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An Approach for Quantifying the Influence of Seepage Dissolution on Seismic Performance of Concrete Dams

Shaowei Wang1,2, Cong Xu1, Hao Gu3,*, Pinghua Zhu1, Hui Liu1, Bo Xu4
1 School of Environmental and Safety Engineering, Changzhou University, Changzhou, 213164, China
2 State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing, 210029, China
3 State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, 210098, China
4 College of Hydraulic Science and Engineering, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, 225009, China
* Corresponding Author: Hao Gu. Email:

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2022, 131(1), 97-117.

Received 13 August 2021; Accepted 28 October 2021; Issue published 24 January 2022


Many concrete dams seriously suffer from long-term seepage dissolution, and the induced mechanical property deterioration of concrete may significantly affect the structural performance, especially the seismic safety. An approach is presented in this paper to quantify the influence of seepage dissolution on seismic performance of concrete dams. To connect laboratory test with numerical simulation, dissolution tests are conducted for concrete specimens and using the cumulative relative leached calcium as an aging index, a deterioration model is established to predict the mechanical property of leached concrete in the first step. A coupled seepage-calcium dissolution-migration model containing two calculation modes is proposed to simulate the spatially non-uniform deterioration of concrete dams. Based on the simulated state of a roller compacted concrete dam subjected to 100 years of seepage dissolution, seismic responses of the dam are subsequently analyzed. During which the nonlinear cracking of concrete, the radiation damping of the far-field foundation is considered. Research results show that seepage dissolution will seriously weaken the seismic safety of concrete dams because of the dissolution-induced decrease of effective thickness of the dam body. The upstream surface, dam toe and gallery wall suffer from a large degree of dissolution, whereas it is minimal and basically the same inside the dam body, at a degree of 0.19% within 100 years. The horizontal displacements of dam crest under the design static load and fortification against earthquake increase by 6.9% and 21.9%, respectively, and the dissolution-induced seismic cracking leads to the failure of dam anti-seepage system. This study can provide engineers with a reference basis for reinforcement decision of old concrete dams.


Concrete dams; seepage dissolution; deterioration prediction model; seismic performance; failure mode

Cite This Article

Wang, S., Xu, C., Gu, H., Zhu, P., Liu, H. et al. (2022). An Approach for Quantifying the Influence of Seepage Dissolution on Seismic Performance of Concrete Dams. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 131(1), 97–117.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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