Three-Dimensional Bearing Capacity Analysis of Rock Foundations Subjected to Complicated Loadings, Case Study: Shafaroud Dam

Document Type : Research Article


1 Civil and Environmental Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

2 Geotechnical Engineering Group, Amirkabir University of Technology, Garmsar, Iran

3 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


The effect of seepage on bearing capacity of soils was investigated by different researchers, while this special subject in the field of rock foundations has not been thoroughly investigated by researchers. Moreover, rock foundations are commonly required for large structures, like bridges and dams in which, seepage forces exist. Because of the complicated loading conditions of such large structures, using the simple available 2D methods for determining the bearing capacity may not give accurate results. In this paper, the ultimate bearing capacity of rock masses subjected to complicated loadings was investigated using 3D finite element method. A case study of Shafaroud concrete dam, which is under construction on a rock mass, was considered and the effect of seepage through the rock foundation was investigated using the numerical models. The bearing capacity was obtained by applying an incremental stress to the bedding rock mass. For improving the accuracy of the obtained bearing capacity, the area of the rock mass in contact with the dam base was divided into some parts and uniform incremental stresses were applied to each part. This method results in the highest possible accuracy in obtaining the bearing capacity of dam foundations. The comparison of the obtained results and the available solutions show good conformity among them. The suggested method is an appropriate guideline for determining the ultimate bearing capacity of foundations with complicated geometry and loading conditions.


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