Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering


David S. Bowles


The growing application of risk analysis in dam safety, especially for the owners of large numbers of dams (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), has motivated the development of a new tool (DAMRAE) for event tree based dam safety risk analysis. Various theoretical challenges were overcome in formulating the computational framework of DAMRAE and several new computational concepts were introduced. The concepts of Connectivity and Pedigree matrices are proposed to quantify the user-drawn event tree structures with proper accounting of interdependencies among the event tree branches. A generic calculation of Common-Cause Adjustment for the non-mutually exclusive failure modes is implemented along with introducing the new concepts of system response probability and consequence freezing. New output presentation formats such as cumulative risk estimate vs. initiating variable plots to analyze the increase of an incremental (annualized) risk estimate as a function of initiating variable are introduced. An additional consideration is given to the non-breach risk estimates in the risk modeling and new output formats such as non-breach F-N and F-$ charts are included as risk analysis outputs.

DAMRAE, a Visual Basic.NET based framework, provides a convenient platform to structure the risk assessment of a dam in its existing state and for alternatives or various stages of implementing a risk reduction plan. The second chapter of the dissertation presents the architectural framework of DAMRAE and describes the underlying theoretical and computational logic employed in the software. An example risk assessment is presented in the third chapter to demonstrate the DAMRAE functionalities.

In the fourth chapter, the DAMRAE framework is extended into DAMRAE-U to incorporate uncertainty analysis functionality. Various aspects and requirements reviewed for uncertainty analysis in the context of dam safety risk assessment and theoretical challenges overcome to develop the computational framework for DAMRAE-U are described in this chapter. The capabilities of DAMRAE-U are illustrated in the fifth chapter, which contains an example dam safety risk assessment with uncertainty analysis. The dissertation concludes with a summary of DAMRAE features and recommendations for further work in the sixth chapter.