Numerical analysis of nonlinear dynamic behavior of earth dams

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Abstract

A numerical study is conducted to investigate the dynamic behavior of earth dams. The numerical investigation employs a fully nonlinear dynamic finite difference analysis incorporating a simple elastic perfectly plastic constitutive model to describe the stress-strain response of the soil and the Rayleigh damping to increase the level of hysteretic damping. The extended Masing rules are implemented into the constitutive model to explain more accurately the soil response under general cyclic loading. The soil stiffness and hysteretic damping change with loading history. The procedures for calibrating the constructed numerical model with centrifuge test data and also a real case history are explained. For the latter, the Long Valley (LV) earth dam subjected to the 1980 Mammoth Lake earthquake as a real case-history is analyzed and the obtained numerical results are compared with the real measurements at the site in both the time and frequency domains. Relatively good agreement is observed between computed and measured quantities. It seems that the Masing rules combined with a simple elasto-plastic model gives reasonable numerical predictions. Afterwards, a comprehensive parametric study is carried out to identify the effects of dam height, input motion characteristics, soil behavior, strength of the shell materials and dam reservoir condition on the dynamic response of earth dams. Three real earthquake records with different levels and peak acceleration values (PGAs) are used as input motions. The results show that the crest acceleration decreases when the dam height increases and no amplification is observed. Further, more inelastic behavior and more earthquake energy absorption are observed in higher dams.