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21st Century Dam Design —

Advances and Adaptations

31st Annual USSD Conference
San Diego, California, April 11-15, 2011

Hosted by
Black & Veatch Corporation
GEI Consultants, Inc.
Kleinfelder, Inc.
MWH Americas, Inc.
Parsons Water and Infrastructure Inc.
URS Corporation

Copyright © 2011 U. The project will be the tallest dam raise in the United States and tallest roller compacted concrete dam raise in the world. will be raised by 117 feet to increase reservoir storage capacity by 152. U. CO 80202 Telephone: 303-628-5430 Fax: 303-628-5431 E-mail: stephens@ussdams.000 acre-feet. owned by the City of San Diego. maintenance. planning. performance. rehabilitation.ussdams. operation. security and safety. Society on Dams Printed in the United States of America Library of Congress Control Number: 2011924673 ISBN 978-1-884575-52-5 U. • Fostering dam technology for socially. • Providing public awareness of the role of dams in the management of the nation's water resources. and • Representing the United States as an active member of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD). Internet: www. • Enhancing practices to meet current and future challenges on dams. Society on Dams Vision To be the nation's leading organization of professionals dedicated to advancing the role of dams for the benefit of society.S. environmentally and financially sustainable water resources systems. decommissioning.On the Cover Artist's rendition of San Vicente Dam after completion of the dam raise project to increase local storage and provide a more flexible conveyance system for use during emergencies such as earthquakes that could curtail the region’s imported water supplies. Society on Dams 1616 Seventeenth Street. USSD accepts no responsibility for the statements made or the opinions expressed in this publication. The existing 220-foot-high dam. The information contained in this publication regarding commercial projects or firms may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes and may not be construed as an endorsement of any product or from by the United States Society on Dams.S. Mission — USSD is dedicated to: • Advancing the knowledge of dam engineering. #483 .

es [La Breña II RCC Dam Project Manager] 4 Hydraulic Works Division. This would have required an average flyash supply of approximately 11. acuaSur. or in its hardened form reducing the heat of hydration and providing greater strength in the long term. whether it be in its fresh state. La Breña II is the largest RCC dam built in Europe.6x 106 m3 of concrete placed-. [La Breña II RCC Dam Construction Manager] 3 Water Supply and Irrigation Technical Manager. The use of this limestone dust in the RCC mix for La Breña II. and RCC volume of 1. 50. Therefore an alternative using a second type of mineral admixture that would reduce the need for flyash was carefully studied. even monopolizing the flyash supply available from several Spanish and Italian thermal power plants. due to the favorable properties that it provides to the concrete. Spain. about 25 km southwest to the city of Cordoba in Southern Spain. The use of a high (230 kg/m3) cementitious content RCC mix. msanzs@dragados. 28050 Madrid. and the contractor Dragados S.A. PR 00731. required a total flyash consumption of roughly 225. Dragados S.000 t/month. ribanezl@dragados. Avda. in a proportion of 20% by weight with respect to the total cementitious materials. Road PR10. Dragados S.. with peaks on the order of 21. In depth market investigation showed that. 41011 Seville.5.000 t during a planned 20 month construction period. With a height of 119 m.A. of which 70% was to be flyash. km 5.A. Cuba. All of these benefits are 1 Head Hydraulic Works Division.sandoval@acuasur. Camino de Santiago. 28050 Madrid. which could be used by cement manufacturers to produce certain types of common cements. Spain. the site engineer Initec Infraestructuras. gnoriega@dragados-USA.LIMESTONE FILLER USED AS CEMENTITIOUS MATERIAL IN THE MIX FOR THE LARGEST RCC DAM IN EUROPE: LA BREÑA II Rafael Ibáñez de Aldecoa1 Gonzalo Noriega2 Antonio Sandoval3 Miguel Sanz4 ABSTRACT La Breña II is a roller-compacted concrete (RCC) straight gravity dam located on the Guadiato River.000 t/month and [Member of SPANCOLD] 2 Portugues RCC Dam Construction Manager. Avda. 9. La Breña II RCC dam is owned by AcuaSur. resulted in satisfactory long term concrete strengths that met the project requirements and exceeded all expectations.. The chosen option was to use a limestone filler that complies with the European Standard EN 197-1 as a suitable mineral admixture with required cementitious properties. Limestone Filler 259 . INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND Flyash as a mineral admixture to replace a certain amount of cement has been widely used for decades. making the placement easier.100 t/day. Spain. Camino de Santiago. it was very uncertain to fulfill the target. Ponce. Dragados-USA.4x106 m3 -out of a total of 1. the designer for the Construction Design was Idom. antonio.

