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M.T. Ahmadi

a,

*

, M. Izadinia

a

, H. Bachmann

b

a

Department of Structural Engineering, School of Engineering, Tarbiat Modarres University, P.O. Box 14115-143, Tehran, Iran

b

IBK, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Hoenggerberg, Switzerland

Received 30 November 1998; accepted 27 May 2000

Abstract

Concrete arch dams are generally constructed of massive plain concrete with almost no tensile resistance. To control

tensile forces due to concrete shrinkage, temperature variations and for construction facilitation, arch dams are built in

cantilever monoliths separated by vertical contraction joints. Earlier studies show that the modeling of such joints has

signicant inuence on the seismic safety evaluation of arch dams. This fact is due to the tensile and shear failures of

joints causing a redistribution of internal forces during and after a big earthquake. In the present study, a nonlinear

joint element model with a coupled sheartensile behavior for realistic nite element analysis of damreservoir system is

presented. Reservoir upstream radiation, and bottom partial absorption of acoustic waves, as well as water com-

pressibility are considered. The model when applied to simpler cases solved by other workers shows good performances.

However, it is much more useful to solve problems not considered so far, e.g., shear keys behavior, joint damages, etc.

The model could be employed eectively and conveniently for earthquake safety evaluation of arch dams in highly

active seismic regions. 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Arch dam; Joint element; Contraction joint; Dynamic analysis; Finite elements; Shear failure; Discrete crack; Joint opening;

Joint slip; Nonlinear analysis

1. Introduction

Various methods have been proposed to model the

discontinuous behavior of arch dam vertical joints. This

phenomenon is treated by using constraint equations or

by adopting special joint elements such as discrete

springs [1]. However, such generalized nonlinear springs

do not include all the mechanical properties of con-

traction joints, e.g., shear keys properties, initial tensile

strength due to joint grouting, shear softening, etc. in

numerical analysis. For example, shear and tensile fail-

ures of joints have an important coupling feature de-

pending on the amount of normal opening, shear key

height and damages due to nonlinear deformations.

Furthermore, considering the geometrical and physical

features of joints, additional examinations will be

needed to determine such springs stiness. Other work-

ers have treated the joint/interface by using a quasi-

continuum nite element of small thickness containing

planes of weakness. A special joint nite element has

been developed by Beer [2] and is successfully applied to

rock joints studies and other geo-mechanical pheno-

mena. Further studies are needed to extend such appli-

cations to dynamic analysis of jointed systems. Some

deciencies have been observed in the nonlinear behav-

ior, i.e., in both normal and tangential displacements of

the joint model developed by Fenves [3]. He studied the

nonlinear behavior of joints related only to the joint

normal displacement. He assumed fully elastic behavior

for joint response to tangential forces, without adequate

Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420

www.elsevier.com/locate/compstruc

*

Corresponding author. Tel.: +98-911-230-0463; fax: +98-

21-800-6652.

E-mail addresses: mahmadi@modares.ac.ir, resan9@mor-

va.net (M.T. Ahmadi).

0045-7949/01/$ - see front matter 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

PII: S0045- 7949( 00) 00148- 6

interaction with normal displacements (i.e., using shear

keys with innite shear strength).

Further shortcomings correspond to modeling the

reservoir hydrodynamic forces by added mass ap-

proximate method. Hohberg [4] studied the nonlinear

behavior of joints with relative normal and shear dis-

placements extensively. He developed mathematical

constitutive relations idealizing the behavior of concrete

contraction joints. However, his model for joint soft-

ening behavior showed deciencies in convergence and

diculties for parameters decision. Indeed it requires

more descriptive examples, experiments and compara-

tive studies with the observed damages to concrete

contraction joints and shear keys. He also did not in-

clude the reservoir hydrodynamic forces as desired for

large dams. Noruziaan [5] studied the nonlinear behav-

ior due to joint failure and concrete cracking in the nite

element analysis of Morrow Point concrete arch dam.

He concluded that concrete nonlinear behavior have

negligible eects on the dams overall response. This is

doubtful in the case of strong earthquakes. He did not

disclose the details of his time integration and numerical

algorithm to deal with the proposed constitutive law of

concrete joints. His proposed model should be tested by

known simple examples of jointed systems. Besides, he

also used the added mass concept for the reservoir ef-

fects. Discrete crack model for concrete joints taken by

Lot [6] did not describe all the physical features ob-

served in concrete joints. He also applied the added mass

concept for reservoir eects. Ahmadi provided a discrete

crack nite element model for vertical and foundation

joints of an arch dam [7]. He considered only tensile

cracking due to persistent static loads and provided a

lower bound solution for the failure load. He also

studied the eect of dierent abutment exibilities on

joint opening due to weight and water loads. A recent

release of program DIANA DIANA [8] has the coupled shear

tensile failure modeling capability using Coulombs

friction law, but apparently it does not consider the joint

asperity height which controls the shear interlock.

