Performance Based Earthquake Engineering and Fragility of Dams

Includes a Live Event on 11/16/2021 at 10:00 AM (MST)

Although the potential failure mode analysis (PFMA) is an standard and well accepted method in Dam Engineering, the complementary one, i.e., performance based earthquake engineering (PBEE) is widely used in building, nuclear, and bridge industries. While these two approaches have some similarities, the PBEE quantifies the results of numerical simulation in a more rational way and ultimately presents results it in the form of seismic fragility curves (SFC). A SFC is a sigmoid type curve in which the horizontal axis present the uncertain variable (e.g., peak ground acceleration or first-mode spectral acceleration), and the vertical one could be probability of exceedance of a particular "limit state" (such as tensile stress or crest displacement). The SFC is one of the final products in PBEE which is very useful for both engineers, managers, and dam owners. It provides a direct connection with loss model elements (e.g., monetary loss, fatalities, and downtime), and is a great asset for risk-based safety assessment of dams.

Developing SFC requires some knowledge about: (1) finite element model development, (2) different uncertainties sources in a typical case study dam, (3) different probabilistic analyses techniques and their differences, (4) optimal model development as the dam-foundation-water system is computationally expensive, and (5) developing the SFC using the raw data from structural simulations. 

This workshop will briefly cover all these topics and will provide a rich step by step framework for dam engineers on their journey to develop and interpret the seismic fragility curves. 

The application of probabilistic methods and fragility functions in Dam engineering seems to be inevitable. Therefore, we expect attendees with medium level of experience in structural engineering, earthquake engineering, dam safety, and even geothectical engineering.  

Eligible for 4 PDHs

Brought to you in part by  


Dr. Amin Hariri



Dr. Amin Hariri is a researcher at NIST and also an affiliated researcher and lecturer at the University of Colorado Boulder and University of Maryland College Park. He has 15+ years of experience in advanced numerical analysis of infrastructures (more specifically dams). He is an expert in probabilistic risk-based safety evaluation, uncertainty quantification and applied machine learning in structural and earthquake engineering. He is YP Vice Chair of Dam Safety Committee, and also Chair of Academic Research Collaboration Subcommittee (E&T Committee) at USSD. He is currently responsible to develop "a generalized uncertainty quantification and risk analysis for critical infrastructures" at NIST. 

Dr. Hariri and Prof. Saouma have together more than 100 publications in Dam Engineering with over 3000 citations. Their team is currently one of pioneers in probabilistic analysis and uncertainty quantification of dams in the world. 

They recently published a book by Springer-Nature on A-to-Z analysis of concrete dams and nuclear structures. The book is written in 36 chapter and 1100+ pages and covers a wide range of theoretical and applied contents in analysis and assessment of dams. Link: 


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Online Workshop
11/16/2021 at 10:00 AM (MST)   |  300 minutes
11/16/2021 at 10:00 AM (MST)   |  300 minutes
2 Questions
PDH Certificate
4.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
4.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available