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Srgio Oliveira
Auxiliar Research, Department of Dams, Laboratrio Nacional de Engenharia Civil Av. do Brasil, 101, 1700-066 Lisboa, Portugal

Research Assistant, Department of Structures, Laboratrio Nacional de Engenharia Civil Av. do Brasil, 101, 1700-066 Lisboa, Portugal

Paulo Mendes
Assistant, Department of Civil Engineering, Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa Rua Conselheiro Emdio Navarro, 1 1950-062 Lisboa, Portugal

Principal Research, Department of Structures, Laboratrio Nacional de Engenharia Civil Av. do Brasil, 101, 1700-066 Lisboa, Portugal

ABSTRACT This work presents the results of dynamic measurements carried out at Cabril dam, the highest Portuguese arch dam, under operational conditions. The results observed are compared with those of a numerical model of 3D finite elements, based on the hypothesis of linear elastic behaviour and by assuming that the hydrodynamic water pressure is properly simulated through associated water masses, in accordance with Westergaards formula. Reference must be made to the fact that the comparison of the observed response, during possible earthquakes, with the numerically calculated response will make it possible to analyse possible non-linear effects, such as for instance: the influence of the contraction joints movements and the issue related with damping for dynamic actions of different magnitudes. In addition, the present work discusses the influence of reservoir water levels and of the thermal state on the time evolution of the fundamental parameters of the dynamic response (natural frequencies and mode shapes). The main purpose of that discussion is to define strategies that will make it possible to use results from dynamic monitoring under a continuous regimen to characterize alterations associated with phenomena of deterioration in arch dams. INTRODUCTION Actually, vibration measurements have been performed for various decades with a view to characterise the dynamic response of concrete dams, and particularly, of large arch dams. In LNEC the first attempts to measure dam vibrations were performed in the beginning of the 60s, by imposing sinusoidal excitation loads using shakers of eccentric mass with a view to characterise the dynamic performance of dams. In the 80s, the first attempts to measure vibrations under the exclusive action of environmental excitation were performed. The present work intends to demonstrate that, currently, it is possible to characterise with good precision the dynamic response of arch dams under the action of environmental loads, even though the vibrations corresponding to that excitation are of very low amplitude in this type of structures. This has been made possible by the technological development achieved at the level of: i) vibration measurement equipments (namely, accelerometers); ii) signal

conditioning, acquisition and storage systems; iii) modal identification techniques under environmental excitation. Therefore, the results presented refer to an ambient vibration test conducted at the Cabril dam, in February 2002, with the support of EDP (Portuguese Electricity Company). The results of dynamic measurements performed at the Cabril dam under the action of environmental excitation are compared with the results previously obtained with forced vibration tests. The observed results are also compared with those of a 3-D finite element model, based on the hypothesis of elastic-linear behaviour and assuming that the hydrodynamic effect of water is properly simulated through associated water masses, in accordance with Westergaards formula [1]. In order to define future strategies aiming at the use of continuous dynamic monitoring results to identify changes associated with deterioration phenomena in arch dams, a discussion is presented about the influence of the main actions, hydrostatic pressure and temperature variations, on the fundamental parameters of the dynamic response (natural frequencies and modal configurations). The influence of possible changes associated to deterioration processes on the same parameters is also discussed with the same purpose. MEASUREMENT AND ANALYSIS OF ENVIRONMENTAL VIBRATIONS IN LARGE DAMS The measurement of vibrations in concrete dams has been carried out with the purpose of performing the modal identification of the dam-foundation-reservoir system: determination of natural frequencies, modal configurations and modal damping. The general purpose is to use the modal identification results to: i) assess the appropriateness of the hypothesis adopted at the level of mathematical models to simulate the dynamic behaviour of structures; ii) calibrate the parameters of the models (modulus of elasticity, parameters referring to the boundary conditions, to the behaviour of retraction joints, to the inter-action with the reservoir, etc.); and iii) detect possible changes in the overall dynamic characteristics that may be the sign of deterioration phenomena that are difficult to detect by the traditional monitoring methods. Regarding the changes in the observed dynamic characteristics, mention must be made of the fact that these may correspond, on one hand, to gradual changes of the properties of materials, either due to usual phenomena, such as the maturation of concrete, or due to pathological phenomena, such as the development of cracking resulting from concrete swelling reactions. On the other hand, they may also correspond to sudden changes, for instance induced by the occurrence of earthquakes. Such changes in the dynamic characteristics may become evident over time through small variations in the natural frequencies of the main vibration modes and/or through modification in modal configurations. In order to characterise properly the structural health of large dams, it is necessary to carry out the measurement and analysis of vibrations for different reservoir levels and in different yearly temperature conditions. This is to be preferably done under excitations of different amplitudes, whenever the aim is to study modal damping and not just natural frequencies and modal configurations. This type of very detailed characterisation, which is indispensable when the intent is to co-relate changes in the dynamic response with deterioration phenomena over time, is very difficult to achieve using only results from forced vibration tests. This is particularly due to the high cost associated with the installation and control of excitation equipment (input-output tests). Therefore, considering the low costs involved, the measurement and analysis of vibrations due only to the usual excitation sources under service conditions (associated to natural actions, such as wind or earthquakes and microearthquakes, or to actions due to operation activities, such as the operation of power units or to flow discharges) are currently of the highest interest. That interest has been lately emphasized by the development achieved at the level of signal acquisition and conditioning equipment and at the level of modal identification methodologies [2; 3; 4]. As will be subsequently demonstrated, that development makes it possible to overcome the difficulties detected in previous attempts of modal identification of large dams through output-only tests [5]. These are namely as follows: i) the low amplitude of the acceleration histories to be measured (expectable in structures of large mass and high stiffness when subjected to low amplitude environment excitations) can now be properly recorded due to the higher sensitivity of current acceleration transducers and

