A non-linear finite element analysis technique has been used to simulate the cracking and sliding mechanisms of a dam-foundation interface subjected to uplift pressure. Different uplift pressure distributions, as used in the traditional design calculations, have been considered to investigate the sensitivity of sliding resistance to the applied reservoir water pressure. Special finite element formulations, used to undertake this exercise, are briefly introduced in this paper. Results obtained from finite element analysis models have been compared with those derived by using the traditional rigid body equilibrium method of gravity dam design and analysis. The results of this comparative study highlight the importance of considering advanced numerical simulation tools for assessing the sliding resistance of concrete gravity dams.

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