Concrete Dams as a Structures – Coursework Example

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper "Concrete Dams as Structures" is an exceptional example of coursework on engineering and construction. Concrete dams are hydraulic structures constructed using masonry stones or concrete. These dams are designed to store water by using only their material weight to resist horizontal water pressure. These dams are designed to ensure that each component is not only stable but also independent of any other component. There are several types of concrete dams, which are grouped according to how they transfer hydrostatic pressure. They include Buttress dams, Arch dams, and gravity dams.

Gravity dams are structures made from concrete, and that use the strength and mass of the construction material and their geometric shape to resist design loads. They can be constructed in a curved, straight, or angled manner depending on the site condition and the design specifications. Earthquakes are a natural or manmade disaster that produces energy within the earth’ s crust produces seismic waves. For decades, earthquakes have had adverse effects on a number of large dams. They can cause catastrophic failures thus the design of gravity dams using finite element analysis and seismic analysis has become critical. Essentially when designing a concrete gravity dam one should meet the following general criteria. The design should ensure that the dam is safe from the risk of overturning at any of its horizontal positions in contact with the foundation of the dam or located in the foundation itself. The dam should safe from any form of sliding that may occur within any part of its horizontal plane, at the point of contact with the foundation or within the foundation's geological features. The components of the structures should be designed to be proportional enough that allowable stresses experienced by the foundation of the dam and the concrete used are not exceeded. Loading To ensure that the dam is safe has to be checked ageist all the classes of loadings.

These types include primary, secondary, and exceptional loading. Primary loads are applicable in all types of structures and are considered the most important type of loading in the dam and example is dead loads. Secondary loads are categorized as discretional loads and are of lesser importance than the primary loads. Examples of secondary loads are thermal stresses. Exceptional are loads that are fewer likes to occur.

They are designed in special cases or when the site conditions necessities. An example is an earthquake or seismic activity. When designing a concrete gravity dam, the designer should first evaluate the type of loads that can act on the structure. There are several types namely temperature, dead weight, sand and silt, ice, internal hydraulic pressure, earthquake, hydraulic pressure from the reservoir, and the tailwater. The Dead loads include the weight of the body of the gravity dam structure together with the bridge and pier gates.

The pressure created by water that is at the upstream part of the dam is described as hydraulic pressure from the reservoir. The pressure created by water at the downstream part of the dam is described as hydraulic pressure from the tail of the water.


Krishnamoorthy, C S. Finite Element Analysis: Theory and Programming. New Delhi [u.a.: Tata McGraw-Hill, 1995. Print.

Ramamurty, G. Applied Finite Element Analysis. S.l.: I K International Pub. House Pvt, 2010. Print.

Szabo, B A, and Ivo Babuška. Finite Element Analysis. New York: Wiley, 1991. Print.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us