to the possibilities of amplification of the conditioning equipments and the resolution of the ADC boards; ii) nowadays, the high precision necessary for the level of determination of natural frequencies can be more easily ensured due to the high capacity of the current equipment for acquisition, storage and analysis of measurements. In fact, that equipment makes it possible to carry out long duration recording with high sampling frequencies; iii) the difficulties at the level of modal identification are significantly less not only due to the possibility of obtaining and processing a higher number of higher quality measurements, but also due to the higher potential of the current modal identification methodologies. The latter includes: identification techniques within the time domain with noise models included Stochastic Subspace Identification (SSI) [2; 3]; and identification techniques within the frequency domain Frequency Domain Decomposition (FDD) [2; 3; 4]. The traditional methodologies are based on the simplifying hypothesis, namely it is usual to assume that the vibration modes are approximately coincident with the operational deformation modes. Actually, when compared with the traditional methodologies, these new modal identification techniques make it easier to identify very similar modes and to differentiate possible peaks in the response spectra associated with the frequency content of the excitation. It should be noted that the action must ideally be of the multi-input type and with a spectral density of white noise type, so as to excite all the main vibration modes. Usually, the action of the wind plays a significant part in the fulfilment of that condition, namely in large structures [3], as is obviously the case of large dams. AMBIENT VIBRATION TEST AT CABRIL DAM The results presented in this paragraph refer to an ambient vibration measurement test performed at the Cabril dam (50-year old, large double curvature arch with 132 maximum height See Fig. 1). The test was conducted in February 20, 2002, with the reservoir at level 267 m. The main purpose of the test was to obtain elements to justify the submission of a project to the National Scientific Re-equipment Plan entitled Study of Evolutive Deterioration Processes in Concrete Dams. Safety Control Over Time. Within the framework of that project it is intended to develop a continuous dynamic monitoring system for large concrete dams.
(m) 297 290 270 250 230 210 190
250 290 0 20 40 m 250 290





Fig. 1: Plan and cross-section by the central pier of Cabril dam. Test equipment and acquisition parameters adopted Fig.2 shows a schematic drawing of the measurement system used. That system consists of the elements as follows: - 12 uniaxial acceleration transducers of the type force-balance (Kinemetrics; Model: EpiSensor ES-U) with a 2,5 Volt/g sensitivity (installed in the radial sense at the two upper galleries, as Fig.2 shows); 4 power supply and signal conditioning units, developed in LNEC (Scientific Instrumentation Centre) with anti-aliasing filters, which permits amplifications up to 60 dB; data acquisition board DAQ Card AI16XE-50, National Instruments (16 bits); cables for power supply to accelerometers and for transmitting the corresponding signal to the conditioning and input units and from these to the acquisition system;

1 portable computer for acquisition and storage of measurements based on the acquisition software Virtual Bench, from National Instruments.

