Improved Prediction of Seismically Induced Hydrodynamic Loads on Dams and Spillway Gates

Project ID: 19206
Principal Investigator: Josh Mortensen
Research Topic: Water Operation Models and Decision Support Systems
Funded Fiscal Years: 2019
Keywords: None

Research Question

A more accurate solution is needed to predict hydrodynamic loads on spillway gates induced by seismically activity. 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 research will add to the 2018 study and further decrease uncertainty in assumptions and improve design guidance by using physical hydrodynamic data in conjunction with numerical FEA tools.

Need and Benefit

The need to better understand and predict seismic loads on spillways and gates was identified in the 2014 Research
Roadmap on Dam Infrastructure Sustainability in three different research statements (rows 4b, 13, and 23).
Specifically, the need for "physical testing to improve numerical models" (#13) and "better tools for modeling seismic
loading and effects" (#23) were identified in the roadmap and could be further improved by the proposed research.
Immediate benefits from this study could be provided to ongoing and future Reclamation projects of large gate
modifications including Shasta Dam (dam raise and spillway gate modifications), Yellowtail Dam, Buffalo Bill Dam,
Folsom Joint Federal Project (auxiliary control structure), and Folsom Dam Raise (under consideration).
This study will also benefit the greater water resources industry by helping fill a significant knowledge gap applicable
to a variety of water infrastructure exposed to hydrodynamic loads. Results are of great interest to the Army Corps of
Engineers, US Society on Dams (USSD) and International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD).
The urgency of this research is due to the current availability of the existing vibrating test facility in the Hydraulics
Laboratory as well as potential implications to the current dam raise project at Shasta Dam.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 4/4/17