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Large-deformation finite element analysis of the interaction between concrete cut-off walls and high-plasticity clay in an earth core dam

Xiang Yu (School of Hydraulic Engineering and The State Key Laboratory of Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Degao Zou (School of Hydraulic Engineering and The State Key Laboratory of Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Xianjing Kong (School of Hydraulic Engineering and The State Key Laboratory of Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Long Yu (School of Hydraulic Engineering and The State Key Laboratory of Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Article publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

A large, uneven settlement that is unfavourable to dam safety can occur between a concrete cut-off wall and the high-plasticity clay of earth core dam built on alluviums. This issue has been often studied using the small-strain finite element (FE) method in previous research. This paper aims to research the interaction behaviour between a concrete cut-off wall and high-plasticity clay using large-deformation FE analyses.

Design/methodology/approach

The re-meshing and interpolation technique with a small-strain (RITSS) method was performed using an independently developed program and adopted for large-deformation FE analyses, and a suitable element size for the high-plasticity clay region was suggested. The layered construction process of an earth core dam built on thick alluviums was simulated using the RITSS method incorporating a hyperbolic model for soil.

Findings

The RITSS method is an effective technique for simulating the soil–structure interaction during dam construction. The RITSS analysis predicted a higher maximum principle stress of the concrete cut-off wall and higher stress levels in the high-plasticity clay region than small-strain FE analysis.

Originality/value

A practical method for large-deformation FE analysis was advised and was used for the first time to study the interaction between a concrete cut-off wall and high-plasticity clay in dam engineering. Large deformation in the high-plasticity clay was handled using the RITSS method. Moreover, the penetration process of the concrete cut-off wall into the high-plasticity clay was captured using a favourable element shape and mesh density.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51379028, 51421064 and 51678113). These financial supports are gratefully appreciated.

Citation

Yu, X., Zou, D., Kong, X. and Yu, L. (2017), "Large-deformation finite element analysis of the interaction between concrete cut-off walls and high-plasticity clay in an earth core dam", Engineering Computations, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 1126-1148. https://doi.org/10.1108/EC-04-2016-0118

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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