Numerical effect of seismic force on a medium arch dam

Milad Khatib, Melissa Loutfi, Hani Hamdan & Wahib Arairo

This blog post was written by the author of a recent Water Practice & Technology paper and summarises the key features of the research and its implications.

I graduated in 1998 as a civil engineer from The Beirut Arab University, Lebanon. After 7 years, I obtained my Master’s degree with a final project entitled “The effect of shear connectors on the behavior of composite beams”.

In 2018, I got my Ph.D. in structural and geotechnical engineering. After this year I started to participate, in producing new topics, which discuss several engineering problems, and suggested solutions.

Recently, we published an article within Water Practices & Technology - “Numerical Effect of Veil Injection on a Gravity Dam Using Grouting Intensity Number ‘GIN’ Method". Nowadays, Water Practices & Technology accepted our new topic that I would like to share with you “Numerical effect of seismic force on a medium arch dam”.

Lower San Fernando Dam in the United States was the first dam to break due to liquefaction under earthquake loading conditions. Lower San Fernando Dam failed due to liquefaction during the 1972 San Fernando Earthquake [Poulos, 1988]. The Fujinuma Dams failure is a classic example of a dam failure caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, on the Japanese coast [Pradel, 2013].

The problem is, if you live downstream of a dam, you should be warned that the dam might fall. You may not have sufficient warning time to get away, especially if the earthquake disrupts power and communication infrastructure.

Twenty-eight rivers start on the western side of Lebanon Mountain and run into the Mediterranean through deep gorges. Aside from that, six rivers flow in the Beqaa Canyon. All Lebanon Rivers are impassable. Several dams were constructed on some of these rivers. Mseilha Dam, one of the executed Lebanon medium arch dams, had various issues during and after construction.

Several questions should be answered:

  • What about, if an earthquake hits such a dam, and it was not taken into consideration (for any reason) during the design or construction phase?
  • How to analyze this catastrophic problem and prevent the losses on different levels (Humans life and economic way)?
  • How many analysis methods can be used to expect such a problem?
  • How can we simulate it numerically?

All these questions were clarified through this topic. The aim of this subject is to encourage the researchers to consider besides all the existing forces, the earthquake, during dam evaluation and planning for all dam forms.

The article can be read in full over on the Water Practice & Technology web page.

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