Studying dikes on peat using centrifuge testing

Published: 26 February 2014

Seven experiments are currently in progress for the 'Dikes on Peat' study at the Deltares GeoCentrifuge. The results will have a major impact on the amended calculation method that will ultimately emerge.

Towards a new calculation method

‘Dikes on Peat’ is an innovative research project that Deltares is carrying out on behalf of and in collaboration with the Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier water authority and Rijkswaterstaat. There are many dikes on peat in the province of North Holland and little was known about these structures until now. The aim of this study is to develop a new calculation method specifically for the dikes around the Markermeer lake. This involves, among other things, model studies. Processes are being simulated to scale in a series of tests in the GeoCentrifuge. Field testing would take months and, even then, measurements would be difficult.

The impact of the peat subsurface on the dike

Until now, the Dikes on Peat research has concentrated exclusively on peat behaviour in isolation. If the findings are to be used in practice, a better understanding of the interaction between the dike and the peat subsurface is needed. The centrifuge tests look at the system as a whole: the dike and the peat subsurface in conjunction. They will show how dikes interact with different subsurface deformation patterns. What is the effect of the stiffness of the subsurface on the stability of the dikes on that subsurface?

Less drastic measures

The study is focusing primarily on the Hoorn – Amsterdam dike upgrade section. It may make cheaper, and less drastic, measures possible.

Onderzoek naar dijken op veen met inzet van centrifugeproeven