Full‐scale dynamic testing and analysis of a reservoir intake tower

W. E. Daniell*, C. A. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Dynamic tests were conducted on a 50 m high intake tower at Wimbleball dam in the U.K. The results were compared against predictions from a corresponding numerical model. The aim of this work was to validate the assumption that the compressibility of the reservoir water is not a significant factor in the seismic analysis of intake towers. Three sets of tests were conducted on different occasions with different water levels in the reservoir. In the first two tests, modal characteristics of the tower were determined from the measured responses under ambient, hammer and human excitation. These results were used in planning the final set of tests where rotating eccentric mass exciters were used to vibrate the tower. Structural accelerations and hydrodynamic pressures were measured over the height of the tower for three important bending modes of vibration. The finite element method was used to develop a numerical model for Wimbleball tower. The tower was discretized with traditional solid elements and the reservoir with incompressible fluid elements. This model was analysed to predict the modal characteristics and harmonic responses of the tower and reservoir under the various conditions imposed during the dynamic tests. Theoretical predictions of the tower's accelerations and hydrodynamic pressures in the reservoir were compared against the test results. Excellent agreement was found for the natural frequencies and mode shapes while predictions of the harmonic responses were only fair. The observed responses of the tower and reservoir support the assumption that reservoir compressibility is not a significant factor in the seismic analysis of towers of this size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1237
Number of pages19
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994

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