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Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473

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Computers and Geotechnics


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/compgeo

Review

Linear elastic and plastic-damage analyses of a concrete cut-off wall


constructed in deep overburden
Xiang Yu a, Xianjing Kong a,b,, Degao Zou a,b, Yang Zhou a,b, Zhiqiang Hu a,b
a
b

School of Hydraulic Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China


The State Key Laboratory of Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 8 December 2014
Received in revised form 29 May 2015
Accepted 31 May 2015
Available online 25 June 2015
Keywords:
Asphalt concrete core dam
Deep overburden
Concrete cut-off wall
Plastic-damage model
Damage degree

a b s t r a c t
Asphalt concrete core dams (ACCDs) are becoming more widely used worldwide. ACCDs with concrete
cut-off walls (for controlling foundation seepage) have been constructed in deep overburden. It is important to assess dam safety by analysing the stress and deformation behaviour of the concrete cut-off wall.
In this study, a 3D nite element (FE) procedure was developed to simulate the dam construction and
water impounding processes of an ACCD. Rockll/gravel materials were described using a Duncan
Chang model, and the interface between the concrete cut-off wall and the foundation gravel was
modelled using interfacial elements that follow a tangential hyperbolic stressstrain model. The linear
elastic and plastic-damage models were employed to model the concrete cut-off wall. The
stress-deformation behaviour and the damage distribution of the concrete cut-off wall were numerically
simulated and analysed. The results indicate that the plastic-damage model was more reliable than the
elastic model in describing the mechanical behaviour of the concrete cut-off wall. The plastic-damage
model can be used to evaluate the safety of concrete cut-off walls constructed in deep overburden.
2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Contents
1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Constitutive model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.1.
Plastic-damage model for concrete material . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.
Hyperbolic model for interface material . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.
DuncanChang model for rockfill/gravel material. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dam FE model and material parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.1.
Basic information about the dam case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.
FE mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3.
Material parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Results and discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.1.
Deformation behaviour of the concrete cut-off wall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.
Elastic analysis results of the concrete cut-off wall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.
Plastic-damage analyses of the concrete cut-off wall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.
Constructing the cut-off wall with plastic concrete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Corresponding author at: School of Hydraulic Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China.
E-mail address: kongxj@dlut.edu.cn (X. Kong).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compgeo.2015.05.015
0266-352X/ 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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X. Yu et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473

1. Introduction
In the past half-century, over one hundred asphalt concrete
core dams (ACCDs) have been built worldwide due to the
advanced waterproof and deformation-adaptive behaviour [1].
As evidenced by past studies [26], China is experienced in the
construction of ACCDs. A few ACCDs are over 100 m in height,
such as the Maoping Xi Dam [7] and the Yele Dam [8]. The
Quxue dam (on the Shuoqu River, Sichuan Province), which is
currently in the design stage, will be approximately 170 m tall
[9]. However, the rapid development of dams in China has
resulted in ACCDs being built on overburden. Table 1 lists
ACCDs that have been built on overburden in China [1012].
Because of this, foundation seepage control is an important issue
to address in ACCD construction.
A concrete cut-off wall is a popular and effective way to control
foundation seepage and is an indispensable component of an
impervious system. However, it is important to assess dam safety
by properly analysing the stress and deformation behaviour of
the concrete cut-off wall. Past studies have adopted linear elastic
models to describe the stressstrain relationship of concrete
cut-off walls [1317]. However, many testing results have indicated that concrete exhibits nonlinear behaviour, such as
multi-axial strength and strain-softening properties [1820],
which cannot be characterized by linear elastic models.
Moreover, a concrete cut-off wall built in deep overburden presents a complex 3D stress state due to the forces of the dam body,
the retained water and the foundation pressures. An advanced
model is required to accurately describe these variable features.
The nonlinear behaviour of concrete at the macroscopic level is
dependent on the formation of micro-cracks. Consequently, it is
important to simulate crack initiation and propagation in the analysis of concrete structures [21]. Hillerborg [22] proposed a theoretical crack model in which fracture energy [2325] was rst
introduced. The crack was assumed to form as the stress reached
sufcient strength. The fracture energy was applied to control
the propagation of the crack. A crack band model presented by
Banzant and Oh [26] modelled the fracture as a blunt smeared
crack band. The fracture energy, uniaxial strength and width of
the crack band were adopted to characterize the fracture properties. Lubliner et al. [27] presented a plastic-damage model (i.e.,
the Barcelona model) with consistent and physically relevant constitutive relations originating from plasticity theory and a scalar
damage variable based on the fracture energy used to represent
damage states. Lee and Fenves [28] proposed a modied
Barcelona model (i.e., the Lee-Fenves model) in which
multiple-hardening variables were applied to account for the different damage states. They also derived a return-mapping