with time it became an expensive product and hard to get in large quantities. and over time it reached up to 50% in conventional concrete dams. The incorporation of flyash in the cementitious content could take place in the concrete batch plant of the project or at a cement factory. In Europe. CEM V/B. CEM II/B-V. due to the fact that most of the Spanish coal thermal power plants (as probably in many other countries too) have much of their production engaged. with the companies producing cement. Based on the required RCC volume and construction schedule. gathers the classifications of the common cements. all percentage values shown in this paper are by weight. one of the onfactory cements previously mentioned. In such classifications there appear various types of cement that incorporate. CEM IV/A. etc. adopting in this second case. This substitution started at the order of 30%. Since the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. However. common percentages of flyash being from 60% to 70% above the total of the bonding material. was a relatively inexpensive product and available in “unlimited” quantities meeting the needs of a huge concrete dam. The benefits mentioned previously from using flyash have enormously increased the employment of the type II. Unless noted otherwise. CEM II/AM. In addition to those technical advantages. the largest RCC Dam in Europe and due to the problem of not having enough flyash available to satisfy the required high consumptions. the Standard EN 197-1 “Composition. including Spain. Upon undertaking the construction of La Breña II Dam in Cordoba. in a variety of uses besides building concrete dams. NEEDS OF FLYASH FOR LA BREÑA II After scheduling of the job.000 m3 Execution time = 20 months Typical dosage of cementitious material = 230 kg per cubic meter of concrete Flyash percentage of total cementitious material (by weight) = 70% 21st Century Dam Design — Advances and Adaptations . flyash obtained from electrostatic precipitation in the thermal power plants fed with pulverized coal. a by-product of coal thermal power plants. the use of flyash often reduces the overall cost for cementitious material.very adequate to mass concrete for dams. directly or through an intermediary. IV and V cements that incorporate flyash. the specific needs of most important materials that dictated the critical path of the job were determined.400. CEM V/A. Flyash. In this type of dam the substitution of the clinker using flyash was even greater. the search for alternative solutions was compelling. Specifications and Conformity Criteria for Common Cements”. which involved a very strict deadline. CEM II/B-M. the use of flyash as a substitute for the clinker in the cementitious material for concrete dams has broadened. in different proportions. In the early and mid 80’s the technique of roller compacted concrete for dam construction was introduced in some countries. CEM IV/B. the need for flyash was estimated as follows: ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ 260 Total volume of RCC =1. These cements include CEM II/A-V.

000 t/month Peak monthly consumption = 21. ALTERNATIVES TO FLYASH AS THE ONLY MINERAL ADMIXTURE We proceeded with another extensive market investigation of cement manufacturers to search for other possible admixtures besides flyash. the solution of using a sole product like cement type CEM II. but always at extreme cost. The study focused on two main aspects including use of commercially available cement “customized” to meet specific requirements of the project.000 m3 /day Peak daily flyash consumption = 1. In addition. without altering the planned schedule of RCC placement. For instance. the approach to customize a single type of cement was not studied further. Therefore. CEM IV and CEM V (from European Standard EN 197-1). ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS). Those problems could be solved.¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ Average monthly consumption of flyash = 11.000 t/month Peak daily placement of RCC = 7. In principle. it would be very uncertain to meet the project requirements. as it is the case of cement types CEM II-composed. The second aspect of the study was to find a second source of mineral admixture that would decrease the need of flyash. or limestone filler as a second admixture to reduce the need for flyash. In years where the hydrology is favorable the needs of production of electrical energy with thermal power plants diminishes and vice versa. the power plants have mandatory maintenance stops. Additionally. and a high level of consumption (nearly 30. some of the thermal power plants we relied on as our main sources of supply of flyash could not guarantee a minimum supply since production was impacted by unpredictable factors such as the climate. The other possible solution was to mix a cement type CEM I with two mineral admixtures on site. and in some cases these stops coincided with the months of highest RCC placement at La Breña II. The sources of supply for natural pozzolans. However. customizing cement for a large-sized job like La Breña II is feasible. Of the first two materials no conclusive Limestone Filler 261 . III. GGBFS or limestone filler were searched and evaluated. Therefore we were forced to seek alternatives to reduce the need of flyash for the job. and use of natural pozzolans.000 t/month during peak months) posed problems of supply to their regular customers. the composition of the cement “customized” for the requirements of our case did not agree with the standard production of cement factories. IV or V supplied from a cement factory was not economic for various reasons.100 t /day Given the extent of the needs of flyash an extensive market investigation was undergone which showed that even supplying ash from various Spanish thermal power plants and supplementing with ash from Italian power plants. This approach was perfectly acceptable since some factorymanufactured cements already incorporate two or even more admixtures.

