From the most fabulous and significant structures man has invented are dams.These are the means of development of nations civilizations. In particular are concrete dams with their gray velvet-surfaced body standing firmly midst soaring mountains and deep valleys. They symbolize the heavy presence of man in the texture of nature. During their so-far rather short history of service lives concrete dams have proven significant safety with high versatility in totally unexpected environmental events.
Thanks to the newly developed numerical techniques, ever-increasing hardware capacities, and lessons learnt within this very short period, eventually in recent 20 years the quality of design and analysis have tremendously evolved. Not only the linear stress analysis under static and dynamic external loads is carried out at the size of tens or even hundreds of thousand of degrees of freedom, but also nowadays the nonlinear analysis has emerged as the universal practice in engineering bureaus. Interaction analysis of dam-reservoir-foundation is trivial.
Nonlinear joint-opening, crack propagation, as well as material plasticity is well known in research circles and valuable achievements is now gained. However quite ambiguous phenomena such as thermo-elasticity in young concrete masses, hydro-mechanical interaction both in dam body and in its foundation, alkali-reaction process, high-head water intrusion in micro and macro cracks for very high dams appearing in future engineering challenges are to be added to the set of issues quantitatively demanding for research. In this paper these are mainly addressed and described as studied both in the international and in the national arenas.