A Brief Overview of Dam Construction Using Roller Compacted Concrete

One of the oldest manmade structures are none other than the dam, which main purpose is to hold back water. They are also used to help drive water to where it is needed for irrigation purposes, to help keep flooding under control, or to help generate power. Dam construction may only serve a useful of…

One of the oldest manmade structures are none other than the dam, which main purpose is to hold back water. They are also used to help drive water to where it is needed for irrigation purposes, to help keep flooding under control, or to help generate power. Dam construction may only serve a useful of useful purposes, but there are numerous types of dams and different ways to create them to meet those needs. Some of the different types include timber, arch-gravity, masonry, and embankment dams. And the more common materials used in dam construction include concrete, rock, steel, and wood.

Even though dam construction has been implemented for quite some time, the craft has been refined and perfected, especially in the last 100 years with the advanced dam construction engineering techniques that have developed. Some of the dams built a long time ago are in need of a structural update, if not a complete repair. The cost of the huge undertaking of bringing all dams in the US up to meet the current standards has been estimated at $ 40 billion. It will be important to use a material that is affordable, but still remains reliable and safe.

Engineers have been more and more focused on using a material called roller compacted concrete. It is a fairly new creation, which was first used in dam construction in the early 1980's to build the Willow Creek Dam in Oregon. Since then, roller compacted concrete has been effectively utilized in the dam construction of over 70 brand news dams, and to repair at least another 100 dams. The 3 things that make it a perfect fit for dam construction are cost, time to construct and performance. Roller compacted concrete is durable and strong, yet its cost can match that of rock filled constructions.

Roller compacted concrete allows the dam to be protected from earthquakes, erosion, and keeps water from running over top of the dam. It is made with the same materials that make up conventional concrete including water, cement, and construction aggregate (sand, gravel, stone, etc). Roller complected concrete has also shown that it can be used efficiently in reinforcing older dams to help them become more resistant to earthquakes as well making them more stable overall. Many dams already do not meet the current safety standards, and 80 percent of this country's dams will have been around for 50 years by 2020, so roller compected concrete can come in handy now more than ever.