Comparison of three dimensional and two dimensional axisymmetric finite element analyses of a corner section of a tailings dam

Document Type: Article

Authors

1 Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering, Science and Technology, Nawabshah

2 Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering

3 Luleå University of Technology, SE-97187 Luleå, Sweden

4 Fortum, Power Division, Renewable Energy, Våxnäsgatan 10, Karlstad, Sweden

Abstract

This paper presents three dimensional (3D) and two dimensional (2D) axisymmetric finite element analyses of a corner of a tailings dam. The analyses were performed to: (i) locate tension and/or low compression zones and to evaluate slope stability during sequential raising of the dam corner, and (ii) find whether the results of 2D axisymmetric analyses can be reliable for the dam corner. The corner is a potentially weak section of the dam where tension and/or low compression zones may develop. Development of such zones inside the dam corner can lead to cracks and initiation of internal erosion. The results of both the 3D and 2D axisymmetric analyses indicated that (i) tension and/or low compression zones were located in vicinity of surface of the dam corner mainly above the phreatic level, and (ii) the dam corner is stable up to the planned height if it is gradually strengthened with rockfill berms on the downstream side. The results of 2D axisymmetric analyses showed a fairly good agreement with those of 3D analyses. It is concluded that 2D axisymmetric analyses are appropriate for this dam corner. This implies that significant computational time can be saved by utilizing 2D analyses instead of 3D analyses.

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