Levee Design Essay

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Levee designs must take into consideration many effects of natural disasters including rising water height, damage from debris, and wind damage. However, civil and environmental engineers must also look at naturally occurring phenomenons overtime before disaster, such as erosion from wind and water, when designing levees. In the case of our levee, we utilized the given materials to build a levee which was able to withstand threats to integrity by both commonplace weather patterns and more severe damage caused by flooding.
Our materials included coarse sand, fine sand, tongue depressors, and mesh. In order to minimize the damage done to our levee by the rising storm surge, we mimicked commonplace levee building techniques using our given …show more content…

This was done by building a base of 4.76 inches and a height of 4 inches, giving a slope gradient of 83.9%. Finally, the base of the levee was composed of about a half an inch of coarse sand in order to reduce pressure against the levee during a storm surge by implementing controlled underseepage (“Vegetation”). Through research of actual levees, the given materials were used to replicate successful structural design.
During the test, the “storm surge” was created by filling water up to just below the height of the levee. The water was then left for a minute in order to see if there was any failure due to seepage. After the minute was reached, water was added until the levee overtopped, and in our case, fell. During the initial minute, water was observed to have seeped through the coarse sand layer on the exterior of the levee and began to penetrate the fine sand core. The water was mostly concentrated in the base of the levee within the coarse sand base, and halted right before the cutoff wall. The levee was able to withstand the water without failure before overtopping. After a minute passed and the water was raised above the height of the levee, it was able to infiltrate the other side and weaken the structure, as the sand above the cutoff wall cracked once it dried. The water entered into this crack and lead to shear failure as the levee fell downward; this type of failure is called filled gap failure. The damage done was modeled within the graph,

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