The hydraulic model WOLF of HECE adapted to simulate transient flow of fly ash

A fly ash heap collapse occurred in Jupille (Liege, Belgium) in 1961. The subsequent flow of fly ash reached a surprisingly long runout and had catastrophic consequences. Its unprecedented degree of fluidization attracted scientific attention. As drillings and direct observations revealed no water-saturated zone at the base of the deposits, scientists assumed an air-fluidization mechanism, which appeared consistent with the properties of the material. In this paper, the air-fluidization assumption is tested based on two-dimensional numerical simulations. The numerical model has been developed so as to focus on the most prominent processes governing the flow, with parameters constrained by their physical interpretation. Results are compared to accurate field observations and are presented for different stages in the model enhancement, so as to provide a base for a discussion of the relative influence of pore pressure dissipation and pore pressure generation. These results show that the apparently high diffusion coefficient that characterizes the dissipation of air pore pressures is in fact sufficiently low for an important degree of fluidization to be maintained during a flow of hundreds of meters.