Historical development of arch dams: from cut-stone arches to modern concrete designs

Chanson, Hubert and James, D. Patrick (2002) Historical development of arch dams: from cut-stone arches to modern concrete designs. Australian Civil Engineering Transactions, CE43 39-56.

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Author Chanson, Hubert
James, D. Patrick
Title Historical development of arch dams: from cut-stone arches to modern concrete designs
Journal name Australian Civil Engineering Transactions
ISSN 0819-0259
Publication date 2002-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume CE43
Start page 39
End page 56
Total pages 18
Place of publication Barton, A.C.T., Australia
Publisher Engineers Australia
Subject 310105 History of the Built Environment
290799 Resources Engineering not elsewhere classified
310104 Landscape Planning
300900 Land, Parks and Agriculture Management
210000 Science - General
260500 Hydrology
300800 Environmental Sciences
291400 Materials Engineering
290899 Civil Engineering not elsewhere classified
290800 Civil Engineering
290801 Structural Engineering
290804 Construction Engineering
260502 Surfacewater Hydrology
310100 Architecture and Urban Environment
290000 Engineering and Technology
291100 Environmental Engineering
291899 Interdisciplinary Engineering not elsewhere classified
290700 Resources Engineering
291800 Interdisciplinary Engineering
300100 Soil and Water Sciences
291499 Materials Engineering not elsewhere classified
300199 Soil and Water Sciences not elsewhere classified
299900 Other Engineering and Technology
290802 Water and Sanitary Engineering
300105 Applied Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
260599 Hydrology not elsewhere classified
310102 Heritage and Conservation
299999 Engineering and Technology not elsewhere classified
Abstract Dam designs may be divided into three main types : gravity structures relying on their weight for stability, arch structures using the abutment reaction forces and buttress dams. The design of an arch dam relies on the abutment reaction forces to resist the water pressure force and it requires advanced engineering expertise. The present study demonstrates that the historical development of arch dams took place in five stages. The world's oldest arch dams were built by the Romans in France and Spain. They were followed by the Mongols who built dams in Iran during the 13th and 14th centuries. However it is not until the 19th century that significant progress in arch dam design was made. Four remarkable structures were the Meer Allum dam (India 1804), the Jones Falls dam (Canada 1831), the Zola dam (France 1854) and Parramatta dam (Australia 1856). Australian engineers pioneered the use of concrete as a construction material for arch dams (i.e. 75-Miles and Lithgow No. 1 dams). Modern concrete arch dam designs were introduced in North America at the beginning of the 20th century : e.g., constant-angle arch, double-curvature arch. Since no major design breakthrough has taken place and modern arch dams are based upon the single-radius, constant-angle or double-curvature arch design. It is the writers' opinion that the introduction of concrete as construction material marked a major innovation in allowing a flexibility in arch shape design.
Keyword Dam design
Arch dam structure
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Civil Engineering Publications
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Created: Fri, 02 Sep 2005, 10:00:00 EST by Hubert Chanson on behalf of School of Civil Engineering