The deformation mechanism of a high rockfill dam during the construction and first impounding

Document Type: Article


Geotechnical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


The Masjed-e-Soleyman dam is a high rockfill dam with clay core, located in Iran. During construction and first impounding, a considerably high excess pore water pressure has been developed inside the core and has been being dissipated with a very slow rate, so the consolidation deformations have been insignificant. However, there have been reports of noticeable internal deformations in the dam, the crest has also exhibited quick settlements during the first impounding. The main objective of this paper was to identify the deformation mechanism of this dam. For this purpose, the data recorded by its instruments were carefully studied and then a three-dimensional numerical model of the dam was developed. The mechanical behavior of materials was idealized by a hardening strain constitutive model. A numerical method was proposed, based on this constitutive model and Rowe’s stress–dilatancy theory, to simulate the deformation behavior of coarse-grained materials, like rockfills, due to particle size distribution, particle breakage, rotation, and rearrangement under shearing. The results show that significant development of pore pressure in the core and its insignificant dissipation, plastic shear deformations inside the core and extensive collapse settlements of the upstream shell are the main causes influencing the deformation mechanism.


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