Traditionally the dynamic reservoir effects in a dam reservoir system are approximated using the added mass approach. In this paper, the staggered displacement method is used for three-dimensional dam reservoir problems in time domain. The dam reservoir system can be categorised as a coupled field system in which two physical systems of fluid and structure interact only at the domain’s interface. The staggered displacement method is based on the approximation of the displacement from the structure’s equation of motion. The method is unconditionally stable when the two differential equations of the fluid and structure include damping term.

The main object of this paper is to employ the staggered displacement method for three-dimensional analysis of concrete dams in time domain. The effect of absorption of reservoir boundaries is accounted for and the effect of a truncated boundary is also accounted for by the Sharan boundary condition. Morrow Point dam in Colorado, US, has been chosen to investigate the accuracy and stability of the method in three-dimensional problems. The proposed staggered method is found to be stable and quite accurate when compared with the existing frequency domain solution.

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