in the province of Seville. Italy.50% for type L) ¾ Density = 2. ¾ ICOLD Bulletin No 126 “State of the Art of RCC Dams”. The following are the main characteristics of the chosen limestone filler (the values shown in parenthesis are those required in Standard EN 197-1): ¾ CaCO3 content = 99% by mass (≥ 75%) ¾ Clay content ≤ 0. Section 3. ¾ Standard EN 197-1 contemplates cements with limestone filler additions together with other additions. and ¾ The use of limestone filler as an active mineral admixture was considered by the Joint Venture which Dragados was part of in the laboratory tests performed for the RCC dam of Sa Stria. The possible use of limestone filler for such endeavor was based on the following published standards and practices: ¾ Standard EN 197-1 contemplates limestone filler as a possible component of a common cement.20% for cements type LL and < 0. types CEM II/A-L and LL.7 g/100 g (< 1. as long as it meets predetermined technical requirements. it was decided to do particular additional tests.20 g/100 g) ¾ Total Organic Carbon (TOC) content ≤ 0. including flyash (e.822 g/cm3 ¾ Fineness (Blaine) = 454 m2/kg Although the material very comfortably complied with the Standard EN 197-1. However. and types CEM II/B–L and LL). [3] Based on the supply availability and previous study results.g. with the objective of determining if the limestone filler complied with specific requirements of a flyash for its use as an active mineral admixture in a common cement. in Sardinia. CHARACTERISTICS OF CHOSEN LIMESTONE FILLER The limestone filler that was finally chosen came from an industrial installation in the vicinity of Estepa. The investigation then focused on locating a limestone filler source that would comply with the properties required for it to be considered as an active mineral admixture with cementitious properties. we chose limestone filler as a possible source of second admixture to be further tested and investigated. The following were the tests made for this purpose (the values in parenthesis are those required in European Standard EN 450-1 for flyash): 262 21st Century Dam Design — Advances and Adaptations .possibilities of reliable supplies were found. some potential limestone filler sources were found. ¾ Standard EN 197-1 contemplates cements with limestone filler additions of up to 35% (e.10% mass (< 0.g.2 “Cementitious Materials” cites limestone filler as a possible source for admixture. types CEM II/A-M and CEM II/B-M). about 105 km away from the damsite.

in the required proportions. retained in # 0. Limestone Filler 263 . designed for a unitary performance of 50 t/h. Fig.090 mm = 16% (not specified) Fineness. MODIFICATIONS NEEDED AT THE CONCRETE PLANT The concrete plant.7% (> 75%) ¾ Strength Activity Index at 90 days = 87. showes the fittings and operation of the system to feed from the 6 big master silos of 1000 t to the four small 100 t silos above the concrete plants. was at the beginning designed to work with two different cementitious materials. Each of the two concrete plants was arranged with 2 silos of 100 t and 2 weighing scales to work with only two cementitious materials. etc.¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ Fineness. But the main problem that turned up was the transportation of the bonding materials to the concrete plants. as a bonding material. with a dosage for these. 2 shows an aerial view of the concrete production facilities.8% (> 75%) ¾ Strength Activity Index at 28 days = 85. verifying their density. which at the beginning were to be three lines of pneumatic conveyors. fluidity. the tests for the Strength Activity Index were also made in compliance with Standard ASTM C-618 in which. by flow. a mixture of 80% clinker + 20% flyash (limestone filler in this case) must be used instead of the 75% clinker + 25% flyash specified in the European Standard. we assigned 2 silos for cement. one for every two silos. enough so as to have a reserve on the job equivalent to 5 days of peak placement of RCC.7% (> 75%) Additionally. Therefore.2% (not specified) The test results demonstrated that the strength activity of the chosen limestone filler met the requirements specified for a flyash. In principle we had foreseen 2 silos for cement and 4 silos for flyash. retained in # 0. 1. Working with three different cementitious materials we changed the above approach.045 mm = 30% (< 40%) Strength Activity Index at 7 days = 76. Those results allowed us to assign a supply line for the cement and the other two lines for the flyash+filler mix.7% (not specified) Strength Activity Index at 28 days = 83. The results are (the values in parenthesis are those required in Standard ASTM C-618): ¾ Strength Activity Index at 7 days = 81. consisting of two twin batching-mixing plants for a joint production of 500 m3/h of RCC. 3 for flyash and 1 for limestone filler. The storage capacity foreseen for the bonding materials was planned with 6 silos of 1000 t capacity each. two of the three bonding materials had to be pre-dosed and pre-mixed before arriving to these silos. and therefore it was proved that the filler material would make its contribution to the development of RCC strength. To establish the process. retained in # 0. tests were made with the three products. The synoptic chart Fig.063 mm = 20% (not specified) Fineness.5% (> 75%) Strength Activity Index at 90 days = 86.

