Improved Prediction of Hydrodynamic Loads on Spillway Gates

Project ID: 1836
Principal Investigator: Josh Mortensen
Research Topic: Improving Geotechnical Infrastructure Reliability
Funded Fiscal Years: 2018
Keywords: None

Research Question

A more accurate solution is needed to predict hydrodynamic loads on spillway gates for design, especially for those in seismically active areas. Current methods use simplified hydrodynamic and inertia assumptions which can lead to over or under design of new gates, unnecessary modifications to existing gates and unreliable risk assessment guidelines. Results from this study will decrease uncertainty in assumptions and improve design guidance by using physical hydrodynamic data in conjunction with numerical FEA tools. While there is some overlap with an ongoing Dam Safety Project, this study will focus on various spillway gate geometries which are expected to produce different hydrodynamic loads.

Need and Benefit

Current dynamic stability analyses of spillway gates on dams can be grossly incorrect based on the use of simplified hydrodynamic and inertia assumptions. End results from these oversimplifications can be very expensive and can be the grounds for unnecessary modifications to existing gates, overdesign of new gates, or provide unreliable risk assessment guidelines.

Ongoing and future projects of large gate modifications would benefit from this study including Shasta Dam (dam raise), Yellowtail Dam, Buffalo Bill Dam, Folsom Joint Federal Project (auxiliary control structure), and Folsom Dam Raise (under consideration).

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Improved Prediction of Hydrodynamic Loads on Dams and Spillway Gates (final, PDF, 4.2MB)
By Josh Mortensen
Report completed on December 31, 2018

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Return to Research Projects

Last Updated: 6/22/20