Recent developments have shown that in addition to

reservoir hydrodynamic interaction, uid compressibi-

lity could also considerably aect the earthquake re-

sponses of arch dams [9]. It is now well understood that

the multivariable discrete nature of contraction joints of

arch dam should be taken into consideration, and the

present research deals with a realistic and novel handling

of such a task.

2. Methodology

2.1. Constitutive relations for the adopted joint element

Providing shear key members in arch dam upper

contraction joints is the usual construction practice in

many countries. This approach is considered very ef-

fective for ensuring dam safety in seismic regions or sites

with variable deformability in the foundation. With the

present research introduced in this paper, eects of shear

keys on earthquake response of the damreservoir sys-

tem could be studied.

Local discontinuities in solid displacement eld due

to existing joints, cause the variational problem and

minimization of total potential energy to be subjected to

constraint equations for joint displacements. This con-

strained minimization problem could be analyzed by the

Lagrange multipliers method or penalty function ap-

proach. However, even when assuming linear elastic

solids and small deformations, this problem will remain

strongly nonlinear because of the unknown state of

boundary conditions in the interface [4]. Relative tan-

gential and normal deformations at the joint surfaces

cause internal resisting forces or stresses. In the elastic

range, constitutive law for the interface surface is given

by

r = D

e

[ [ d ;

r

n

s

s

s

t

8

>

<

>

:

9

>

=

>

;

=

k

n0

0 0

0 k

s0

0

0 0 k

s0

2

6

4

3

7

5

v

u

s

u

t

8

>

<

>

:

9

>

=

>

;

;

(1)

where r

n

, s

s

, s

t

are the normal and the two tangential

(shear) stresses, and v, u

s

, u

t

are the normal and the

tangential relative displacements. k

s0

, k

n0

are the penalty

parameters and guarantee the no-slip and no-penetra-

tion conditions of the interface surfaces for service loads.

These parameters have the dimension of force per unit

volume and are also called the initial shear and normal

joint stiness coecients. In Eq. (1), it is assumed that

the coupling between normal and shear displacements is

negligible, and the elastic modulus matrix D

e

is diagonal.

In a typical analysis of systems including joint elements,

relative tangential and normal displacements in each

quadrature point of joint surface are calculated by nodal

displacements vector.

Then, the resisting forces and stiness matrix can be

determined by Eq. (1). Element geometry and local and

global coordinates for the adopted 16-node joint ele-

ment are presented in Fig. 1.

It is possible to develop elasto-plastic modulus matrix

in nonlinear stages of deformations by a yield func-

tion equation. This function in the three-dimensional

(3-D) stress space ``r

n

, s

s

, s

t

'' could be based on Mohr

Coulomb yield criteria and a bounding tensile strength

value. It could be shown that the ow rule for slip is now

nonassociative. In this context, Hohberg [4] studied the

softening behavior or the damage to dierent compo-

nents of shear strength by multimechanism plasticity

theory. However, actual or safe application of this

model to dynamic analysis of arch dams requires ex-

tended studies. The elasto-plastic modulus matrix can

404 M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420

thus be written for isotropic joint element without

softening behavior as

D

ep

=

k

s0

k

s0

lmk

n0

k

n0

mb

s

k

n0

mb

t

k

n0

lb

s

k

n0

lmk

n0

b

2

t

k

s0

b

s

b

t

k

s0

lb

t

k

n0

b

s

b

t

k

s0

lmk

n0

b

2

s

k

s0

2

4

3

5

;

(2)

where l is the coecient of friction, m, a quantity equal

or less than l in the equation of plastic potential func-

tion, b

s

= cosc, b

t

= sinc, where c = arctan(s

t

=s

s

) is the

angle between the tangential stress components in the s

and t perpendicular directions on the joint surface [4].

k

n0

and k

s0

correspond to undamaged joint properties.

