by the Dupuit assumption. Nomographs for rectangular and trapezoidal domains simulating trenches and dams are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-294
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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