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Detección de fugas o defectos de permeabilidad no deseados en diques y represas de tierra/roca mediante mediciones de temperatura


Oferta Tecnológica
Un equipo de investigación de una universidad italiana con experiencia en ingeniería civil ofrece un proceso original para detectar defectos de permeabilidad (localización y dimensiones) en estructuras de tierra y roca mediante la medición de puntas piezométricas y temperatura y modelos analíticos/numéricos avanzados. La colocación de sensores térmicos en secciones estratégicas del dique permite detectar de forma preventiva cualquier defecto de permeabilidad, evitando posibles condiciones críticas repentinas o mecanismos de colapso. El equipo de investigación busca pymes, industrias, universidades y centros de I+D con el fin de establecer acuerdos de cooperación en materia de investigación.


Detection of undesirable leakages or permeability defects within earth/rockfill dams and levees through temperature measurements.
An Italian university research team with expertise in the field of Civil Engineering offers an original procedure to detect permeability defects in earth/rockfill structures by coupling measures of piezometric head and temperature and solutions of advanced analytical/numerical models.
The client is looking for SMEs/industries/universities/R-Y-D institutes to sign a Research Cooperation Agreement.
The technology is proposed by an Italian university research team with expertise in the field of Civil Engineering.

The research of certified safety levels of engineering structures is receiving an increasing attention. The evaluation of these levels is extremely difficult if dangerous and hidden phenomena occur and threaten the structures and their foundation soils. Among these, permeability defects may arise due to many different causes, are practically unavoidable in earth/rockfill structures and can induce undesirable leakages and ultimate limit states. The need to understand how a permeability defect modifies the seepage and temperature distribution within an embankment dam or levee causing serviceability (change of discharge, turbid water, piping) or ultimate limit states (local or global instabilities, structural collapses) of them, is well recognized.
The offered technology is a procedure to detect permeability defects (location and dimensions) in earth/rockfill structures and their foundations soils. This procedure is based on the coupled analysis of the seepage flow and temperature distribution within an embankment dam or levee. The analysis is numerically (Finite Element Method, FEM) carried out though specific codes (SEEP/W and TEMP/W) and allows to (i) evaluate changes of discharge, interstitial pressures, temperature and piezometric head; (ii) identify the relationship between the characteristics (position and dimensions) of the permeability defect and the variations of the main hydrodynamic variables and temperature.
Through this procedure, the placement of thermal sensors in strategic sections of the dam or levee can thus allow to preventively detect any permeability defects, avoiding possible sudden critical conditions or collapse mechanisms. This can be done with the back analysis of measured temperatures distribution. The procedure is still under revision. It can be applied to interpret the measured values of temperature, through thermal or optical fibers sensors, within the soil body of dams or levees, to detect permeability defects caused by internal erosion phenomena or granulometric heterogeneity of materials or compaction errors, and to define their location and dimensions. So, it can find application in the field of Civil, Environmental and Industrial Engineering, allowing to obtain an increase of the safety of environment against sudden and unpredictable phenomena.

The client is looking for SMEs/industries, R-Y-D institutions and universities to sign a Research Cooperation Agreement. The main objective of the collaboration would be the validation and upgrade of the procedure through experimental analysis and lab-tests, for the final development of a marketable and "friendly-user" version providing reasonable information on safety of earth/rockfill structures. In addition, through the collaboration an advanced version of a 3D analysis might be carried out after the completion of the available one.
To this purpose, the team can offer a deep knowledge in the field of Civil and Environmental Engineering; the partner is expected to share expertise in software and numerical procedures development, or thermal sensors and monitoring systems for dams and levees. All SMEs/industries or R-Y-D institutions with the above-mentioned expertise are welcome. The further goal of the partnership would be the commercialization of the obtained product towards public institutions involved in environmental and safety issues, local governments, as well as private owners of earth structures through which seepage flows occur.

Advantages and Innovations:
The main innovation of the proposed procedure regards the coupled implementation of two Finite Element Method (FEM) codes to analyze the seepage flow through saturated or partially saturated materials (code SEEP/W) and to determine the temperature distribution in a body (code TEMP/W), in order to identify the relationship between the characteristics (position and dimensions) of a permeability defect within earth/rockfill structures and their foundation soils and the variations of the main hydrodynamic variables and temperature.
The advantage achieved with this technology is the possibility to detect undesirable leakages within the solid skeleton of a granular material due to permeability defects, as well as to avoid the progression of particle migration phenomena towards undesirable ultimate limit states (piping, full erosion, ...).
Up to date, no commercialized items for this purpose are available. Therefore, the proposed original procedure constitutes a very useful product to accurately elaborate and better interpret monitoring measures.
Stage of Development:
Under development/lab tested
Secret Know-how

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
Research cooperation agreement

· Type: SMEs and big industries, R-Y-D institutions, universities
· Activity: Civil, Environmental and Industrial Engineering; software and numerical procedures development; thermal sensors; monitoring systems for dams and levees.
· Role:
Experimental analysis and lab-tests to further validate (completion and revision) and upgrade the procedure, in particular for the achievement of a 3D version;
co-research and co-development a of marketable and "friendly-user" procedure providing reasonable information on safety of earth/rockfill structures to prevent collapse mechanisms.


Type and Size of Client:
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
10002007 Tecnología / ingeniería medioambiental