This system was used with a maximum sensitivity of 2.5 Volt/mg; the saturation level of the acquisition system being around 10 Volt. In the situation of maximum gain, the system makes it possible to measure accelerations until about 4 mg (in fact, as will be demonstrated, maximum acceleration values of about 2 mg were measured in a situation where the power units were in operation), with a precision corresponding to 8 mg / 216 (16 bits).

C. S.
(m) 297 290 270 250 230 210 190 170

C. S.

C. S.

- Acceleration Transducers

C. S.

C. S. - Condicionador de Sinal com Amplificador e Filtros

FEM Analogical Digital Conversor Data Acquisition system (PC) Modal Identification (FDD-ARTeMIS) Results Analysis

Fig. 2: Schematic drawing of the acquisition system. The acceleration records were performed with the acquisition parameters as follows: Maximum gain in the conditioning: 1000 Sampling frequency: 200 Hz Sample duration higher than 0.5 hour. Long duration samples were chosen with the purpose of obtaining good frequency resolutions. A computer programme developed in LNEC was used in the pre-processing stage. That programme is in LabView and makes it possible to automate the removal of the average of signals recorded and to carry out filtering and decimation to obtain a re-sampling of the signal recorded from the original sampling frequency of 200 Hz to 50 Hz (application of a low-pass filter in the 20 Hz = 0,850 Hz / 2 and decimation for the intended 50 Hz). Analysis of the acceleration histories and Modal Identification The acceleration histories at the 12 measurement points were initially recorded for about 45 minutes with the Hydroelectric power units, located at the upstream toe, in operation (25 minutes at 38 Mwatts and 20 minutes at full power Fig.3a) and, subsequently, after disconnection of the units, records were performed for about 35 minutes (Fig.3b). In the first situation (units in operation), the maximum accelerations measured were about 2 mg (Fig.3a) and with disconnected units (only with environment excitation, mainly due to the action of the wind), the maximum accelerations measured were of approximately 0.05 mg (Fig.3b). The computer program ARTeMIS Extractor, release 3.0 (Ambient Response Testing and Modal Identification Software) was used to carry out the modal identification of the system dam-foundation-reservoir. That software makes it possible to carry out the modal identification of structures based on the FDD technique. That technique consists of carrying out a decomposition of the response of the system represented by the matrix of spectral densities of signals measured (1212 matrix, in this case), on a diagonal matrix corresponding to a system of independent degrees of freedom (SDOF). The frequencies are determined by selection of the resonance peaks in the spectra of singular values, whereas the modal configurations are estimated by the corresponding singular vectors.

a) b) Fig. 3: Acceleration records obtained on transducer 1. a) With power units in operation. b) With units disconnected with environment excitation only (wind). In Fig. 4 we can see the results of modal identification referring to the situation of power units both in operation and disconnected in terms of the average of normalised singular values of spectral density matrices of the 12 acceleration records. The results presented were obtained by using a decimation factor of 5 on the records corresponding to re-samplings to a 50 Hz frequency and by carrying out sub-sample averages of 1024 points (T20 s) overlapped at 2/3.

Fig. 4: Modal identification based on the Frequency Domain Decomposition method. Representation of normalised singular values of spectral density matrices of the 12 acceleration records (results of the computer software ARTeMIS). Identification of peaks corresponding to the first vibration modes of the structure. Application to records obtained with power units either in operation (a) or disconnected (b). The results obtained in these two distinct excitation situations show coherent results in terms of natural frequencies of peaks identified as corresponding to structural vibration modes (shown in the figure). In the case of Fig.4a, it is possible to observe a narrow and very well defined peak, in the 3.57 Hz frequency, which is exactly the rotation frequency of the power units, which demonstrates the good frequency resolution achieved. Fig.5 shows the vibration modes corresponding to the 4 peaks indicated, as well as the value of the corresponding natural frequencies, special reference being made to the coherence of configurations obtained for the two situations mentioned. The interpretation of the modal configurations identified is subsequently done through comparison with the results from a finite element model. Finite element mathematical model for support to the interpretation of results from the modal identification In order to interpret the previous modal identification results, a 3-D finite element model (of the type cube, isoparametric of 20 nodal points) of the set dam-foundation-reservoir was used (Fig.6), on which the hydrodynamic effect of water is considered through Westgaards associated water masses. Also in that model, it is initially assumed that the concrete, of specific mass =24 kNm-3, is a homogeneous and isotropic material of linear elastic behaviour with a modulus of elasticity E = 33 GPa (about 30% higher than the value determined on basis of the usual deformability tests) and with a Poisson coefficient =0,2. Similar

