SEEP/W Feature List

Integrated into the GeoStudio Suite

SEEP/W is integrated into the GeoStudio suite, and therefore has access to the GeoStudio features for creating your model, analyzing it, and viewing results.

Comprehensive Groundwater Flow Formulation

SEEP/W uses a finite element based formulation to analyze groundwater seepage and excess pore-water pressure dissipation problems within porous materials such as soil and rock. Its comprehensive formulation allows you to consider analyses ranging from simple, saturated steady-state problems to sophisticated, saturated/unsaturated time-dependent problems. SEEP/W can be applied to the analysis and design of geotechnical, civil, hydrogeological, geoenvironmental, and mining engineering projects.

The hydraulic conductivity of the soil is a function of the negative pore-water pressure in the unsaturated regions. The rate of change in water content is dependent on the pore-water pressure during transient processes. Hydraulic conductivity can be defined as anisotropic in two orthogonal directions.

Formulated for Saturated/Unsaturated Flow

SEEP/W is formulated for saturated and unsaturated groundwater flow, a feature that greatly broadens the range of problems that can be analyzed. In addition to traditional steady-state saturated flow analysis, the saturated/unsaturated formulation of SEEP/W makes it possible to analyze seepage as a function of time and to consider such problems as regional groundwater flow systems, de-watering of aquifer systems, flow through dams and levees, infiltration into deep unsaturated zones, or soil cover design. 

Typical Applications

SEEP/W can model almost any groundwater problem including:

  • Hydraulic response of a dam or levee to water level fluctuations
  • Changes in pore-water pressure conditions within earth slopes due to infiltration
  • Mounding of the groundwater table beneath water retention structures such as lagoons and tailings ponds
  • Effect of subsurface drains and injection wells
  • Drawdown of a water table due to pumping from an aquifer
  • Dewatering design for seepage into excavations
  • Infiltration, evaporation and transpiration from man-made or natural systems
  • Soil cover design for mine or municipal waste facilities
  • Goundwater flow in freezing and thawing soils (when integrated with TEMP/W)
  • Movement of solutes and gases in the subsurface (when integrated with CTRAN/W)

Get Converged Solutions for Difficult Problems

The partial differential equation for groundwater flow is often termed in the literature as one of the most mathematically difficult equations to solve due to the highly non-linear material properties. The SEEP/W Solver implements a rigorous convergence and under-relaxation scheme that makes it possible to solve even the most demanding unsaturated flow problems. Graphing tools are available during run-time to help you judge if convergence has been achieved.

Estimate Material Properties from Measured Data

The hydraulic conductivity and volumetric water content functions can be estimated using built-in functions. The estimation process requires only fundamental information such as soil classification, porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, or grain size distribution. A saturated-only material model is also available, allowing you to specify a single conductivity and water content value for saturated materials.

Comprehensive Range of Generalized Boundary Conditions

SEEP/W supports a comprehensive list of boundary condition options including total head, pressure head, flux rate, and flow rate. In keeping with the entire GeoStudio suite, SEEP/W makes broad use of generalized functions for boundary condition definition. As such, actual field data or user-specified functional relationships can be pasted into SEEP/W to define hydrographs, reservoir fluctuations, rainfall cycles, or anything imaginable. A modifier function can also be used to scale the functions as needed for site-specific analysis. 

Model Transient Flow Boundary Conditions

The total head versus volume boundary condition conveniently adjusts the total head based on the amount of recharge or discharge past a known area, making it possible to model transient flow into catchments, excavations, or other openings within the domain.

Land-Climate Interaction Boundary Condition

This boundary condition computes water transfers over the ground surface based on imported climate dataset(s), including evaporation, rainfall and snowmelt infiltration, and ponding and subsequent runoff.

Unit Gradient Boundary Condition

The unit gradient boundary condition makes it possible to model deep unsaturated systems for which defining the actual far-field boundary condition would be impractical. 

Rigorous Potential Seepage Face

The potential seepage face is probably one of the most used and most powerful boundary conditions in a groundwater flow analysis. The SEEP/W implementation is rigorous and efficient, with the user-interface and graphing functionality providing feedback on the behaviour of the boundary condition.

Model Root Water Uptake

Root water uptake is modeled in SEEP/W giving consideration to partitioning between actual evaporation and transpiration, plant stress factors, and root distribution.

Simulate Actual Evaporation

Actual Evaporation (AE) is only equal to Potential Evaporation (PE) when the soil is saturated. If the soil at the ground surface is not saturated, the AE rate can be much less than the PE rate. Wilson (1990, 1994) showed that the only way AE can be predicted correctly for all soil types and climatic conditions is to base the calculation on both the negative pore-water pressures and temperatures in the ground. Wilson modified the Penman (1948) method to make the actual evaporation rate dependent on the relative humidity of the soil and the air. The relative humidity in the soil can only be known if the soil temperature and water pressure are known and solved for simultaneously. To solve this complex set of equations, it is necessary to include vapor flow in the soil. SEEP/W meets all these requirements.

Convenient Initial Condition Definition

Initial conditions for transient analyses can be determined using a plethora of options including a piezometric line, spatial pressure head function, activation pore-water pressure, or results from another GeoStudio finite element analysis.

Initial Pore-Water Pressure for Activated Materials

Materials can be activated with a specified pore-water pressure for transient analyses, providing a convenient way to set the initial condition for entire regions in which the starting condition is nearly constant. 

Model in 1D, 2D, Axisymmetric or Plan View

SEEP/W includes analysis options for modelling pseudo three-dimensional problems such as radial flow to a well or relief well spacing in a hydraulic structure.

Powerful Graphing of Results

Graphing is critical for the interpretation of groundwater flow system. The powerful graphing options in GeoStudio make it possible to plot critical information in SEEP/W such as pore-water pressure profiles, total head versus time, material properties, water flux rates, and cumulative recharge and discharge at specified locations. All of this data can be exported or copy/pasted directly into spreadsheet software.

Visualize Flow Paths

Once the analysis is complete, you can interactively click on any part of the domain to visualize the flow path through this point.

Sensitivity Analysis with SEEP/W

A sensitivity analysis can be readily conducted with SEEP/W by cloning multiple analyses using the Analysis Tree and then making slight changes to each one.

Optimization and Calibration

SEEP/W can be paired with other software to conduct optimization/calibration of material properties.

Integration with SLOPE/W for Transient Stability Analyses

Integration of SEEP/W with SLOPE/W makes it possible to analyze the stability of any natural or man-made slope subject to transient changes in pore-water pressure, for example, due to infiltration or evaporation.

Integration with other GeoStudio Finite Element products

SEEP/W computed pore-water pressures can be used in other GeoStudio finite element products as initial conditions. You can also model coupled water and air flow using AIR/W, free-convection water transfer and forced-convection heat transfer using TEMP/W, and density-dependent water flow using CTRAN/W.

Extend SEEP/W with Add-Ins

Download and install an Add-In to enable SEEP/W to model non-Darcian flow.

Features in each GeoStudio Edition