A Prismatic Finite Element for Accurate Arch Dam Analysis
The displacements and stresses in arch dams and their abutments are frequently determined with 20-node brick elements. The elements are distorted near the contact plane between the wall and the abutment. A cantilever beam testbed has been developed to investigate the consequences of this distortion. It is shown that the deterioration of the accuracy in the computed stresses is significant. A compatible 18-node wedge element with linear stress variation is developed as an alternative to the brick element. The shape of this element type is readily adapted to the shape of the contact plane. It is shown that the accuracy of the computed stresses in the vicinity of the contact plane is improved significantly by the use of wedge elements.
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