Table 1
Basic information of ACCDs built on overburden.
Dam name

Basin location

Dam
height
(m)

Maximum overburden
thickness (m)

Yele

Nanya River, Sichuan


Province
Dadu River, Sichuan
Province
Tashkurghan River,
Xinjiang Province
Lasalle River, Tibetan
Province
Nenjiang River.
Mongolia province
Dadu River, Sichuan
Province

125.5

400

70.0

70

78.0

148

72.0

200

41.5

40

95.5

130

Longtoushi
Xiabandi
Pangduo
Nierji
Huangjinping

algorithm for a more convenient and efcient FE implementation


[29]. In recent years, the Lee-Fenves model has been widely used
in the FE damage analysis of concrete dams [3033]. This model
was also employed by Dakoulas [34] to study the state of concrete
slabs of concrete-faced rockll dams.
The water tightness of the concrete cut-off wall is important
with respect to the safety of dams built on deep overburden. A
realistic modelling of the nonlinear material behaviour is essential.
In this study, a linear elastic model and the Lee-Fenves model were
employed for the thorough analysis of a concrete cut-off wall on
the deep overburden of an ACCD. The dam/foundation deformation
and the contact conditions of the impervious structure were
numerically simulated. A 3D FE program, GEODYNA, developed
by Zou [35] and used in many studies [3640], was also adopted
for the multi-stage static analysis of ACCD construction and water
impounding. The constitutive models presented in Section 2
were incorporated into GEODYNA, and the performance of the
Lee-Fenves model and this program were validated. The
stress-deformation behaviour and the distribution of damage for
the concrete cut-off wall were analysed based on the numerical
simulations.
2. Constitutive model
2.1. Plastic-damage model for concrete material
The Lee-Fenves model was used to simulate the
damage-cracking of a concrete cut-off wall. The main components
of this model are introduced here; a full description can be found in
[21,28].
According to the theory of plasticity, the total strain e can be
decomposed into two parts:

e ee ep

where ee and ep are the elastic and the plastic components, respectively. Then, the stressstrain relationship can be written as

r 1  Dr 1  DE0 : e  ep

 is the effective stress, E0 is the undamaged elastic stiffness,


where r
and D is a scalar degradation damage variable that represents
decreased elastic stiffness.
Lubliner [27] assumed that the total stress strength can be
described by the plastic strain, and the relationship is presented as

r@ ep f @0 1 a@ expb@ ep  a@ exp2b@ ep 

where f@0 is initial yield strength, and a@ and b@ are constant. @ is a


state variable, @ = t indicates uniaxial tension state, and the state of
uniaxial compression is @ = c.
The damage variable j@ represents the damage states and is
dened as

j@

1
g@

Z
0

ep

r@ ep dep ; g @

r@ ep dep

where g@ is the dissipated energy density during the progression of


a micro-crack. The damage variable can also be derived from the
ratio of the fracture energy G@ [22] to the characteristic length l@
(i.e., g@ = G@/l@) [41].
Two additional damage parameters are dened to independently represent the tensile and compressive behaviours and are
only functions of j:

D@ j@ 1 


p d@ =b@
1
1 a@  /@ j@
;
a@

/@ j@ 1 a@ 2 a@ j@

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X. Yu et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473

In addition, a weight factor s is introduced to model the opening


and closing behaviour of the crack. The degradation damage variable D in Eq. (2) can be expressed by

D 1  1  Dc jc 1  sDt jt

The yield function is dened by the effective stress and is given


by

 ; j
Fr

p
1
^ max i  cj
aI1 3J 2 bjhr
1a

^
 max is the maximum
where a and b are dimensionless parameters, r
principal stress, I1 and J2 are stress invariants, c is the cohesion
strength, and hi denotes the Macaulay bracket function. The
DruckerPrager yield function and Mises yield function can be
obtained by setting b = 0 and a = b = 0, respectively. Fig. 1 shows
the relationship between the yield functions.The normality plastic
ow rule is applied as

e_ p k_ rr Ur ; Ur

p
2J 2 ap I1

where k is the plastic invariant, U is the plastic potential function,


and ap is a parameter of dilatancy.

