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Defensive design of concrete gravity dams

Hall, John F. and Dowling, Michael J. and El-Aidi, Bahaa (1991) Defensive design of concrete gravity dams. California Institute of Technology . (Unpublished)

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Failure of a concrete gravity dam during an earthquake could occur as a sliding instability along an earthquake-induced crack, possibly assisted by uplift pressures from water flowing into the crack. Reliable assessment of the likelihood of such an event is thought to be difficult, and this suggests a need for designs which are less prone to cracking and uncertain behavior than are typical existing designs. Several schemes for reducing the potential for cracking during earthquake loading are investigated by finite element simulations: use of a sliding plane at the base of the dam, modification of the cross-sectional shape, use of a joint in the upper part of the clam, prestressing, and hydrodynamic isolation. The sliding plane, modified cross-section, and upper joint may only be applicable to new construction, while prestressing and hydrodynamic isolation could also be used to upgrade existing dams. While all of the schemes show potential, modification of the cross-sectional shape is probably the most practical considering acceptability, cost and effectiveness.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Technical Report)
Hall, John F.0000-0002-7863-5060
Group:Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory
Record Number:CaltechEERL:1991.EERL-91-02
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:You are granted permission for individual, educational, research and non-commercial reproduction, distribution, display and performance of this work in any format.
ID Code:26392
Deposited By: Imported from CaltechEERL
Deposited On:19 Feb 2008
Last Modified:13 Aug 2021 23:27

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