Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Vahedifard, Farshid

Committee Member

Ellithy, Ghada

Committee Member

Howard, Isaac L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Several hydraulic loadings impose earthen levees to time-dependent variably saturated seepage conditions. The main objective of this study is to improve the analysis of levees under transient seepage with the use of unsaturated soil mechanics. An extensive set of laboratory testing, field monitoring and numerical modeling are performed to analyze a silty sand setback levee located near Seattle, WA. In-situ data obtained from field monitoring are used to monitor suction and effective stress within the levee’s embankment and foundation over the past two years. Soil samples taken from the site are used to perform index, water retention, and unsaturated multi-stage triaxial tests in the laboratory. A finite element model of transient seepage under saturated-unsaturated conditions is then developed and calibrated to reasonably match the field data. The results highlight the need to consider unsaturated soil mechanics along with climatic variables and soil-atmosphere interaction when analyzing levees under transient seepage conditions.