This plastic-damage model was implemented as a component


in GEODYNA. To validate the performance of this advanced model
and the FE program, existing uniaxial and biaxial loading experiments [19] were simulated. As shown in Fig. 2, the simulated
results were compared with the reported results from the corresponding experiments. The numerical results from the simulations
generally agreed with the experimental data. The plastic-damage
model was able to accurately describe the stressstrain behaviour
of concrete under different stress states. The simulated results
showed that the plastic-damage constitutive model was successfully incorporated into the analysis and was adequate for the
plastic-damage analysis of concrete.
2.2. Hyperbolic model for interface material
Generally, the contact element should be set to simulate the
contact behaviour between two materials with distinctly different
deformation properties. In this study, the Goodman contact
element [42] was applied between two materials with distinct
behaviour (concrete cut-off wall and foundation gravel) to examine
the contact behaviour, especially slipping. The relationship
between the force and displacement of the contact element was
reported in [37,38]. Although many models have been developed
to express the stressstrain relationship of contact elements
[4348], the hyperbolic model proposed by Clough and Duncan
[43] was adopted for the Goodman contact element. The stiffness
in the tangential of the contact element can be expressed by a
few parameters obtained from shear tests. The detailed expressions of stiffness in different directions and the description of the
employed parameters of the hyperbolic model were reported in
[37,38].
2.3. DuncanChang model for rockll/gravel material
Although a general plastic model [4952] would be better to
simulate the behaviour of rockll/gravel, the lack of available testing data would be a disadvantage. The hyperbolic model proposed
by Duncan and Chang [53] has been used extensively in the study
of embankment dams to establish the pre-seismic stressstrain
state, and the numerical results were consistent with the in situ
measurements [54]. The model accounts for the loading/unloading
stress path and the hyperbolic dependency of the elastic moduli on
the current stress state. The involved parameters can be readily
determined from well-studied triaxial data despite the dilatancy
and the plasticity not being well-expressed. In this study, the
DuncanChang model was employed to describe the behaviour of
dam materials and foundation gravel. In addition, although the

Fig. 1. Initial yield surface for different yield criterion.

40

-3.0

35

-2.5

+ 1

Stress 1 (MPa)

Stress 1 (MPa)

30
25

+ 2

20
15

1/2

10

1/1 (Experimental)
1/0 (Experimental)
Numerical

5
0

-2.0

1/ 2

-1.5

-1/-1 (Experimental)
-1/ 0 (Experimental)
Numerical

-1.0
-0.5

0.0

-0.1

-0.2

-0.3

Strain 1 (mm/m)

Strain 1 (mm/m)

(a) Compressive case

(b) Tensile case

Fig. 2. Numerical solution of uniaxial and biaxial loading compared with experimental result.

-0.4

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X. Yu et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473

creep behaviour of asphalt concrete is relatively clear, the size of


the asphalt concrete core located in the centre of the dam is quite
small compared with the dam body. Thus, the deformation of the
core will be controlled by the dam body, and the creep of the core
may hardly have an effect on the concrete cut-off wall. Thus, the
asphalt concrete core was also studied using the DuncanChang
model [5557].
3. Dam FE model and material parameters
3.1. Basic information about the dam case
In the feasibility study stage of a water control project used for
power generation, irrigation, and water storage, an ACCD with a
maximum height of 56 m was designed to act as the
water-retaining structure. The elevation of the dam crest was
2136 m, and the dam crest was 330 m in length and 10 m in width.
Both the upstream and downstream dam slopes were 1/1.8 (vertical
to horizontal). A 2 m wide road was set on the downstream slope at
the elevation level (EL) of 2115 m. The dam was also designed to be
built on a deep gravel overburden. To control foundation leakage, a
concrete cut-off wall was selected as the vertical anti-seepage measure. The wall was designed with a thickness of 1 m and a maximum
depth of 87 m with 1 m inserted into the bedrock. The geological
cross section of the river valley and the typical cross-section of the
dam are shown in Figs. 3 and 4, respectively.
3.2. FE mesh
After a slight simplication (which did not affect the general
shape) to the slope of the valley shown in Fig. 3, a 3D FE mesh

