Located in Itabira, Minas Gerais, the Itabirucu Dam contains one of Brazil’s largest tailings impoundments and has undergone several phased constructions to raise the crest level. The last construction phase was implemented in 2019 for the dam to reach its maximum elevation of 850 meters, only to be halted due to the observation of cracks. The owner requested additional site investigation to determine the cause of the cracks and hired BVP to review the designers’ numerical model. BVP wanted to develop their own numerical model and simulate the stress history of the dam.
They selected PLAXIS 2D for the historical simulation to approximate the dam’s stress, then simulated the construction of each raising, including the final raising. Using Bentley’s application, they accurately predicted the deformation behavior and digitally reproduced the cracking pattern observed on site. The results contributed to the removal of the dam’s emergency level, and construction and operations were reauthorized.
Going Digital Awards in Infrastructure for
Progressive Failure Evaluation of Itabiruçu Dam
BVP Geotecnia e Hidrotecnia Itabira, Minas Gerais, Brazil