n Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering = Joernaal van die Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut van Siviele Ingenieurswese - A review of the classical method of design of medium height gravity dams and aspects of base shortening with uplift : technical paper

Volume 48, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1021-2019



The paper reviews the classical approach to the stability of gravity dams, founded on a linear variation of total stresses across the wall base, or across a shortened base when the upstream effective stress in tension exceeds a critical tensile stress. Formulae for base shortening with uplift are presented, which can indicate the extent to which base shortening will proceed. The gross ineffectiveness of post-grouted non-prestressed anchor bars in countering uplift in upstream cracks is shown. The erroneous nature of the reactive stress equations as adopted by most dam engineers in South Africa and elsewhere is demonstrated. The classical approach is simple and useful in providing an understanding of gravity dam wall behaviour on good uniform sound rock foundations; it remains the most common initial approach in use worldwide.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error