There are several different techniques available which allow one to examine the non-linear seismic behaviour of concrete arch dams. The most popular is the discrete crack (DC) method. Another option available for this purpose, is the elasto-plastic (ELPL) approach. In this study, a special finite element program is developed based on the combined discrete crack and elasto-plastic (DC-ELPL) technique. The basic concepts of the method are explained initially. Following on from this, the non-linear dynamic behaviour of a typical thin arch dam is considered based on this approach, and the results are compared against the alternative, simpler, methods mentioned above. Overall, the DC-ELPL model is found to be a more consistent and realistic approach from different aspects in comparison with both DC and ELPL models alone.

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