Design considerations and behavior of reinforced concrete core dams during construction and impounding

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Reinforced concrete core dams can be an alternative solution to conventional dam designs either for permanent impounded reservoirs or flood protection and flood-retaining dams. Dams of this type have been constructed in Austria for various reasons and have shown good behavior during operation. For a better understanding of the load-deformation behavior of this type of dams during construction and impounding, numerical simulations were carried out. The interaction between the thin reinforced concrete core and the dam fill material as well as the influence of fill material properties and other main parameters, such as the roughness of the concrete surface and bedding conditions of the concrete core, on the deformation behavior of dams were examined. The results show that high compressive stress is mainly induced by arching effects in the dam body during construction. During the reservoir impounding, the compressive stresses in the core are reduced significantly while the bending moment in the core footing increases. The results also show that the maximum bending moments occur at the core footing and can be significantly reduced by design improvements. The findings in this study can provide general design recommendations for small dams with a central concrete core as a sealing blanket.




Tschernutter, P., & Kainrath, A. (2016). Design considerations and behavior of reinforced concrete core dams during construction and impounding. Water Science and Engineering, 9(3), 212–218.

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