3D stability analysis of gravity dams on sloped rock foundations using the limit equilibrium method

E. M. Bretas, J. V. Lemos, P. Léger
Computers and Geotechnics
Concrete Gravity Dam, Gravity Method, Limit Equilibrium, Sliding, Sloped Rock Foundation, Three-Dimensional Analysis

A convenient approach to performing stability analysis of concrete gravity dams is the so-called two-dimensional “gravity method.” However, concrete gravity dams located in valleys with sloped rock foundation abutments behave as three-dimensional (3D) structures and are often able to share compressive and shear loads between adjacent monoliths, especially when shear keys are present. A general 3D limit equilibrium method was developed in this study to compute global sliding safety factors (SSFg) by considering sequential load redistribution among adjacent monoliths when individual monoliths have mobilized their sliding strength. Two validation examples of the sliding safety assessment of existing dams are presented to illustrate the accuracy and efficiency of the proposed approach compared to that of the full 3D numerical analyses conducted using the distinct element method. It is shown that gravity dams may be formed by individual monoliths on sloped rock foundations that will slide if considered as isolated structures but will constitute a stable assembly when the load-sharing capabilities of monoliths are recognized in the analysis.

Keywords: Concrete Gravity Dam, Three-Dimensional Analysis, Sliding, Limit Equilibrium, Sloped Rock Foundation, Gravity Method

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