Large Scale Physical Model Study On Clay Erosion With Gras Cover On Primary Coastal Defence Structures


  • SUZANNA ZWANENBURG Deltares, The Netherlands
  • VERA VAN BERGEIJK Deltares, The Netherlands
  • BERT DE WOLFF Waterschap Noorderzijlvest, The Netherlands
  • MARK KLEIN BRETELER Deltares, The Netherlands



Dikes, Coastal structures, Clay Erosion, Residual strength, Large Scale Physical Modelling


Sea dikes in the Netherlands consist of sandy or clay core with a clay layer with grass. The lower outer slope is often covered with a hard revetment, such as asphalt or a placed block revetment, to protect the dike material against wave impact. Since the strength of the clay layer with a grass subject to severe wave impact is unknown, the hard revetment needs to be constructed on a large part of the outer slope to ensure that the flood defence meets the safety requirements.

Therefore, a research programme was started to determine the strength of the clay layer with grass on the upper slope of a dike. As a first step, large scale physical model tests have been performed. In the second step the CFD model OpenFOAM has been used to extend the physical model results by computing the peak pressure of the hydraulic load on the clay for the tested geometries and additional geometries with varying parameters that may influence the erosion rate. With all results, it was possible to derive formulas for failure probability calculations in the final step. The knowledge development on the erosion of a clay layer with grass on the outer slope by wave attack resulted into formulas that are currently used in the safety assessment of dikes contributing towards safer deltas and resilient designs of dikes.




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