Volume 17, Issue 5 (2017)                   MCEJ 2017, 17(5): 109-122 | Back to browse issues page

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SALARI M, Akhtarpour A, ekramifard A. hydraulic fracturing in inclined clay core of a high rockfill dam, located in a narrow valley. MCEJ 2017; 17 (5) :109-122
URL: http://mcej.modares.ac.ir/article-16-6706-en.html
1- ferdowsi university of mashhad
2- , akhtarpour@um.ac.ir
3- Ferdowsi university of mashhad
Abstract:   (5344 Views)
From a statistical perspective, internal erosion and piping are from the main causes of failure in earth-rockfill dams. If these dams were located in a narrow valley, the steep slopes of the valley walls can cause increasing in stress transfer in the core. Therefore, the occurrence of hydraulic fracturing phenomenon in this kind of dams is more probable. Bidvaz dam is an earth-rockfill dam with a thin inclined clay core. The dam is located in the Northeast of Iran with a distance of twenty kilometers from the Esfrayen city. It has a height of 66 meters from the foundation and constructed in a narrow valley with a width of 40 meters on river bed and a wall slope of more than 60 degrees relative to horizontal direction. After about seven and a half years of starting first filling, a subsidence was observed at the upstream slope surface of this dam. The initial assessments, based on the data recorded in instruments which were installed inside the body and dam foundation, show at the lower level of the core and adjacent to left abutment, pore water pressure gradually has been increasing and finally reached to the reservoir water pressure, and at the same time effective stress with abnormal rate reduced to zero. These observations confirm the occurrence of internal erosion in the lower levels of the core adjacent to the left abutment. Due to the steep valley walls and noticeable difference of compressibility properties between the core and shell materials, it is expected occurring significant stress transfer in the core especially adjacent to the valley walls. Therefore, the hydraulic fracturing can be considered as a main cause initiating the process of internal erosion in this dam. The main objective of this paper is to assess the validity of this hypothesis. To achieve this purpose, this paper used a three-dimensional numerical model to simulate the behavior of the dam during construction and reservoir filling. This model has improved in the environment of a finite difference software, called FLAC3D. In the formulation of numerical model, the flow and mechanical equations have been solved simultaneously. The 3D model has been calibrated based on the recorded data from the instruments. With using a number valid suggested theoretical and empirical relationships, hydraulic fracturing potential have been calculated and the contour distribution of fracturing pressure at upstream side of the core has been presented. Also, the contour distributions of factor of safety against occurrence hydraulic fracturing phenomenon were determined for all of the suggested relationships at the upstream side of the core. The findings show that, as expected, the steep slopes of valley walls and the difference of the compressibility properties of the core and the shell materials caused significant stress transfer at lower parts of the core and adjacent to the valley walls. Moreover, the values of factors of safety against occurrence hydraulic fracturing phenomenon in upstream side of the core are less than unity near the walls. So, the hydraulic fracturing phenomenon is the one of the main causes initiating the process of internal erosion in the core.
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Article Type: Original Manuscript | Subject: Earthquake
Received: 2016/06/30 | Accepted: 2017/03/13 | Published: 2017/12/22

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