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Journal Articles International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics Year : 2024

Numerical modelling of diaphragm wall construction

Maria Kmeid
Géraldine Casaux-Ginestet
  • Function : Author
Julie Armengaud
  • Function : Author


Abstract Diaphragm walls are rectangular shaped cast in place deep foundations. There are two critical phenomena occurring, according to which the final quality can be affected: bentonite suspension exfiltration and concrete placement. Some imperfections seem to appear recurrently on the surface of the final wall. The defects are known as shadowing pathologies. The main reasons can be attributed to the dual effect of exfiltration mechanisms and kinematics of concrete flow. The objective of this study is developing a numerical tool to prevent the appearance of shadowing pathologies by visualizing the concrete flow in the presence of a bentonite suspension. This paper presents the results obtained from 2D and 3D models of diaphragm wall construction using COMSOL Multiphysics. The CFD model helped in solving a multifluid and particularly a two‐phase flow. The 2D modeling has considered a fresh slurry and an exfiltrated (or polluted) suspension neighboring soil and followed concrete flow with two rheological behaviors in two reinforcement configurations. Then, 3D simulations were compared to actual experimentation results, which were undertaken to construct diaphragm walls in the laboratory. By comparing the results of the simulations to the experimental outcomes, it has been possible to validate the model. The resulting simulations could clearly explain the occurrence of the pathology where the flow pattern and volume fraction of the fluid flow were determined. From the results obtained, it can be conducted that a compliant concrete mix but at the lower limit for the consistency recommendations, leads to pathologies, just like a polluted slurry.
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Dates and versions

hal-04554135 , version 1 (22-04-2024)



Maria Kmeid, Géraldine Casaux-Ginestet, Gilles Escadeillas, Julie Armengaud. Numerical modelling of diaphragm wall construction. International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics, 2024, ⟨10.1002/nag.3732⟩. ⟨hal-04554135⟩
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