mechanical characteristics with a null mass were also considered, by simplification, for the rock mass, so that the latter may act as an elastic support. With this model, the natural frequencies and modal configurations, numerically calculated for the three first vibration modes, are coherent with the results of the modal identification. Nevertheless, the mode clearly identified at the site with a frequency of about 4.1 Hz has a configuration that does not present any similarity with the configuration of the 4th mode that was numerically calculated with the elastic and homogeneous model (Fig.7). In order to interpret that difference at the level of the previously mentioned modal configuration, it has been considered that the horizontal cracking that occurs at the site, on a section between 7 m and 20 m below the crest, could be represented in a simplified way in the numerical model. This could be achieved by considering that the vertical modulus of elasticity of the finite elements at the zone of the section referred to above could be reduced to a value corresponding to a damage d = 0,9, being therefore Ez = E(1-d) = 3,3 GPa. With that alteration in the mathematical model, the three first vibration modes remain almost unchanged, which creates a new mode, for a 4,600 Hz frequency, with a configuration that is close to the 4th. mode identified at the site. This fact makes it possible to assume that the hypothesis of it being a mode associated with the horizontal cracking could be considered in future studies. It should be noted that the configuration of the 4th mode identified on the basis of the results observed in this test can only be dully characterised by carrying out a new test with a more significant number of measurements points, namely at the level of the 2nd gallery located below the cracked zone, on which only 3 measurement points were installed at the central zone. Power units disconnected

2.617 Hz

3.164 Hz

3,857 Hz Power units in operation

4,092 Hz

2.750 Hz

3.135 Hz

3.887 Hz 4.072 Hz Fig. 5: Modal configurations observed (modal identification).

Hypothesis of homogeneous, isotropic material With a linear-elastic behaviour: E0 = 33 GPa (~1,3 Eest) = 0,2 174 elements 1296 nodal points Fig. 6: Finite element model of the set dam-foundation-reservoir.

2,600 Hz

2,794 Hz

3,960 Hz

4,267 Hz

Fig. 7: Configurations of the first vibration modes numerically calculated with the finite element model in the hypothesis of homogeneous material of linear elastic performance. MODELS FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF THE DYNAMIC RESPONSE PARAMETERS OVER TIME The effects of deterioration of dams over time can be represented by changes in terms of modal configurations (as the present case has already illustrated), as well as by variations over time of natural frequencies of the main vibration modes (due, for instance, to variations in the modulus of elasticity over time, either of a pathologic nature or not). These variations are usually difficult to perceive, even in periods comprising a few dozen years. This is due to the fact that the natural frequencies vary proportionally to the square root of the modulus of elasticity and also due to the fact that they are affected by the natural variations in the reservoir level and by thermal variations. In order to solve that problem, the test methodologies must be improved so as to obtain highly accurate natural frequency values (long-duration records). Furthermore, the dynamic monitoring systems must be developed so as to make it possible to obtain enough elements to characterise properly the effects of the reservoir level and of yearly thermal variations on natural frequencies, so as to differentiate more easily the time effects on natural frequencies.

Configuration identified on the basis of measurements done (4th mode)

4,092 Hz Configuration determined numerically in the hypothesis of homogeneous material Configuration determined numerically considering cracking (in a simplified way)

4,267 Hz

4,600 Hz

Fig. 8: Analysis of the configuration of the 4 mode identified on the basis of measurements done: comparison with modal configurations numerically determined, either considering or not the effect of horizontal cracking on the upper zone of the work. In Fig.9 we can see the influence lines, which were numerically calculated with the finite element model previously mentioned. These lines represent the variation of natural frequencies of the 3 first vibration modes in accordance with the reservoir level. The results observed in three forced vibration tests that were conducted in 1962 are also presented (water level: 294 m), 1981 (empty reservoir), 1996 (water level: 264 m), as well as the results of the environmental vibration test that was referred to above (Feb. 2002; water level 267 m). Actually, there is a clear decrease in natural frequencies for water levels above level 265 m. Reference must be made to the fact that the results from the last forced vibration test are totally in agreement with those of the current environmental vibration test (fairly similar water levels) and that the results obtained in 1962 with a high water level are also in agreement with the results from the mathematical model. The results obtained in 1981 with an empty reservoir indicate values lower than those of the numerical model. This might be justified by the fact that the used model does not make it possible to simulate the decrease in the overall stiffness, which may be associated to the opening of cracks that occurs in the situation of empty reservoir.
Forced test

