Researchers at Mississippi State University’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) are attempting to provide answers to the question, “How much can levee systems withstand before breaking and flooding towns?”
As states in the area experience record rainfall this winter, spillways and levees act as defense systems to prevent the Mississippi River from overflowing.
Bohumir Jelinek, a CAVS researcher and faculty member at the university, is developing computational models to create realistic simulations. His mathematical algorithms represent millions of particles of soil and fluid.
“These animations help us to get a comprehensive picture of what is going on,” Jelinek said. "Each sphere represents a particle of sand or soil. We are looking at the velocity of fluid, particles, forces, torques and stresses. In the real world, many things can’t be observed and measured directly, especially under extreme conditions. Using modeling and visualization, we can obtain a reasonable estimate of what will happen and eliminate the risk.”
These studies help determine the strength of soil, helping decision makers know how to build better levees and reinforce them properly. Jelinek and his fellow researchers will continue to explore the issue.