Numerical simulations of thermal loads exerted on dams by laterally confined ice covers

Authors: Kharik, Ekaterina
Advisor: Morse, Brian
Abstract: Hydroelectric dams are subjected to ice loads in cold climates. Withstanding such loads is an important safety requirement for the structures. Although dams have been built and operated by different countries for many years, there is no consensus on a design ice load criteria. Design values vary considerably – by more than 3 times from one international authority to another. The complex nature of ice loads involves many factors and uncertainties that still prevent the full understanding of ice field processes in spite of much progress done in this direction. This doctoral research aims to give new insights into reservoir ice loads, and, thus, to move forward the objective of harmonization of ice load design criteria. The main approach of this research is a compilation of existing models of ice material behaviour and their inclusion in the numerical simulation of key historical ice load events measured in Canada. A construction of a numerical model begins with a choice of key processes and key assumptions as well as material models to include. Therefore, a comprehensive literature review on the topic is required. During the project, diverse literature on ice material behaviour was reviewed. This thesis describes a 3D creep material model for rheological behaviour of two types of ice, namely columnar (S2) ice and snow (T1) ice. The constructed model can be implemented into software to simulate behaviour of ice under the static loads. In this project, the commercial software ANSYS was used for this purpose to build a finite element model (FEM) for simulations of field events. After the FEM was built, it was validated and calibrated against laboratory experiments taken from the literature. Subsequently, the resulting FEM was used for simulation of key Canadian field events. Only thermal expansion of ice was simulated by the FEM with indirect accounting of the impact of water level fluctuations through the modelling of ice cover under lateral confinement. The influence of different factors on the simulated ice load was studied, namely, the influence (i) of selected material constants, (ii) of lateral confinement, (iii) of grain size and of delayed elastic creep, (iv) of variable or constant coefficient of thermal dilatation, (v) of ice type, (vi) of initial stresses as well as (vii) the influence of ice behaviour in tension. The advice and guidelines for the choice and implementation of a creep material model into commercial finite element software are also given. The thesis is based on studies conducted for two conference papers and one journal paper. The thesis includes introduction to the ice loads on dams, objectives of the project, literature reviews on governing ice loading processes, on material properties of two types of ice of frequent occurrence on a reservoir and on modelling of ice behaviour as well as field data presentation, model description, yet unpublished studies, conclusion and recommendations. The thesis discusses the linkage between laboratory experiments on ice and in situ measurements of reservoir ice loads on dams through the numerical modelling of field events. It documents the fact that delayed elastic creep has a limited effect on the resulting ice load for grain sizes of 3 mm – 20 mm, and its calculation can be omitted in approximate assessments of field ice loads for ice cover with these average grain sizes. It is also shown that variability of coefficient of thermal dilatation of ice with temperature is not important for the temperature range studied. The importance of initial conditions and ice behaviour in tension for the resulting ice load is also shown. The thesis emphasizes the importance of correct accounting of lateral confinement and ice type for ice load calculations. It is shown that when water level rises and the ice is confined laterally, if the reservoir consists primarily of columnar ice, the loads can be very substantial. As such, it is recommended that engineers pay particular attention to the possibility of having cold dry winters with little snow accumulations on an ice cover (favorable conditions for columnar ice formation) when choosing their design criteria.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2018
Open Access Date: 23 May 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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