Probabilistic Analysis of Failures Mechanisms of Large Dams

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Risk and reliability analysis is presently being performed in almost all fields of engineering depending upon the specific field and its particular area. Probabilistic risk analysis (PRA), also called quantitative risk analysis (QRA) is a central feature of hydraulic engineering structural design. Actually, probabilistic methods, which consider resistance and load parameters as random variables, are more suitable than conventional deterministic methods to determine the safety level of a hydraulic structure. In fact, hydraulic variables involved in hydraulic structures, such as discharge, flow depth and velocity, are stochastic in nature, which maybe represented by relevant probability distributions. Therefore, the optimal design of hydraulic structures needs to be modelled by probabilistic methods. Reliability analysis methods are being adopted for use to develop risk management programs. Implementing the programs will ensure that safety is maintained to a robust and acceptable level. Any simple reliability analysis should include the following steps: The main work carried out relates to three different subjects in the general area of dam structures failure. These included the probabilistic methods work on: o Geometry of plunge pool downstream of flip bucket spillway o Evaluation of superelevation in open channel bends o Hydrodynamic loading on buildings by floods 1. Geometry of plunge pool downstream of flip bucket spillway Extreme scouring can gradually undermine the foundations of structures such as spillway and body dams and the areas downstream of dams. Extensive plunge pools downstream of flip bucket spillway structures, which are caused by jets of different configurations, form an important field of research. The plunge pool mechanism is more complex because of difficulties arising from the modelling of bed rock and sediment load flow in and around the scour hole caused by the jet effect of the flow downstream of flip bucket spillway. The experimental study of plunge pool has been limited to the consideration of variables involved in the plunge pool geometry. The reliability-based assessment of the geometry of the plunge pool downstream of a flip bucket spillway. Experimental data obtained from a model of a flip bucket spillway has been used to develop a number of equations for the prediction of scour geometry downstream from a flip bucket spillway of a large dam structure. The accuracy of the developed equations was examined both through statistical and experimental procedures with satisfactory results. 2. Evaluation of superelevation in open channel bends The so-called centrifugal force caused by flow around a curve results in a rise in the water surface at the outside wall and a depression of the surface along the inside wall. This phenomenon is called superelevation. The problems associated with flow through open channel bends deserve special attention in hydraulic engineering. Water surface slopes have been frequently reported to be a function of the curvature. But due to the difficulties in operation, the theoretical basis of superelevation has been discussed in depth in the literature. Furthermore, experience indicates that existing theory does not lead to good results at the present status. Superelevation in the Ziaran Flume (Iran) has led to severe erosion of the bank and has undermined the structure. Therefore, this study aims to cast light on the cause of overtopping by superelevation. By means of direct observation on the flume’s hydraulic performance, during full discharge, and from generalization of the field data, a more reliable prediction method of the magnitude of superelevation has become possible. The probabilistic analysis is shown to have several advantages in comparison with deterministic analysis methods. 3. Hydrodynamic loadings on buildings by floods Assessing the vulnerability of buildings in flood-prone areas is a key issue when evaluating the risk induced by flood events, particularly because of its proved direct influence on the loss of life during catastrophes. Hydrodynamic loads are caused by water flowing along, against and around a structural element or system. Hydrodynamic loads are basically of the lateral type and are related to direct impulsive loads by the moving mass of water, and to drag forces as the water flows around the obstruction. Where application of hydrodynamic loads is required, the loads shall be calculated or estimated by recognized engineering and reliable methods. A comprehensive methodology for risk assessment of buildings subjected to flooding is nevertheless still missing. A new set of experiments has been performed in this thesis with the aim of shedding more light on dynamics of flood induced loads and their effects on buildings with state of the art benchmarks. In this research, an overview is given of flood induced load on buildings, the new experimental work is then presented, together with results from preliminary analysis. Initial results suggest that use of existing prediction methods might be unsafe and that impulsive loading might be critical for both the assessment of the vulnerability of existing structures and the design of new flood-proof buildings. The research presented in this thesis is focused on developing and applying probabilistic design, safety, system reliability and risk based design in the field of hydraulic structures design in the open channel bends, plunge pool downstream of flip bucket spillway and dam break analysis. Probabilistic design approach is a powerful tool in reliability assessment of civil hydraulic engineering. Uncertainty and risk are central features of hydraulic engineering. Hydraulic design is subject to uncertainties due to the randomness of natural phenomena, data sample limitations and errors, modelling reliability and operational variability. Uncertainties can be measured in terms of the probability density function, confidence interval, or statistical moment such as standard deviation or coefficient of variation of the stochastic parameters. Outcomes from this thesis are beneficial to the design of hydraulic structures in many ways; not only minimizing cost, but also educating and providing valuable knowledge for structural operators. Probabilistic methods and reliability analysis can increase the quality and value of the achievements compared to traditional dam engineering approaches. Since the goal is to avoid the dam failures by reducing risk to almost zero with optimum cost, dam safety risk analysis has a key role in modern dam safety programs. It is hoped that illustrations provided in this thesis are applicable to other civil engineering structures of similar concerns.