Forced test

Ambient test
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Observation results (modal identification) Forced vibration testing Ambient vibration testing 3D Finite element model


1,0 0 166 180 200 220 240 260 280 297

Fig. 9: Effect of the reservoir level on natural frequencies. Comparison of numerical model results with results from the forced vibration test and with results from the present environmental vibration test.

Water level

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS It has been demonstrated that, with the current equipment, the test methodologies for measuring environmental vibrations (output-only modal testing) make it possible to obtain results of characterisation of the dynamic performance of arch dams, which are coherent with the results obtained in forced vibration tests. The environmental vibration test results presented, which refer to the Cabril dam, have indicated that it would be appropriate to develop a research study, with a view to develop continuous dynamic monitoring systems for large dams. The main purpose of the latter would be to complement the current monitoring systems, of which the results have proved to be essential for the safety control of these structures. As is known, in order to initiate the research study previously mentioned, it is essential to carry out new tests at the Cabril dam and in other large dams. In those tests, a higher number of measurement points and new adjustments at the level of acquisition parameters are to be used. The expected outcome is that the continuous dynamic monitoring, other than making it possible to observe and interpret the dynamic response of those structures during the occurrence of earthquakes, will also make it possible to identify more easily the possible changes in the structural performance over time. In fact, the latter may be co-related with deterioration effects induced by phenomena of different origins, ranging from changes in the concrete with a pathologic origin (swellings, for instance) to cracking resulting from exceptional actions, such as intensive phenomena or overtopping. Therefore, it has been considered of the highest interest to invest in the development of fixed dynamic monitoring systems, based on Smart-sensor networks, with serial connection achieved by low cost optical fibre cables. Furthermore, it is also essential to implement modal identification software based on FDD and/or SSI techniques, as well as to develop effect separation methodologies for interpreting the possible future changes, which might be detected on the basis of variations in the natural frequencies. Lastly, it is also important to improve mathematical models for support to the interpretation of the dynamic performance observed. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors wish to thank EDP for all the support provided in the preparation and execution of the test. Thanks are also due to the Principal Research Officer Almeida Garrett, from the Scientific Instrument Design Centre of LNEC, for his valuable support at the level of design and operation of instruments used in the test. REFERENCES [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] Oliveira, S.; Elementos finitos parablicos para anlise esttica e dinmica de equilibros tridimensionais. LNEC. Trabalho de sntese, Lisboa, 1991. Peeters B. (2000) System Identification and Damage Detection in Civil Engineering. Ph Thesis, 2001. Brincker,R.; Ventura,C.; Andersen,P.; Why Output-Only Modal Testing is a Desirable Tool for a Wide Range of Pratical Applications, 2002. Rodrigues, J.; Identificao Modal Estocstica. Mtodos de Anlise e Aplicaes em Estruturas de Engenharia Civil, 2003. Portugal,A.; Caracterizao do Comportamento Dinmico de Barragens de Beto atravs de Ensaios In Situ, Tese de Mestrado, Universidade Tcnica de Lisboa IST, 1990. Campos Costa,A.; Rodrigues, J.; (2001) Structural Health Assessment of Bridges by Monitoring their Dynamic Characteristics, Seminrio Segurana e Reabilitao das Pontes em Portugal, 2000. Carvalhal, F. J.; Oliveira,C.; Schiappa,F. Elementos de Sistemas e de Anlise e Processamento de Sinais Curso LNEC, 1989. PNRC, LNEC-FEUP Estudo de processos de deteriorao evolutiva em barragens de beto. Controlo da segurana ao longo do tempo Programa de Candidatura ao Programa Nacional de Re-equipamento Cientfico da FCT, 2001.

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Rodrigues, J.; Campos Costa A. (2001) Caracterizao Dinmica de Estruturas de Pontes com Base em Ensaios de Vibraes Ambiente, LNEC, 2000. Rodrigues, J. (2002) Ensaios de Caracterizao Dinmica da Ponte Salgueiro Maia, Beto Estrutural, LNEC, 2002.