In Eq. (2), the interface stresses can be represented as

functions of dierent variables in the following manner:

r

n

= r

n

(u; v; l; m; k

n0

; k

s0

); (3)

s = s(u; v; l; m; k

n0

; k

s0

): (4)

Here, u stands for both u

s

and u

t

as s stands for s

s

and s

t

. Therefore, the form of matrix D

ep

could now be

modied into an equivalent diagonalized form as the

modulus matrix D still implying coupling between

shear and normal forces adequately. Typical couplings

between physical parameters r

n

, s, v, and u are shown in

Fig. 2 for one-dimensional (1-D) joint laboratory ob-

servations [4].

Considering the nature of arch dam contraction

joints and based on engineering intuition, the more in-

uential parameters including the joint initial tensile

strength F

t

, joint asperity height D

n

, and joint cohesion

c, are chosen and taken into consideration in a similar

way as expressed above, and thus,

r

n

= k

n

(u; v; F

t

; k

n0

)v; (5)

s = k

s

(v; l; c; D

n

; r

n

; k

s0

)u; (6)

or

r = [D[d: (7)

Path-dependent stiness functions k

s

, k

n

(later on

called joint stiness coecients) are dened later. It is

important to note that such presentation of a nonasso-

ciative elasto-plastic relationship does not overlook its

coupled and nonsymmetric nature and is eectively

serving similar to the original full matrix form of rela-

tionship. Thus, the nonsymmetric form of equations is

avoided without losing consistency. Further, it is well

understood that unlike concrete mass cracks, softening

for a joint is quite abrupt, for both shear and tensile

failure modes.

After studying the contraction joints response of

concrete arch dams to static and dynamic loads and the

related experimental works done so far in this context,

the following assumptions are considered for the joint

constitutive law:

1. The joints have zero or small initial tensile strength.

2. Normal stiness coecient k

n

, and normal stress r

n

,

will vanish after joint opening (or crack mode-I),

but tangential stiness coecient k

s

will decrease in

Fig. 1. Joint element with zero thickness: (a) element geometry, (b) element geometry, local and global coordinates, and (c) iso-

parametric coordinate system.

Fig. 2. Observed joint behavior in normal and tangential dis-

placements where s

u

is the ultimate shear strength, s

s

, the shear

stress, m, the joint dilatancy and r

n

, the compressive stress.

M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420 405

steps with joint opening. At this stage, the joint un-

dergoes elasto-plastic deformations.

3. While the joint opening exceeds a specied limit D

n

tangential stress and the tangential stiness will dis-

appear.

4. If shear stress for an intact joint is less than the shear

strength (as provided by cohesion and friction ac-

cording to Coulombs relation), then the joint will

have elastic tangential displacements, otherwise after

a shear failure (or crack mode-II) and loss of shear

strength, joint will have a perfectly plastic state.

5. The value of joint dilatation is assumed to be equal to

zero.

6. After the joint closes, friction will be activated against

slippage. In this manner, the joint behaves elastically

or in an elasto-plastic manner with coupling shear

and normal displacements.

7. The joint surfaces have isotropic properties.

8. The joint shear failure will be followed by elimination

of shear strength. However, upon re-loading, a resid-

ual shear strength as provided by a reduced friction

coecient will arise.

9. Upon any type of joint failure, tensile strength will be

lost, and shear stiness is reduced.

The above elaborated joint model, namely the

simplied discrete crack joint (SDCJ) model for nu-

merical computations is introduced in Fig. 3ad with

examples of dierent load paths and scenarios. In this

gure, the following reduction factors (or softening para-

meters) are assigned to the joint after or during joint

opening or joint slippage: r is the permanent reduction

factor for friction coecient after shear failure, m, the

permanent reduction factor for shear stiness after

shear failure, and n, the temporary reduction factor for

shear stiness after joint opening less than shear key

height.

These reduction factors or softening parameters

along with other properties of the joint, such as tensile

strength F

t

, cohesion c, friction coecient l, asperity

height D

n

, have to be decided through experimental or

design specication examinations.

With reference to assumptions 2, 3 and 6 for the joint

constitutive law and Fig. 3d, the coupling between shear

and normal displacements have been fully considered in

static and dynamic nonlinear analyses.

Fig. 3. Relation between stresses and normal or tangential displacements. (a) Normal displacement: (1) Tensile fracture and (2) joint

opening exceeding the shear key height. (b) Constitutive law for joint in shear: (0) loading, (1) shear fracture, (2) shear unloading, (3)

new shear fracture, (4) new loading and (5) new shear fracture. (c) Subsequent yield surface for joint damage. (d) Shear and tensile

fractures with coupling: (0) shear loading in tension, (1) reduction of shear stiness with partial joint opening, (2) shear unloading in

compression, (3) complete joint opening, (4) shear loading in compression, (5) shear fracture, (6) shear loading, (7) complete slip in

tension and (8) shear unloading.

