Thermal cracking of a concrete arch dam: Microplane approach

Shervin Shahriari, Florian Lora, Gerald Zenz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper


Dams in cold climates are subjected to significant temperature variations throughout their long service life. This, along with restraint of volume changes, can lead to the development of high stresses and possibly cracking. This study presents finite element (FE) analyses of a concrete arch dam subjected to the seasonal temperature variations in northern Sweden. In this study, the concrete dam is modelled considering linear as well as non-linear material behavior subjected to gravity, static and thermal loads. In the non-linear analysis, concrete was modelled with microplane material model. Also, in the non-linear analysis, the contact between the dam and the foundation was modelled with the frictional contact contrary to the linear analysis where this contact is modelled with multipoint constraint approach. The results showed that the dam undergoes significant displacements due to the thermal load and the tensile stresses have exceeded the tensile strength of the concrete in a large portion of the dam body. This resulted in development of prominent cracks at the downstream surface of the dam.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication14th ICOLD International Benchmark Workshop on Numerical Analysis of Dams
EditorsRichard Malm, Manouchehr Hassanzadeh , Rikard Hellgren
PublisherKTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering Division of Building Materials, SE-100 44 Stockholm
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event14th International ICOLD Benchmark Workshop on Numerical Analysis of Dams: ICOLD 2017 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 6 Sept 20178 Sept 2017

Publication series



Workshop14th International ICOLD Benchmark Workshop on Numerical Analysis of Dams


  • Thermal
  • structural
  • Concrete arch dam
  • Microplane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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