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Learning from Failures: A Geotechnical Perspective

 Tailings Dams

In the intricate world of geotechnical engineering, the construction and maintenance of structures such as tailing dams are fraught with challenges that demand continuous innovation and vigilance. From unexpected seepage issues jeopardizing structural integrity to the complexities of managing groundwater flow, the stakes are high and the margin for error is slim. 


Tailing Dam Hydraulic Behavior 


Consider a scenario where a tailing dam experiences unexpected seepage issues, jeopardizing its stability and prompting a reevaluation of hydraulic conditions within the structure. Tailing dam failures can result from several factors, including inadequate assessment of geological conditions, inaccurate design assumptions, or uncertainties in hydraulic properties such as permeability variations. In this case, a limited understanding of groundwater flow paths and properties could contribute to significant risks. The failure of a tailing dam can lead to severe consequences, including environmental contamination, substantial financial liabilities, and safety hazards for surrounding communities. Remediation efforts would necessitate significant resources and time, impacting project timelines and regulatory compliance. 


Implementation of DAARWIN: Optimizing Hydraulic Understanding 


In response to these challenges, the implementation of the software DAARWIN by SAALG Geomechanics emerges as a crucial tool to optimize the assessment and management of hydraulic behavior within the dam. 

Imagine having the power to obtain more realistic data based on monitoring data. For this purpose, SAALG Geomechanics created software DAARWIN, which enables exactly this capability, offering information, identifying the most influential parameters, calibrating predictive models with monitoring data, and obtaining more realistic data. Using genetic algorithms, which ultimately calculate thousands of different combinations of parameters with numerical models until it achieve a combination that allows us to match what we are measuring with the monitoring data from the instruments. This proactive approach not only optimizes performance but also enhances safety and minimizes downtime. 


In this scenario, DAARWIN could provide a better understanding of hydraulic properties inside the dam, enabling engineers to make more efficient decisions. Through rigorous sensitivity analyses and backanalysis, DAARWIN facilitates the optimization of design parameters critical to the dam's stability. Engineers can ensure robust infrastructure that meets both operational demands and environmental standards. 

DAARWIN  represents a pivotal shift towards smarter, safer, and more sustainable infrastructure practices. By embracing innovative solutions, geotechnical engineers can forge ahead with confidence, equipped to overcome challenges and deliver resilient infrastructure that stands the test of time. 

In the journey towards safer and more efficient geotechnical solutions, DAARWIN stands at the forefront - a beacon of progress and a testament to the transformative potential of advanced technology in shaping our infrastructure future. 

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