Concrete dams, civil engineering largest structures, have been a fertile ground for testing innovative numerical techniques. One of the first applications of finite difference was the stability analysis of a dam, and the first civil engineering paper on the finite element method dealt with the cracking of a dam.
Whereas the design of dams is a relatively simple task (since it is limited to its linear elastic behavior), the seismic safety investigation of a dam is a much more challenging problem. One must account for joint opening and closure, water structure, and water crack interaction, foundation and rock mass interaction, and development of secondary cracks. While such analysis were shunned in the past, they are becoming increasingly necessary because of mandatory regulations and thanks to increased computational power.
This talk will then focus on the challenges of such a nonlinear analysis. First dynamic tests on a shaking table mounted on a centrifuge will be briefly presented. A description of the computational model and selected algorithms will be presented next. Finally, practical examples of dam analysis will be presented.
Victor Saouma is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and a Visiting Professor at the Dipartimento di Ingegneria Strutturale at the Politecnico di Milano (hosted by Prof. Maier). His research activity on dynamic analysis of dams has been funded for the past four years by the Tokyo Electric Power Research Institute.