Antonio outlined a case study involving three dimensional finite element analysis of a 150m high arch dam founded on fractured Cretaceous limestone. Key constraints were limited abutment resistance and unfavourable defect orientation. Details of data acquisition including in situ rock mass shear testing were presented. The finite element analysis modelled discontinuities using individual joint elements and computed stress distribution to allow safety factor calculation for a variety of possible sliding mechanisms. The analysis provided an improved assessment of dam safety and identified the most critical failure mechanisms.
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