Elastic Analysis for Behavior of Rockfill

by Neville O. Boughton, (M.ASCE), Proj. Engr.; Bechtel Pacific Corp., Melbourne, Australia,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 5, Pg. 1715-1733

Document Type: Journal Paper


All concrete-faced rockfill dams higher than 300 ft have had serious leakage problems when first filled. In an attempt to determine the causes of this and to provide a rational basis for design, finite-element procedures are applied to rockfill dams with concrete faces. This application requires a knowledge of the tangent elastic properties of rockfill at each state of stress in the analysis. These properties are determiend from triaxial test results on a number of different rockfill materials, and stress-history dependent values for Young's Modulus and Poisson's Ratio obtained. As a check on the validity of this procedure, the elastic analysis with stress-history dependent parameters is applied to both confined compressison and direct shear tests. In each case consistent results are obtained. The application of finite-element procedures using these elastic parameters to rockfill dams indicates that high tensions exist around the perimeter of the concrete face, and that the face itself has a considerable influence on the deformations of the underlying rockfill.

Subject Headings: Elastic analysis | Concrete dams | Rockfill dams | Rock fills | Stress analysis | Earthfill dams | Material properties | Finite element method

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