465

was obtained, as shown in Fig. 5. The generated mesh contained


230,220 elements, and 4730 elements were used to model the
concrete cut-off wall. Spatial 8-node isoparametric elements were
used to simulate the material mesh. To more accurately capture
the behaviour of the concrete cut-off wall, two layers of mesh
elements were used to model the wall thickness, and the Wilson
nonconforming element [58,59] was employed to reveal the
bending behaviour more precisely. As shown in Fig. 6, the dam
construction and water impounding stages were step-by-step
and were simulated with 16 steps and 13 steps, respectively. The
layer thickness was not greater than 5 m. Water was impounded
from ELs of 2080 m to 2130 m after dam construction was completed. The water pressure was simulated as surface forces and
was applied to the impervious system, as shown in Fig. 7, demonstrating the FE mesh of the entire impervious system. The dam was
xed in the x, y and z directions of the bottom boundary. The
boundary condition of the maximum cross-section was indicated
in Fig. 6.
3.3. Material parameters
According to the design information, the rst three parameters
listed in Table 2 were used to perform a linear elastic analysis of
the concrete cut-off wall. To describe the plastic-damage behaviour of the concrete, certain parameters employed by this study
were determined based on earlier studies. Based on Ref. [31],
2.5 MPa tensile strength and 325 N/m tensile fracture energy were
adopted. The maximum compressive strength was set as 10 times
the tensile strength. The compression fracture energy was set to
100 times the tensile value according to previous studies
[21,27,31,60,61]. The characteristic length lr was computed from

Fig. 3. Geological cross section of the river valley.

Fig. 4. Maximum cross section of dam (r: Bedrock; s: Overburden; t: Concrete Cut-off Wall; u: Dam Rockll; v: Transition Layer; w: Asphalt Concrete Core.).

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X. Yu et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473

Fig. 5. 3D FE mesh of ACCD (element amount: 230,220; node amount: 236,004).

Fig. 6. Cross Section 1-1 and sketch of construction stages.

Interface
Cut-off Wall
Core

Water
Pressure

Plinth

Water
Pressure

2-2

Fig. 7. FE mesh of impervious system.

Table 2
Parameters for concrete cut-off wall.

qsat (kg/m3)

E (GPa)

ft0 (MPa)

Gt (N/m)

fc0 (MPa)

fb0 (MPa)

Gc (N/m)

2400

30

0.17

2.50

325

16.0

18.4

32,500

the size of an individual mesh element of the concrete cut-off wall.


Table 2 lists the parameters for the FE analysis of the concrete
cut-off wall.
Slurry is typically used to stabilize trenches during the construction of concrete cut-off walls. Thus, a thin layer of slurry, generally 23 cm, was designed between the concrete cut-off wall and
the foundation [62]. Fu and Zhang [63] conducted direct shear tests
to study the contact behaviour between concrete and gravel with a
3-cm-thick slurry; the results of the study are listed in Table 3. In
addition, the asphalt concrete core is soft compared to the transition layer. This contact behaviour was experimentally studied by
Zhang and Rao using a simple shear apparatus [64]. The parameters for the hyperbolic model were determined and are listed in
Table 3.

