Estimating Horizontal Drain Design by the Finite-Element and Finite-Difference Methods
Description:To ensure the stability ofa tailings pond embankment, the height of the phreatic surface must be kept at or below a safe level. In this investigation, the Bureau of Mines analyzed various horizontal drain designs for tailings embankments to determine their effects on location of the phreatic surface. This report describes the investigation, and it includes 21 dimensionless graphs that can be used to estimate the drain spacing and length dimensions necessary to ensure the stability of embankments of various configurations. Analyses were based on the use of two computer codes, a three-dimensional finite-element code and a two-dimensional finite-difference code. The computer-generated results were compared with results obtained from a laboratory embankment model, other laboratory test results, and piezomet-ric data from two actual tailings embankments. Nearly the same phreatic surface locations were predicted using either of the computer codes. For one of the actual embankments studied, the predicted phreatic surface location was slightly higher than the measured location; for the other, the predicted location closely followed the actual surface trend. Phreatic surfaces of the laboratory model were slightly higher than the code-gener-ated locations, and the differences grew larger as drain length increased or drain spacing decreased.
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