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Title: Influence of water pressure field on foundation displacements of Alqueva arch dam - A numerical approach
Authors: Braga Farinha, M. L.
Lemos, J. V.
Maranha das Neves, E.
Keywords: Concrete arch dam;Rock foundation;Hydromechanical behaviour;Failure analysis;Water pressure field
Issue Date: Apr-2013
Publisher: ITCOLD - Italian Committee on Large Dams
Abstract: A global three-dimensional model of a large concrete arch dam and foundation was developed, with which it is possible to perform both mechanical and hydraulic analyses. Joint water pressures are a relevant factor in the safety of this type of structure. This paper presents a study of the influence of different fields of water pressures within the foundation rock mass on both dam behaviour and foundation displacements. The model simulates various discontinuities, such as the dam/foundation interface, the dam contraction joints, and three of the five main foundation sets of discontinuities. In this model, both the grout and drainage curtains are represented. Analysis is done using the discrete element method (DEM) and the code 3DEC, and applying a methodology which has been used to assess the safety of arch dams regarding ultimate limit states involving the dam foundation. Results analysis showed that the orientation of rock mass discontinuities ensures that failure is very unlikely. The main objective of the study was to analyse the influence of different ways of modelling the water pressure field within the foundation rock mass on calculated displacements. Strength characteristics of the foundation discontinuities were gradually reduced to very low values, and it was this situation which showed that for very high water pressures the largest displacements are observed in a rock mass wedge located at around mid-height of the right bank, immediately downstream from the dam. The influence of the water pressure within the foundation on the stability of this rock wedge is assessed by comparing the results obtained without uplift pressures with those obtained using the hydraulic model or assuming simplified water pressure fields, defined in terms of a water table compatible with the water levels upstream and downstream from the dam and the valley slopes.
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