Table 3
Parameters for interfaces.
Location

k1

u ()

Rf

C (kPa)

Cut-off wall Overburden


Core Dam

757
2022

0.86
0.63

11.7
32.4

0.89
0.83

10.5
19.5

The material properties of the rockll/gravel and the asphalt


concrete are provided in Table 4. Respectively, cs and cd represent
the submerged and dry unit weights. If the element was submerged, cs was used in the FE analysis; otherwise, cd was applied.
The foundation gravel was always set under water, and the asphalt

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X. Yu et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473


Table 4
Parameters for rockll/gravel and asphalt concrete.
Material

cs (KN/m3)

cd (KN/m3)

u0 ()

Du ()

C (kPa)

Rf

Kb

Dam Rockll
Transition Layer
Overburden Gravel
Asphalt Concrete

13.0
12.0
11.0

21.4
21.1

25.4

51.7
50.6
43.5
27.3

9.1
7.2
3.6
0.0

0.0
0.0
0.0
140

810
910
850
303

0.25
0.31
0.48
0.24

0.65
0.63
0.93
0.81

265
396
280
719

0.20
0.34
0.15
0.59

Table 5
Parameters for plinth.
Material

q (kg/m3)

E (GPa)

Plinth

2400

28

0.17

concrete core was impervious. The upstream side was gradually


submerged as the water level increased.
A plinth, usually constructed as a connecting structure between
the concrete cut-off wall and the asphalt concrete core, is a part of
the impervious system. In this study, the plinth was considered
linearly elastic, and its parameters are listed in Table 5.

end of construction stage. The deformation vector of the wall


pointed to the central region of the valley due to the special shape
of the wall and the restrictive effect of the surrounding bedrock.
Moreover, the deformation at the tip of the wall was seriously
restricted so that this section was in an unfavourable stress state.
With the rise of the water level, the vertical settlement of the
wall gradually decreased due to the buoyancy of water acting on
the upstream shell material. The horizontal displacement
increased with the upstream water pressure. The deformed shape
of the wall at the impounding completed stage is shown in
Fig. 9b. The deformation mode was different from the construction
stage. Horizontal deformation and bending near the bedrock were
immediately apparent. Sections in the downstream side of the wall
with signicant bending were in a tensile stress state.

4. Results and discussion


The analyses of the different stages are presented in this
section. End of construction stage indicates that the dam was
constructed to the crest, and Impounding completed stage
implies that water was impounded to the normal water level.
C.EL and I.EL represent the elevation levels of the dam construction and water impounding, respectively. The tensile stress
was set as negative.
4.1. Deformation behaviour of the concrete cut-off wall
Fig. 8a and b presents the deformations at various locations of
the concrete cut-off wall at different stages. As the dam was constructed layer-by-layer, the wall deformations were indicated by
vertical settlement (due to the successively increased dam weight).
The water and soil pressures acting on the upstream and downstream sides of the wall were identical so that the horizontal displacement was small. Figs. 9a and 10 illustrate the deformed
shape and deformation vector of the wall, respectively, at the

Figs. 11 and 12 illustrate the distribution of the minor principal


stress in the concrete cut-off wall using a linear elastic model.
Although the wall thickness was divided into two layers, the stress
states in both layers were nearly the same during dam construction (based on the deformation behaviour). Consequently, the FE
results of the upstream layer are only presented for the construction stage. Large portions of the wall were in compression stress
states, and the minor principal stress increased as the dam lled.
However, as the maximum tensile stress increased, the affected
area at the tip of the wall also increased. At the end of construction
stage, the maximum tension stress was over 10.0 MPa at the tip of
the upper part, which exceeded the tension strength 2.5 MPa. The
large tensile stress, which appears to be unrealistic, was caused by
the restricted deformation and high elastic modulus of the wall.
As plotted in Fig. 12, different stress states were observed in the
two layers of the wall during the water impounding stage. As the
water level rose, the maximum tensile stress and the tensile area

C.EL.2105m
C.EL.2136m
I.EL. 2115m
I.EL. 2130m

-0.02

2080

-0.04

Vertical Direction/Y(m)

Horizontal Displacement/m

Vertical Settlement/m

0.00

4.2. Elastic analysis results of the concrete cut-off wall

-0.06
-0.08
0.20
0.16
0.12

2060

2040

2020
C.EL.2105m
C.EL.2136m
I.EL. 2115m
I.EL. 2130m

0.08
2000

0.04
0.00
-0.04

1980
50

100

150

200

250

Axial Direction/Z(m)

(a) Deformation of the top

300

0.00

-0.02

-0.04

-0.06

Vertical Settlement/m

-0.08

0.00 0.04 0.08 0.12 0.16 0.20

Horizontal Displacement/m

(b) Deformation of the middle

Fig. 8. Deformation at typical locations of concrete cut-off wall.

