Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Bravo, Dr. Rolando


Dam failure mechanism produces the rapidly varied unsteady flow situation and the appropriate analysis to determine the flow condition is necessary. Over the world, more than 80,000 dams were constructed. There have been more than 200 distinguished dam failures occurred within the twentieth century. The history of dam construction exists together with the probability of dam failure causing casualties and catastrophic situations. As climate change effect has caused the change in flow situations, the safety concern in the dam is also necessary. Casualties and damages due to dam break events depend upon the depth, flow velocity, population distribution as per geography and warning time related to the time to reach the peak flow to the downstream areas. Prediction of actual breaching scenario is not certain and is related to the geographical and geological features of the site, embankment type, type of breach, reservoir storage and flow conditions. Estimating the accurate breaching scenarios and modeling of the dam break situation to characterize the hydrodynamic risk is necessary. Among the numerous techniques of modeling dam break situation, this study focused on the use of HEC-RAS for analyzing the dam break situation. Most of the simulation of a dam break situation used one-dimensional analysis to solve flow conditions after the break of the dam. The Latest development of HEC-RAS 2D capabilities is also used in conjunction with 1D HEC-RAS dam break analysis to compare and explore both analysis capabilities of HEC-RAS. The effect of HEC-RAS simulation altering the breaching conditions is analyzed for the dam failure case of Big Bay dam located in Lamar County, Mississippi. The study area is chosen to obtain the simulation of piping dam failure, which was the real cause of the dam failure event. In addition, the overtopping failure parameters established by the different breaching regression equations were analyzed. Results obtained with both one- dimensional and two- dimensional analysis is compared along with the modeling procedure and concept of analysis. From the analysis, it is found that the time of peak water surface elevation and its magnitude is responsible in determining the extent of vulnerable areas to the dam break scenarios. The present study showed the variation in peak flow condition between different breach parameters. Breach bottom width found to be more sensitive parameters in dam failure events. HEC-RAS analysis is found to be suitable to predict the uncertain hydraulic behavior of dam break situation.




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