, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 25-34
Date: 31 Mar 2012

Influence of pressure and density on the rheological properties of rockfills

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Long-term deformations of rockfill dams can be related to the type of dam, the pre-compaction achieved during the construction of the dam, the history of loading events, the rheological properties of the rockfill material used, the seepage behavior caused by defects of the sealing, the interactions of the dam building with the foundation, and the hydrothermal phenomena of the stressed rockfill material. The present paper investigates the rheological properties of coarse grained rockfill materials using a hypoplastic constitutive model. Particular attention is paid to wetting deformation under different deviatoric loading states and pre-compactions. To quantify the state of weathering a so-called “solid hardness” is used in the sense of a continuum description. It is shown that an appropriate modeling of wetting deformations requires a unified description of the interaction at least between the state of weathering, the stress state, the density and the rate of deformation. The results obtained from the numerical simulations are compared with available experimental data for a rockfill material used in Xiaolangdi earth dam.

Erich Bauer is a Professor at the Institute of Applied Mechanics of Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria, Europe. He studied Civil Engineering at Graz University of Technology, wrote his Ph.D. thesis at the Institute of Soil Mechanics and Rock Mechanics of the University of Karlsruhe in Germany under the supervision of Prof. G Gudehus and Prof. D Kolymbas and finished his doctoral degree with distinction in 1992. He has held a habilitation in Mechanics since 2002. From 1985 to 1990 he carried out research projects in Europe and USA using the New Austrian Tunnelling Method. Since 1990 he has been the project leader of several scientific-technical co-operations with universities in Europe and China and has initiated, chaired or co-organized a series of workshops and international conferences on the long-term behavior of dams. His expertise lies in the constitutive modelling of granular materials like sand, gravel, un-weathered and weathered rockfill materials, strain localization, grain crushing, interface modelling, creep and stress relaxation.