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X. Yu et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473

(m)

(m)

(a) End of construction stage

(b) Impounding completed stage

Fig. 9. Spatial deformed shapes of concrete cut-off wall (Magnication: 100).

2080

Y/m

2070

2060

2050
200

220

240

260

280

Z/m
Fig. 10. Deformation vector of the concrete cut-off wall at the end of construction stage.

1.2
0.8
0.0
-2.5
-5.0
-10.0

C.EL.2105 m

1.3
0.8
0.0
-2.5
-5.0
-10.0

C.EL.2136 m

Fig. 11. Minor principal stress contour of elastic analysis for dam construction (Unit: MPa).

decreased at the tip of the upper region on the upstream side of the
wall due to the uplifting action of water. Meanwhile, the tension
region expanded on the downstream side with serious bending
due to the increased water pressure and the restraint of the
bedrock.
As indicated by the deformation behaviour of the wall, the
development of bending was noticeable during impounding. To
more accurately capture the bending behaviour of the wall, the
nonconforming element presented by Wilson [58] was employed
to represent the wall. The minor principal stress of the downstream side at two different water levels is shown in Fig. 13.
Despite minimal change in the stress distribution rule, expansion
in the tension range of the wall was observed based on a comparison with the result acquired using normal isoparametric elements.
Moreover, the tensile stress increased in the original tensile zone.
The wall exhibited more exibility due to the adoption of the

nonconforming element. Furthermore, such elements can avoid


nite element shear locking and are theoretically more precise.
Therefore, the Wilson element was adopted in the following
analysis.
The spatial distribution of the internal forces of the wall at the
impounding completed stage is illustrated in Fig. 14. The direction
and degree of bending can be determined from this gure. As
shown in Fig. 14a, there was a relatively larger moment, and the
axial force was tensile near the bank. The upstream side next to
the bedrock and downstream side where the axial force was almost
zero were in a tensile state at the top of the wall. As indicated in
Fig. 14b, the bending at the central portion of the wall reached a
maximum near the base, where the axial force was the largest.
The compressive stress induced by the axial force was larger than
the tensile stress caused by bending. Therefore, the base of the wall
was in a compression stress state.

469

X. Yu et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473

1.4
1.0
0.0
-2.5
-5.0
-9.0

I.EL.2115

1.5
1.0
0.0
-2.5
-5.0
-9.0

I.EL.2130 m

(a) Upstream side

1.4
1.0
0.0
-2.5
-5.0
-9.0

I.EL.2115

1.5
1.0
0.0
-2.5
-5.0
-9.0

I.EL.2130 m

(b) Downstream side


Fig. 12. Minor principal stress contours of elastic analysis for water impounding (Unit: MPa).

1.4
1.0
0.0
-2.5
-5.0
-9.0

I.EL.2115 m

1.5
1.0
0.0
-2.5
-5.0
-9.0

I.EL.2130m

4.00

Wall

2.00

2080

z
+M

0.00
-2.00

Vertical Direction/Y(m)

Shear Force/106N Axial Force/107N Moment/106Nm

Fig. 13. Minor principal stress contours of concrete cut-off wall representing with nonconforming element (Unit: MPa).

-4.00
2.00
1.00
x

0.00

Wall

-1.00
+ FN

-2.00

2.00

Wall

1.00
+ FS

0.00

2060

+FS

+FN
+M
Y

2040

Wall

Wall

Wall

2020

2000

-1.00
-2.00

1980
50

100

150

200

250

300

Axial Direction/Z(m)

(a) Internal force of the top

-4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 0

Moment/106Nm

Axial Force/107N

5 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5

Shear Force/106N

(b) Internal force of the middle

Fig. 14. Internal force at typical locations of concrete cut-off wall at the impounding completed stage.

