Numerical modelling considerations for analysis of concrete hydraulic structures subjected to high-frequency seismic loads

Abstract: Concrete hydraulic structures are of great importance in today's society. When situated in areas with hard bedrock, these structures may become extra vulnerable to seismic excitations as these here are dominated by high-frequency vibrations which can have disastrous consequences for slender structures. The aim of this thesis was to investigate special considerations that must be made when conducting analyses of such hydraulic structures during high-frequency excitations. Underground and on the ground structures were investigated separately. Underground concrete pipelines and concrete buttress dams were selected for the study because their behaviour when exposed to seismic excitations is dominated by their stiffness. The most effective models and modelling methods for the seismic analyses of such structures were implemented and evaluated. Two-dimensional finite element (FE) models were developed for the dynamic analysis of underground concrete pipelines loaded by seismic waves propagating from bedrock through soil. The interaction between the bedrock and the surrounding soil was investigated with respect to rock geometry and soil properties. The surface of dam foundations is commonly irregular, resulting in nonuniform motions at the dam-foundation interface. The free-field modelling methods for concrete dam foundations were adapted in order to accurately describe the propagation of earthquake vibrations from the source to the ground surface. The implementation of a threedimensional FE model for concrete buttress dams was investigated. Two different methods for free-field modelling are presented, which can be implemented independently of the software used. The seismic loads are applied as effective earthquake forces at non-reflecting boundaries. In the first method, the free-field motions at the non-reflecting boundaries are determined by the so-called domain reduction method using the direct FE calculation. In the second method, the free-field motions are analytically determined based on the onedimensional wave propagation theory. The results are also compared with the massless foundation modelling approach, in which the topographical amplifications are neglected. It was demonstrated that a two-dimensional model can effectively account for pipeline behaviour. The most important aspect of the models is the ability to capture bending deformations, as segmented structures such as pipelines are vulnerable in this respect. Nonuniform bedrock reduces the safety of concrete pipeline, especially because of bending deformations in the pipe and joints. The massless method gave unreliable results for analyses of dams, especially for high-frequency excitations. The analytical method was also unreliable in estimating the non-linear behaviour of the dams. But, a new time domain deconvolution method was developed to transform the earthquake motion from the foundation surface to the corresponding input motion at depth. It wasfound that free-field modelling of foundations using the direct FE method can accurately capture the topographic amplifications of the seismic excitations. It was shown that a three-dimensional model is required for seismic evaluation of concrete buttress dams. The topographic amplification of high-frequency waves at the surface of canyons had a significant effect on the response of this type of dam.