406 M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420

The model, although seemingly simple to apply, is

novel, new and practically similar to fuzzy approaches,

which deals with quite complicated problems consis-

tently.

2.2. Reservoir mathematical model

The governing equation for uid domain is the

Helmholtz equation for hydrodynamic pressure:

\

2

p =

1

C

2

p; (8)

where p is the hydrodynamic pressure, and C, the

acoustic wave velocity in water. The above equation

implies small displacements of invicid compressible uid

with irrotational motion. Water compressibility has a

signicant inuence on the uidstructure interaction

for a wide range of ratio of natural frequencies of

structure to uid domain, including the case of higher

and stier dams [9]. Thus, for general applicability and

completeness of the damreservoir formulation, one

needs to include the reservoir water compressibility.

Boundary conditions are expressed as

op

oz

1

g

p = 0 (9)

for the reservoir-free surface,

op

on

=

1

bC

_ p (10)

for the reservoir bottom partial absorption,

op

on

=

1

C

_ p (11)

for the reservoir upstream face radiation of acoustic

waves, and

op

on

= qa

ns

(12)

for the interaction boundary between dam and reservoir.

In the above equations, z is the vertical coordinate, b,

the acoustic impedance ratio of rock to water, n, the

vector perpendicular to the boundary, q, the mass den-

sity of water, g, the gravitational acceleration, and a

ns

,

the acceleration of dam upstream face in the normal

direction. Here, we have assumed that the hydrody-

namic waves satisfy the 1-D wave propagation equation

(11), through the upstream reservoir near-eld trunca-

tion surface. This boundary, sometimes known as the

Sommerfeld or viscous boundary, performs well in time

domain analysis when applied suciently far from the

structure. It is applicable only if compressibility is in-

cluded [10].

The above equations along with the governing

equation for the structure would lead to a simultaneous

dierential equations set for the coupled damreservoir

system. These equations are discretized by the nite el-

ement method in a standard way similar to that of Ref.

[11]. To avoid prohibitively high number of nonsym-

metric equations with large bandwidth, the staggering

solution method [11] is employed. Here, the displace-

ment and the pressure elds are solved alternatively in

each time step to achieve ``inter-domain compatibility''

or convergence.

3. Computer implementations

The SDCJ is established to study contraction joints

in static and dynamic analysis of arch dams. In this

model, two types of cracks (or failure modes) are dened

at each Gauss point of joint elements, i.e., crack mode-I

(or crack I) due to tensile failure, and crack mode-II (or

crack II) due to shear failure. A state parameter (ITEN)

describes the joint behavior in the following manner:

ITEN = 0 for intact joint, ITEN = 1 for crack-I in

compression, ITEN = 2 for crack-I in tension with v P

D

n

, ITEN = 3 for crack-I in tension with v < D

n

,

ITEN = 4 for crack-II in compression with s Ps

u

(s

u

,

being the joint shear strength), ITEN = 5 for crack-II in

compression with s < s

u

, and nally ITEN = 6 for

crack-II in tension.

In each load step, the joint incremental stresses in

local coordinate system will be calculated by the relation

dr = Ddd, where dd is the relative displacement incre-

ment for the current iteration, and D is a variable con-

sistently diagonalized matrix dened by Eqs. (5)(7), as

expressed in Fig. 4. It is similar to the elastic matrix D

e

of Eq. (1), but the stiness coecients k

s

and k

n

of Eqs.

(5) and (6) are determined by Table 1, regarding the

current state parameter (ITEN) of the corresponding

Gauss point. In this table, k

s0

and k

n0

are initial stiness

coecients.

According to the above descriptions, a owchart

summarizing the constitutive behavior of the joint is

established as shown in Fig. 4 and implemented in a

computer program. The joint quadrature order is pro-

posed to be three.

4. Numerical results and discussion

4.1. Preliminary example

The proposed constitutive law has been examined by

some simple examples of jointed systems.

4.1.1. Cantilever beam with roller support

Dynamic analysis of a cantilever beam with roller

support is studied. A prismatic exural beam with one

xed and one moment resistant no-shear roller end

M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420 407

support is modeled by four 20-node brick elements and

one joint element as visualized in Fig. 5.