4.3. Plastic-damage analyses of the concrete cut-off wall


Fig. 15 presents the minor principal stress obtained from the
plastic-damage analyses of different stages. In contrast to the
results of the linear elastic analysis, the tensile area of the wall signicantly decreased, and the maximum tension stress rarely
exceeded 2.0 MPa. Based on the yield criterion when the peak
strength was reached, the plastic-damage model was able to
describe the nonlinear behaviour of concrete and to account for
the evolution of damage and the stress release and redistribution.
Figs. 16 and 17 illustrate the tensile damage (denoted by damage variable rt) in the concrete cut-off wall during the construction
stages. During dam construction, the damage was localized at the
tip of the upper part of the wall due to special deformation and

force characteristics. As shown in Fig. 17b, the damage gradually


developed with increasing water levels in the bending zone, and
the damage observed on the downstream side was more serious
than on the upstream side, which was consistent with the bending
direction. There was zero or only slight damage (rt less than 0.1)
over large portions of the wall. On the downstream side, the
maximum tensile damage reached 0.75 at the tip due to the tensile
stress caused by relatively small deformations. The tensile damage
reached 0.71 at a few positions of the downstream side, which
also exhibited serious bending and small compression. The
localized damaged zone also demonstrated the ability of this
plastic-damage model to accurately represent strain softening. In
addition, the distribution of the damage did not follow the patterns
of the tensile region obtained by linear elastic analysis because the

470

X. Yu et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473

1.2
0.8
0.5
0.0
-0.5
-1.0

C.EL.2105 m

1.3
0.8
0.5
0.0
-0.5
-1.0

C.EL.2136 m

(a) Dam construction stages (upstream side)

1.4
1.0
0.5
0.0
-0.5
-1.0

I.EL.2115 m

1.4
1.0
0.5
0.0
-1.0
-2.0

I.EL.2130 m

(b) Water impounding stages (downstream side)


Fig. 15. Minor principal stress contours of plastic-damage analysis (Unit: MPa).

0.70
0.55
0.40
0.20
0.10

C.EL.2105 m

0.70
0.55
0.40
0.20
0.10

C.EL.2136 m

Fig. 16. Evolution of tensile damage variable (rt) during dam construction.

0.70
0.55
0.40
0.20
0.10

I.EL.2115 m

0.70
0.55
0.40
0.20
0.10

I.EL.2130 m

(a) Upstream side

0.70
0.55
0.40
0.20
0.10

I.EL.2115 m

0.70
0.55
0.40
0.20
0.10

I.EL.2130 m

(b) Downstream side


Fig. 17. Evolution of tensile damage variable (rt) during water impounding.

24.0
22.0
20.0
16.0
10.0
4.0

C.EL.2136 m

(a) Elastic analysis result

24.0
22.0
20.0
16.0
10.0
4.0

C.EL.2136 m

(b) Plastic-damage analysis result

Fig. 18. Maximum principal stress at the end of construction stage (Unit: MPa).

yield criteria of this plastic-damage model was dened in a 3D


stress space and the stress presented in this paper was the average
stress of the Gauss points.

The distributions of the maximum principal stress and


compression damage at the end of construction stage are shown
in Figs. 18 and 19. The stress of the wall rarely exceeded the

X. Yu et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473

0.06
0.05
0.04
0.02
0.01

C.EL.2136 m

Fig. 19. Compression damage variable (rc) at the end of construction stage.

compression strength (i.e., 25 MPa) according to the elastic


analysis. Furthermore, the stress distribution obtained by the
plastic-damage analysis was minimally changed, even though the
stress in some portions of the wall exceeded the initial yield
strength (i.e., 16 MPa) because of the multi-axial strength and high
fracture energy under compression for normal concrete. The
results indicate that compression stress has little effect on the
safety of the wall.
Crack propagation may be a result of serious tensile damage. To
improve the anti-seepage properties of the concrete cut-off wall,
local reinforcement measures should be considered in the design
stage. Replacing normal concrete with bre-reinforced [65,66] or
steel-reinforced [67] concrete could be effective.
4.4. Constructing the cut-off wall with plastic concrete
Cut-off walls in deep overburden constructed with plastic
concrete have been successfully used in many dam engineering
projects [68]. However, few applications of plastic concrete in deep
overburden can be found in China, and plastic concrete cut-off
walls have been most commonly used in cofferdam and embankment projects where the foundation and dam body have little
impact on the wall. An elastic analysis was conducted by replacing
the construction material of the cut-off wall with plastic concrete.
The material properties of the plastic concrete used for this analysis are as follows [69,70]: elastic modulus, E = 1.5 GPa; Poissons
ratio, v = 0.25; and density, q = 2200 kg/m3. The compression
strength was assumed to be 5 MPa, and the tensile strength was
set to 10% of the compression strength.
The principal stress of the plastic concrete wall at different
stages is shown in Fig. 20. The area under tension decreased substantially, and tensile stress only appeared at the top of the wall
near the bedrock due to the lower elastic modulus. The maximum

