An Approach to Analysis of Arch Dams in Wide Valleys

by Janusz R. Rydzewski, (F.ASCE), Head; Postgrad. Course in Irrigation Engrg., Civ. Engrg. Dept., Southampton Univ., Southampton, U.K.,
Richard W. Humphries, Design Engr.; Ministry of Water Development, Salisbury, Rhodesia,

Serial Information: Journal of the Power Division, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 1, Pg. 165-174

Document Type: Journal Paper


The use of arch dams in combination with earth or rockfill embankments for wide valley sites has arisen from the need to provide adequate spillway capacity on certain rivers in southern Africa. The stress analysis of the resulting structure, consisting of an arch dam with artificial abutments, can be achieved by means of finite element techniques. However, cost factors would tend to discourage their use during preliminary stages of the design process. The paper investigates the behavior of several arch dam shapes in wide valleys of different elastic properties and then proceeds to suggest a way in which the Southampton University Arch Dam (SUAD) computer program, based on a thin-shell approximation of the arch dam, can be extended to cover this type of problem. A comparison with a finite element solution indicates that the SUAD program can be used with confidence for preliminary design studies of arch dams with artificial abutments.

Subject Headings: Arch dams | Finite element method | Stress analysis | Comparative studies | Earthfill dams | Rockfill dams | Rock fills | Spillways | Africa

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