In order to represent correctly the roller support

behavior by joint element, the following reasonable

values are assumed. Joint initial stiness coecients

k

s0

= 0:0, k

n0

= 9:81 10

12

N/m

3

, tensile strength F

t

=

9:81 10

10

N/m

2

, cohesion c = 9:81 10

10

N/m

2

. By

adopting these quantities, the joint element will behave

like a roller but has an elastic normal deformation

without separation or opening.

This exural beam is analyzed for a base acceleration

of sine half-wave with an amplitude equal to 20 m/s

2

in

Fig. 4. Flowchart of the SDCJ model: determination of new D or ITEN, based on current a, r and ITEN for each time step (or loading

step), each iteration, in each element at each Gauss point (a: nodal displacement vector, r: stress vector of one Gauss point).

408 M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420

the transverse (vertical) direction for 0.2 s. Mass density

of the beam material is equal to q = 2400:0 kg/m

3

and

no damping is assumed.

This problem is re-analyzed by modeling the exural

beam as a 1-D frame element in the y-direction with

appropriate support nodes, and using classical theory

available in current commercial nite element programs.

Time history results of the two approaches have been

drawn for displacement and bending moment at the

roller support proving desirable similarity as shown in

Fig. 6.

4.2. Earthquake response of Morrow Point arch dam

The response results presented in this section are for

a well studied arch dam. It is the Morrow Point dam

located on the Gunnison river in Colorado, USA. This

dam is a 141.73 m high, approximately symmetric, single

centered arch dam. Detailed description of the geometry

of this dam is available in Ref. [12].

To limit the problem size, the dam and reservoir

system is assumed to be symmetric about the yz plane.

Moreover, the dam-foundation interaction is neglected.

The ground motion recorded at Taft Lincoln school

during the Kern County, California earthquake of 21

July 1952 is selected as the free-eld ground acceleration

(Fig. 7).

Fig. 6. Results of dynamic analysis for cantilever beam.

Table 1

Stiness coecients in matrix D

Stiness

coecient

Joint state parameter (ITEN)

Intact Tensile damage Shear damage

0 1 2 3 4 5 6

k

s

k

s0

k

s0

0 nk

s0

0 mk

s0

0

k

n

k

n0

k

n0

0 0 k

n0

k

n0

0

Fig. 5. Cantilever beam, example 4.1.1.

M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420 409

The ground motions acting in the stream (y), and the

vertical (z) directions are dened as the S69E and the

vertical components of the recorded ground motion re-

spectively. The nite element idealization of the system

have the following characteristics: modulus of elasticity

for concrete E = 2 10

10

N/m

2

, concrete Poissons ratio

m

c

= 0:2, concrete unit mass q

c

= 2400:0 kg/m

3

, and in-

ternal viscous damping ratio 0.05. Ten 22-node brick el-

ements and ten 16-node joint elements with a total

number of nodal points equal to 187 (Fig. 8) are employed

in the dam-body nite element model. Thus, three con-

traction joints are considered in a half-dam-body model.

Reservoir domain includes 40 27-node elements, with

a total number of pressure nodes equal to 495. Water

level elevation for both hydrostatic and hydrodynamic

pressure calculations is equal to the dam crest elevation

(141.73 m). Acoustic wave velocity in water is C, 1440.0

m/s. The acoustic impedance ratio of rock to water is,

b = 3.

After the literature review on contraction joints,

properties of the joint elements adopted for contraction

joint with shear keys, namely the ``original'' properties

of joints, are as follows: joint initial shear stiness co-

ecient k

s0

= 1 10

9

N/m

3

, initial normal stiness co-

ecient k

n0

= 2 10

9

N/m

3

, coecient of friction

l = 0:9, cohesion c = 1:5 10

6

N/m

2

, tensile strength

Fig. 8. Damreservoir nite element model of Morrow Point arch dam.

Fig. 7. Original ground motion of Taft Lincoln California

Earthquake of 21 July 1952.

410 M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420

F

t

= 1 10

6

(N/m

2

), reduction factor for friction coef-

cient due to shear failure r = 0:9, reduction factor for

shear stiness due to joint opening n = 0:7, reduction

factor for shear stiness due to shear failure m = 0:2,

shear key height of joint surface D

n

= 0:5 m.

A time step Dt = 0:005 s, with the full Newton

Raphson nonlinear solution algorithm is used. There-

fore, the structural stiness matrix has to be updated in

each iteration. The classical Newmark method with

standard parameters (0.25 and 0.5) is adopted for the

time integration of the system of equations of motion.