1.5
1.0
0.0
-0.5
-1.5
-3.5

I.EL.2130 m

(a) Minimum Principal stress at the impounding complete stage

14.0
12.0
10.0
8.0
5.0
2.0

C.EL.2136 m

(b) Maximum Principal stress at the end of construction stage


Fig. 20. Principal stress of plastic concrete cut-off wall (Unit: MPa).

471

compressive stress also decreased from 25 MPa to 15 MPa.


However, the plastic concrete had relatively low compression
strength. Thus, the principal stress in large portions of the wall
exceeded the strength. The ratio of the maximum compressive
stress to the strength was approximately 3.0, which may induce
compression damage. If plastic concrete is adopted to construct
the cut-off wall in this project, the material parameter should be
carefully designed, and its 3D stress state behaviour should be
studied. The building plans and methods may differ from those
used for normal concrete to decrease the relatively large compressive stress.

5. Conclusions
In this study, the linear elastic and plastic-damage analyses of a
concrete cut-off wall with a height of 87 m in deep overburden of
an ACCD were performed using GEODYNA, a 3D FE program. A
plastic-damage model proposed by Lee-Fenves was used to conduct the plastic-damage analysis. The existing monotonic uniaxial
and biaxial loading tests of concrete were simulated, and the predicted results were compared with experimental data from the literature. Furthermore, the stress, deformation and damage
behaviour of the concrete cut-off wall during dam construction
and water impounding were investigated.
The deformation modes of the concrete cut-off wall were distinct at different construction stages. During dam construction,
the settlement at the centre was obvious. The deformation at the
tip of the upper part of the wall was signicantly restricted, which
may give rise to an unfavourable stress state. As the water level
rose, the horizontal displacement signicantly increased, and serious bending occurred in the downstream side near the bedrock
where high tensile stresses were observed.
The stress distribution from the linear elastic analysis can be
explained by the deformation mode and the distribution of internal
forces at the different stages; nonconforming element should be
adopted to capture the behaviour of the wall in the deep overburden more precisely. However, the linear elastic model is not able to
reasonably express the nonlinear behaviour of concrete; thus, the
obtained tensile stress of a few regions exceeded the tensile
strength. It is not accurate to rely on the linear elastic analysis
results to assess the safety of the concrete cut-off wall.
The tensile area in the concrete cut-off wall was signicantly
reduced, and the maximum tensile stress rarely exceeded
2.0 MPa, as computed by the plastic-damage model. Furthermore,
the damage distribution indicated that most portions of the wall
exhibited no damage or only slight tensile damage. The tensile
damage that did occur was mainly concentrated at the restricted
upper tip of the wall and at the bending locations on the downstream side near the bedrock. The result also indicated that the
compression stress would have little effect on the safety of the
wall. To improve the anti-seepage capability of the wall, particular
engineering measures should be practiced at these positions. The
plastic-damage model reasonably predicated the nonlinear properties of concrete in a 3D stress space, including strain softening,
stress redistribution and damage accumulation. The numerical
results of the concrete cut-off wall using the plastic-damage model
were more reasonable and useful for design and construction.
The reinforcement cage was not considered in this study, and
the use of remedial measures to prevent damage requires further
research. Moreover, safety evaluations of concrete cut-off walls
utilizing plastic-damage analyses would be more meaningful if
the relationship between the damage variables and concrete
permeability was addressed. Furthermore, more efforts should be
devoted to investigate the nonlinear damage behaviour of plastic
concrete under different stress states.

472

X. Yu et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 69 (2015) 462473

Acknowledgements
This research was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of
China (Nos. 51138001, 51279025, 91215301) and the Program for
New Century Excellent Talents in University (No. NCET-12-0083).
These nancial supports are gratefully acknowledged.
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