Experimental evaluation of crack effects on the dynamic characteristics of a prototype arch dam using ambient vibration tests

SEVİM B., ALTUNIŞIK A. C., Bayraktar A.

COMPUTERS AND CONCRETE, vol.10, no.3, pp.277-294, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.277-294
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The aim of the study is to determine the modal parameters of a prototype damaged arch dam by operational modal analysis (OMA) method for some damage scenarios. For this purpose, a prototype arch dam-reservoir-foundation model is constructed under laboratory conditions. Ambient vibration tests on the arch dam model are performed to identify the modal parameters such as natural frequency, mode shape and damping ratio. The tests are conducted for four test-case scenarios: an undamaged dam with empty reservoir, two different damaged dams with empty reservoirs, and a damaged dam with full reservoir. Loading simulating random impact effects is applied on the dam to crack. Cracks and fractures occurred at the middle of the upper part of the dams and distributed through the abutments. Sensitivity accelerometers are placed on the dams' crests to collect signals for measurements. Operational modal analysis software processes the signals collected from the ambient vibration tests, and enhanced frequency domain decomposition and stochastic subspace identification techniques are used to estimate modal parameters of the dams. The modal parameters are obtained to establish a basis for comparison of the results of two techniques for each damage case. Results show that approximately 35-40% difference exists between the natural frequencies obtained from Case 1 and Case 4. The natural frequencies of the dam considerably decrease with increasing cracks. However, observation shows that the filled reservoir slightly affected modal parameters of the darn after severe cracking. The mode shapes obtained are symmetrical and anti-symmetrical. Apparently, mode shapes in Case I represent the probable responses of arch dams more accurately. Also, damping ratio show an increase when cracking increases.