An explicit RungeKutta stress increment computation

is applied using half the value of strain increment to

determine the D matrix from the owchart of Fig. 4 in

each iteration. This ensures the calculated total stresses

not to fall beyond the margin of the yield surface.

Convergence tolerance for nonlinear displacement iter-

ations is based on the energy norms dened as

[E(i)[=[E(1)[ = 1:0 10

12

. For pressure iterations in the

staggering scheme, convergence is based on the pressure

norm as [[Dp[[=[[p[[ = 0:001. Maximum number of iter-

ations for pressure is 8, and for displacement is 10. In-

tegration order for all elements is 3 except for the dam

thickness direction for which 2 is deemed as sucient.

4.2.1. Verication under medium ground motion

In order to verify the numerical results, Morrow

Point damreservoir system was analyzed by program

ANSYS ANSYS Ver.5.0 [13]. Its corresponding model consists of

ten 20-node brick elements (SOLID95) for the dam, 59

2-node 1-D joint elements (CONTAC52) for contraction

joints and 80 8-node elements (FLUID30) for the uid

domain. None of the available versions of the above

program (including recent ones) has an account on ei-

ther cohesion or initial tensile strength for our purpose.

Also, interaction between shear and tensile failures due

to shear keys height could not be considered by dierent

existing versions of this program. The joint elements

CONTAC52 stiness values are obtained from the k

s0

,

and k

n0

values described above, multiplied by the trib-

utary area of each joint nodal point. Due to ANSYS ANSYS

limitations, here the joint properties have to be modied

for both the programs as follows hereafter. This set of

joint properties will be called ``modied'' properties of

joints. Tensile strength, cohesion and friction coecient

of joints are assumed as F

t

= 0:0, c = 0:0, and l =

respectively, implying no shear failure except when

joints open. Shear keys height is D

n

= 0:0, and reduction

factors for joints failure are m = r = 1:0, and n = 0 (no

shear interlock after joint opening).

The Taft ground motion records with the peak hori-

zontal acceleration normalized to 0.2g' are taken as the

free-eld input excitation for the initial comparative

studies of the two codes.

Static analysis of the system under self-weight and

the hydrostatic pressure was carried out to establish the

initial condition for dynamic analysis. Sequentially, dy-

namic analysis of the system was performed by both

authors and the ANSYS ANSYS programs. The history of dis-

placement in the stream direction of nodal point 186

in the middle of dam crest and the history of hydro-

dynamic pressure at nodal point 31 in the mid-height of

dam upstream face are shown in Figs. 9 and 10. The

history of normal relative displacement v, normal stress

Fig. 9. History of displacement in the stream direction at nodal point 186 with maximum ground acceleration equal to 0.2g.

M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420 411

r

n

, and resultant tangential stress s, for the Gauss

point 6 of joint element 8 below the crest, are shown

in Figs. 1113. For this level of acceleration, only three

upper joint elements encountered shear or tensile failure.

Maximum opening for joint elements is still small and

equal to 0.6 cm (at joint element 10 at time 8.405 s).

The comparison denotes that the results of the two

programs are close to each other. Most of the dierences

Fig. 10. History of hydrodynamic pressure at nodal point 31 with maximum ground acceleration equal to 0.2g.

Fig. 11. History of normal relative displacement (or joint opening) for the Gauss point 6 of joint element 8 with maximum ground

acceleration equal to 0.2g.

412 M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420

are due to local behavior of joints, i.e., joint-opening,

joint normal and shear stresses. Such discrepancies are

generally attributed to dierent nite element modeling

characteristics as ANSYS ANSYS uses a 1-D one-to-one contact

elements rather than the 3-D surface contact elements

used by the authors. The spurious hydrodynamic pres-

sure obtained by ANSYS ANSYS in the rst seconds of motion is

not appreciated (Fig. 10).

Fig. 12. History of normal stress for the Gauss point 6 of joint element 8 with maximum ground acceleration equal to 0.2g.

Fig. 13. History of resultant tangential stress for the Gauss point 6 of joint element 8 with maximum ground acceleration equal to 0.2g.

M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420 413

4.2.2. Verication under strong ground motion

Using the modied joint properties again, but under

0.5g ground acceleration records, another comparative

study is carried out between the authors algorithm and

that of ANSYS ANSYS. Its results are shown in Figs. 1418.

There is an overall agreement between the two pro-

grams. However, as seen in Figs. 17 and 18, according to

the present model analysis, from about the time of 7.5 s,

Fig. 14. History of displacement in the stream direction at nodal point 186 with maximum ground acceleration equal to 0.5g.

