Earthquake Response of Arch Dams

by Umesh Chandra Tahbildar, Lectuer; Civ. Engrg. Dept., Assam Engrg. Coll., Jalukbari, Gauhati, India; presently doing research in the Civ. Engrg. Dept., Southampton Univ., Southampton, England,
Hugh Tottenham, Reader; Civ. Engrg. Dept., Southampton Univ., Southampton, England,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 11, Pg. 2321-2336

Document Type: Journal Paper


A theoretical assessment of dynamic response of arch dams due to earthquakes is attempted using the finite element shell formulation. The results of the analysis reveal that seismic forces can induce high tensile stresses in arch dams and therefore these forces should be given serious consideration in aseismic design. The dam is idealized as an assemblage of rectangular elements with consistent mass distribution and viscous damping. The reservoir is taken into account by considering the added mass. The response to ground accelerations is then evaluated by step-by-step integration of governing differential equations assuming a certain variation of dam acceleration within a short time interval. The method is stable and provides greater economy in computing time than does the normal mode method. The response for a particular dam (Type 5, specified by the Institution of Civil Engineers, England) is obtained for three earthquakes-El Centro, May 18, 1940, N-S; Santa Barbara, June 30, 1941, N45E, and Taft, July 21, 1952, S69E.

Subject Headings: Arch dams | Earthquakes | Earthfill dams | Stress analysis | Seismic design | Dynamic response | Finite element method | Seismic tests

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