Pressure coefficient in dam-break flows of dry granular matter

Luca Sarno, Armando Carravetta, Riccardo Martino, Yih Chin Tai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The propagation of dry granular flows, such as rock and snow avalanches, can be described by depth-averaged models. Different from classical shallow-water equations, these models take into account the anisotropy of normal stresses inside the flowing pile through using an earth pressure coefficientin the pressure term. A new regularization function for calculating the pressure coefficient in the Savage-Huttertype models at the early stages of dam-break flows and collapses is proposed. In such circumstances the flow lines are significantly curved with respect to the basal surface and a special treatment of the earth-pressure coefficient is required for obtaining a satisfactory agreement with experimental data. The comparison between numerical simulations and laboratory experimental data shows an apparent improvement in describing the early stages of dam-break waves over rough beds. The comparison with experiments over smooth bed surface exhibits minor evidence of improvement. Nonetheless, in this case the proposed formula yields results similar to what obtained by the original Savage-Hutter formula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1126-1133
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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