Physical Modelling of the Mobility of Dry Granular Landslides
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In geotechnical engineering, granular flows are often studied as a means to further the understanding of the mechanisms that drive landslide motion. High quality experimental data is essential in providing evidence for the development and verification of new theoretical methods that link complex grain interactions to the extended mobility of some landslide events. At present, limited experimental data is available that captures the full range of landslide mobility. In an attempt to add to the present data sources, high quality experimental data was obtained through the use of high speed cameras and physical modelling using a geotechnical centrifuge and a large scale landslide flume. These modelling techniques allow for landslide motion, representative of field scale events, to be observed in a well-defined and controlled setting. A series of nine tests were performed in a geotechnical centrifuge under varying slope inclinations and Coriolis conditions. The effects of Coriolis on landslide mobility were evident when comparing final deposit shapes and total runout. The effects of Coriolis were more pronounced for higher velocity situations and when material was travelling on the horizontal base section opposed to the sloped section of the physical model. A series of thirty tests were performed using a large scale flume under varying source volumes and basal friction conditions, capturing the grain scale interactions and overall runout behaviour. The grain interactions and ultimately the flow behavioural regimes developed were a function of material source volume and boundary roughness. The dimensionless inertial number was used to classify flows into behavioural regimes, but was found to break down when describing transitions to the granular gas behavioural regime. The runout-time results and final deposit shapes showed significant variation between test configurations, indicating the effects of volume and basal friction on overall mobility. Using the depth averaged numerical model, DAN, it was found that a single set of empirically derived frictional parameters (i.e. specific to internal and basal friction conditions) was appropriate for matching the overall mobility of the experimental flows over a range of flow volumes and slope inclinations.