Civil Engineering · Dams · Temple university

Structure: Dams

As a Civil Engineer, I am always interested in any structure Such as, Bridges, Buildings and Dams. Each structure has its own purpose and goal in the end of the day which is the reason why it makes Civil Engineering very fulfilling. However, one of the most interesting structures that serves a goal in water management are Dams. The main purpose of Dams is used as a barrier against water resulting in raising the level of the fluids and also used to generate electricity using that excess of water. The creation of Dams is not possible without doing the Necessary engineering analysis using fluid mechanics.

Fluid mechanics is used to understand the properties of different fluids and reactions to forces. Before starting building a Dam, Engineers need to examine the pressure of the water, shape of the Dam, the materiel used for the Dam structure and other factors. The calculation of a Dam has to result on a static relationship with the Dam resisting the pressure of water with equal force. The pressure acting on a Dam can be calculated using this Equation:


As w is the gravity of the Dam, H is the height of the water level on a Dam. This may look simple to calculate, but this is the first step to calculating for Dams with the last step being to find the resultant thrust because of the applied pressure on the Dam. The shape of Dams may come as simple as a rectangular shape or a weird shape such as, trapezoidal Dams. Rectangular shaped are the easiest to calculate for the resultant thrust of the Dam but, for trapezoidal shapes you have to consider a different area and angle of the weight of a trapezoidal. The famous Hoover Dam in Nevada has a shape of trapezoidal Dam. Also, Three Gorges Dam in China one of the largest river and electricity generator has a close shape of a rectangular Dam. Lastly, the materials used are an important factor on building a Dam. Civil Engineers must choose the best materiel from concrete to masonry and combination with other materials such as, rubber, steel and plastic.



One thought on “Structure: Dams

  1. Hey, I’m your new fluids TA, Mike Mahoney! Your post about dams was pretty good! You went into a nice amount of detail about dams and even provided an equation as to how engineers can figure out how they need to appropriately design the dams. For future blog posts, I would recommend a couple of things. The first thing I would suggest is to proofread your posts. Some parts of the post seemed to have slight errors with the grammar. Plus, proofreading posts makes great practice for the professional world. Second, I would include some visuals, such as: different dam designs, drawings, etc. if possible. Other than that, great work!


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