Volume 46, N. 4

Special Issue: COBRAE 2022 (Invited Editors: R.Q. Coutinho, I.F. Gomes), October-December, 2023

Numerical analysis of the breakwater failure at the Sergipe Terminal Port


Volume 46, N. 4, Special Issue: COBRAE 2022 (Invited Editors: R.Q. Coutinho, I.F. Gomes), October-December, 2023 | DOWNLOAD PDF (34 downloads)


The breakwater failure at the Sergipe Harbor is a well-known event among the Brazilian geotechnical community, which provided great knowledge about the behavior of embankments on soft soils, although some questions still remain, since the back analysis diverged from the field outcome. In this context, this work aims to carry out a numerical analysis of the construction of the breakwater using the finite element method to understand the mechanisms of failure. A fully coupled flow-deformation analysis was performed in Plaxis 2D software, using the Soft Soil Creep and Mohr-Coulomb constitutive soil models. The Volume Method was also applied to estimate the stability of the slopes, from the calculated numerical displacements. The interpretation of the results allowed to verify that the analysis simulated behaviors that had been raised as responsible for the failure. High excess pore pressure levels were generated in the phase at which failure occurred, in addition to a strain softening behavior, which, alongside the progressive failure, could justify why the back analysis considering unrealistic gains in undrained strength, calculated by the increase of the vertical effective stresses, had provided missed factors of safety. Although shear deformations and horizontal displacements were verified for both sides of the breakwater, the “shared failure” assumption could not be verified, since the shear stress was mobilized in the rockfill.

Keywords: Numerical analysis, Embankment on soft soils, Incremental construction, Breakwater, Slope failure,

Submitted on May 15, 2023.
Final Acceptance on October 25, 2023.
Discussion open until February 28, 2024.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.2023.005223