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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2017, Article ID 9856938, 12 pages
Research Article

An Interactive Tool for Automatic Predimensioning and Numerical Modeling of Arch Dams

1International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE), Pº  Gral. Martínez Campos, 41, 9ºIzq., 28010 Madrid, Spain
2Jesús Granell Ingenieros Consultores, SL, Madrid, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to F. Salazar; ude.cpu.enmic@razalasf

Received 13 December 2016; Accepted 1 March 2017; Published 22 March 2017

Academic Editor: Roman Wendner

Copyright © 2017 D. J. Vicente et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The construction of double-curvature arch dams is an attractive solution from an economic viewpoint due to the reduced volume of concrete necessary for their construction as compared to conventional gravity dams. Due to their complex geometry, many criteria have arisen for their design. However, the most widespread methods are based on recommendations of traditional technical documents without taking into account the possibilities of computer-aided design. In this paper, an innovative software tool to design FEM models of double-curvature arch dams is presented. Several capabilities are allowed: simplified geometry creation (interesting for academic purposes), preliminary geometrical design, high-detailed model construction, and stochastic calculation performance (introducing uncertainty associated with material properties and other parameters). This paper specially focuses on geometrical issues describing the functionalities of the tool and the fundamentals of the design procedure with regard to the following aspects: topography, reference cylinder, excavation depth, crown cantilever thickness and curvature, horizontal arch curvature, excavation and concrete mass volume, and additional elements such as joints or spillways. Examples of application on two Spanish dams are presented and the results obtained analyzed.