Published in Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics Vol. 25 (9), pp. 987-1010, 1996
In this paper a rate‐dependent isotropic damage model developed for the numerical analysis of concrete dams subjected to seismic excitation is presented. The model is shown to incorporate two features essential for seismic analysis: stiffness degradation and stiffness recovery upon load reversals and strain‐rate sensitivity. The issue of mesh objectivity is addressed using the concept of the ‘characteristic length’ of the fracture zone, to show that both the softening modulus and the fluidity parameter must depend on it to provide consistent results as the computational mesh is refined. Some aspects of the numerical implementation of the model are also treated, to show that the model can be easily incorporated in any standard non‐linear finite element code. The application of the proposed model to the seismic analysis of a large gravity concrete dam shows that the structural response may vary significantly in terms of the development of damage. The inclusion of rate sensitivity is able to reproduce the experimental observation that the tensile peak strength of concrete can be increased up to 50 percent for the range of strain rates that appear in a structural safety analysis of a dam subjected to severe seismic actions.
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