Fig. 15. History of hydrodynamic pressure at nodal point 31 with maximum ground acceleration equal to 0.5g.

414 M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420

joint element 8 undergoes complete tensile and shear

release as a result of large shift and damage in the dam

body while ANSYS ANSYS still shows small uctuations of both

stresses beyond this time. This seems to be an outcome

of the initial contact stress distribution at the interface

which is rather dierent for the two models.

Fig. 16. History of normal relative displacement (or joint opening) for the Gauss point 6 of joint element 8 with maximum ground

acceleration equal to 0.5g.

Fig. 17. History of normal stress for the Gauss point 6 of joint element 8 with maximum ground acceleration equal to 0.5g.

M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420 415

4.2.3. Nonlinear versus linear solution for original model

under strong ground motion

Further analysis is carried out with the original joint

properties input data described above as the nonlinear

model, versus a fully linear (without joints) model. Other

properties of dam and reservoir model are similar as

before. This time, the peak horizontal acceleration of

ground is again set to 0.5g to visualize the ability of the

Fig. 18. History of resultant tangential stress for the Gauss point 6 of joint element 8 with maximum ground acceleration equal to 0.5g.

Fig. 19. History of linear versus nonlinear displacements in the stream direction at nodal point 186 with maximum ground acceleration

equal to 0.5g (according to the present model).

416 M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420

methodology to predict the inuence and damages due

to very strong earthquakes. Figs. 19 and 20 illustrate the

crest displacement responses and the corresponding

hydrodynamic pressures on the upstream mid-height

point of the dam in the cases of nonlinear (jointed) and

the linear (monolithic) models of the dam body. This

could well prove the signicance of inclusion of con-

traction joint failures in the dam response as the dam

body is pronouncedly shifted upstream up to about 8 cm

permanently. At the same time, maximum dynamic

displacement is magnied by about 50% when joint

failures are admitted. In this case, when the ground

motion is terminated, all the joint elements other than

elements 1 and 2 have encountered shear, or tensile, or a

combination of both types of damages.

Generally, joint opening happens for joint elements

on the plane of symmetry while combined joint opening

and slippage happen for other joint elements. Maximum

shear deformations (tangential displacements) for the

joints which experienced shear failure according to the

present nonlinear model, is shown in Table 2.

It is evident that such values of shear deformations

are signicant and could not be neglected during very

strong ground motions in contrary to what was assumed

in previous works [3]. Maximum dam crest displacement

in the stream direction is equal to 34.4 cm for node 186,

and maximum opening for joint elements is equal to 4.9

cm (joint element 10 on the plane of symmetry, at time

7.245 s) which is still less than the assumed shear key

height. Maximum tensile and compressive principal

stresses induced in the dam body are equal to 9.8 and

14.6 MPa, respectively. Maximum tensile principal

stresses are more than the dynamic strength values of

mass concrete, and thus the concrete mass material

proves to behave in a nonlinear way under tension as a

result of such a strong ground motion. It is interesting to

note that compression is still well in the elastic range.

4.2.4. Joint properties parametric study

Lastly, a parametric study is carried out to observe

the sensitivity of dam responses to some joint properties

under the latter load and with the adopted model. By

changing a single parameter of joints (either joint initial

tensile strength, F

t

or joint cohesion, c) while other

properties are constant, the stream-direction maximum

Table 2

Maximum shear displacement for joint elements

a

Joint element

number

3 5 6 8 9

Maximum shear

displacement (cm)

3.1 2.4 17.9 10.2 36.9

a

At Gauss points.

Fig. 20. History of linear/nonlinear solution-based hydrodynamic pressures at nodal point 31 with maximum ground acceleration

equal to 0.5g (according to the present model).

M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420 417

displacement of nodal point 186 (upper curve in both

Fig. 21a and b) and the maximum opening of joint el-

ement 10 on the dam crest (lower curve in the same

gures) are computed. It is interesting that for a wide

range of variation for both cohesion and joint tensile

strength the general response is not much aected.

However, the local stress distributions proved not to

follow this insensitivity.

Fig. 21. Sensitivity study of maxima of displacement and joint opening with respect to (a) joint tensile strength and (b) joint cohesion.

418 M.T. Ahmadi et al. / Computers and Structures 79 (2001) 403420

5. Conclusions and future works

After reviewing previous researches on contraction

joints behavior in dynamic response analysis of arch

dams, a discrete crack joint model namely SDCJ, is

proposed based on the most signicant mechanical

features of arch dam joints. Full damreservoir inter-

action with upstream radiation and reservoir bottom

partial absorption of pressure waves along with surface

gravity wave boundaries are satised. Water compress-

ibility which has a major role in certain realistic cases of

such systems is also included. It is well understood from

the results presented in this paper that vertical con-

traction joints play an important role in response

analysis of concrete arch dams in case of very strong

earthquakes; a conclusion in agreement with other re-

searchers ndings. Eciency of the proposed joint

model is promising for earthquake safety evaluation of

concrete arch dams. It is a powerful model which takes

into account all the major factors and parameters af-

fecting the joints of arch dams such as joint initial ten-

sile strength, joint cohesion, joint friction coecient,

shear key height, joint shear softening after damages,

and most important, the coupling between joint opening

and joint slippage similar to nonassociated plasticity

theory. Besides, the model has physically meaningful

parameters which are presumably more easier to deter-

mine. It also does not suer convergence and solution

deciencies related to complicated mathematical non-

associated plasticity models proposed so far. Although

the shear resistance is based on MohrCoulomb rela-

tionship, but the model is versatile enough to accom-

modate other laws as well. Finally, it is easy to

implement in standard codes.

By applying the new model to a large existing arch

dam, it is observed that under very strong ground mo-

tion, vertical joints generally encounter shear and/or

tensile failure, and cause redistribution of internal

forces. For earthquakes in the stream or vertical direc-

tion and under symmetric loading, joints on the mid-

plane generally have normal opening or tensile failure,

and joints on the quarter section of arch span show

shear failure. Joints opening magnitude is generally

about a few centimeters and does not seem to exceed

regular shear keys height at geometrically similar sites.

However, sucient strength for shear keys is needed,

otherwise their failure would endanger the integrity and

stability of arch dams against severe earthquake. Careful

implementation of appropriate shear keys for vertical

joints causes increased strength and stability. It is

claimed that shear keys supply the cohesion of joints

eciently. They also provide an interlock shear-carrying

system to help integrity of the jointed structure after

joint opening. Unlike concrete compressive stresses,

tensile stresses generally enter into the nonlinear range

for high intensity earthquakes with the peak acceleration

of about 0.5g, and nonlinear material laws for concrete

fracture might be necessary to consider. In order to in-

crease the accuracy of computations, more precise

boundary conditions for the reservoir boundaries and an

inclusion of the damfoundation interaction is desirable.

Additional study together with laboratory experiments

is necessary for determining the physical properties of

contraction joints. The values of cohesion, friction co-

ecient, and joint softening parameters should be de-

termined regarding properties of concrete material and

shear keys geometry. An extensive parametric study on

the inuence of shear keys is the subject of future re-

searches of the authors using the powerful methodology

introduced here.

Acknowledgements

Parts of this research was made possible while the

rst author had his sabbatical in the IBK, Swiss Federal

Institute of Technology, ETH-Zurich. The supports of

International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and

Seismology, and Moshanir Consultant Engineers, Teh-

ran, Iran is also greatly appreciated.

References

[1] Dowling MJ, Hall JF. Nonlinear seismic analysis of arch

dams. J Engng Mech ASCE 1989;115(4):76889.

[2] Beer G. An isoparametric joint/interface element for nite

element analysis. Int J Num Meth Engng 1985;21:585600.

[3] Fenves GL, Mojtahedi S, Reimer RB. Eect of contraction

joints on earthquake response of an arch dam. J Struct

Engng ASCE 1992;118(4):103955.

[4] Hohberg JM. Seismic arch dam analysis with full joint

nonlinearity. Proc Int Conf Dam Fracture, Denver,

Colorado, 1991. p. 6175.

[5] Noruziaan B. Nonlinear seismic analysis of concrete arch

dams, PhD Thesis, Department of Civil and Environmen-

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[6] Lot V. Comparison of discrete crack and elasto-plastic

models in nonlinear dynamic analysis of arch dams. Dam

Engng 1996;VII(1):65110.

[7] Ahmadi MT, Razavi S. A three-dimensional joint opening

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[8] TNO Building and Construction, Displacement Analyser

DIANA DIANA ver 7.2, January 2000, Netherlands.

[9] Fok KL, Chopra AK. Water compressibility in earthquake

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[10] Zienkiewicz OC, et al. The Sommerfeld radiation condi-

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[11] Zienkiewicz OC, Chan AHC. Coupled problems and their

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[12] US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation,

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