Synoptic chart of the cementitious materials pneumatic transport system Coarse aggregate silos (3 x 3600 t) Fine aggregate silos (2 x 1300 t) Wet belts Water cooling plants Cementitious silos (6 x 1000 t) Mixing plants 4 mixers x 4 m3 Ice flakes plants (2 x 90 t/day) Batching plants 2 x 250 m3/h Figure 2.Figure 1. Aerial view of the plant for RCC production 264 21st Century Dam Design — Advances and Adaptations .

The required strengths in the Specifications of the Construction Design of the project were the following: ¾ Direct tensile strength of RCC cores across lift joints = 0. Beni Haroun in Algeria [6] and Porce II in Colombia [2]. Limestone Filler 265 .The mixture of flyash and limestone filler is produced in the bins of two of the pneumatic transport lines. it would have been more appropriate for this project to have selected one year for the design age instead 180 days. To be on the safe side. among others). Taking into account the high increase in strength obtained from 180 days to one year.875 x 20 = 17.75 MPa (discarding isolated higher values located in singular areas.5 MPa for the design age. Reliability of the mixture is controlled by means of swing detectors for the screw conveyors and material flow detectors at the drop toward the bins. the damsite is located in an area with very low seismicity. TENSILE AND COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH REQUIREMENTS FOR THE RCC First of all. We have to recognize that when developing the Construction Design for the job. we adopted a value of 20 for such ratio. 3] which resulted in 0. acting over the speed of the corresponding screw conveyor feeders whose values are adjusted by means of a variable-frequency drive. further discussed in the next section. these speeds depend on the bulk density of the two products. This margin could seem very strict. Concrete with high mineral admixture content (depending on the mineral admixture) usually continue gaining strength well beyond the age of 90 days. which led to a compressive strength of 0. But in modern RCC projects the control age has been expanded to at least 180 days. additionally.875 MPa at 180 days This value was derived from the maximum value of the vertical tension obtained in a finite elements thermal stress-strain analysis [5] [Fig. in which the proportion of cement substituted by mineral admixture is usually lower than in RCC dams. and we remained a bit conservative in this respect. but we counted also on the certainty of the RCC strength improvement beyond 180 days and.g. indicate that the design age for the RCC strengths was established at 180 days. Once the dosage to use is known. it was to be the first dam design in Spain in which a design age beyond 90 days was to be implemented.5 MPa at 180 days Other large RCC dam projects were considered where the actual ratio between the two aforementioned strengths was found to be mostly in the range of 16 to 18 (e. and was of common use in RCC dams some years ago. The proportions of the mixture depend on the respective speed of each screw conveyor of flyash and filler that feed the bin. allowing for a rounded safety margin of +15%. This control age of 90 days is typical for conventional concrete dams. as in the corners of the galleries). and preferably one year. ¾ Compressive strength of RCC cylinders = 17.

4 shows cores 3 m-long and 120 mm in diameter extracted from the FST. Fig.5 R-SR). Figure 3.It should also be mentioned that at the time of elaborating the Construction Design. extracted from the Full Scale Trial 266 21st Century Dam Design — Advances and Adaptations . Concrete set retarders were also tested during the Trial placement. Figures from the finite elements thermal stress-strain analysis MIXTURE PROPORTIONS USED AND STRENGTHS OBTAINED Based on review of the results from the previous laboratory tests. Figure 4. 40% flyash. and 20% limestone filler. Cores 3 m-long. the Full-Scale Trial (FST) placement that was carried out in November 2006 used an RCC mix with 220 kg/m3 of total cementitious materials of which 40% was pure cement (EN 197-1 CEM I/42. Afterwards they were prepared to perform direct tensile strength tests across lift joints [Fig. 120 mm-diameter. 5]. the possibility of using a mineral admixture other than flyash in the RCC mix was not considered at all.

with the idea of eventually adjusting the cement content downward as we obtained more consistent statistical results of the strengths during the course of RCC placement.6 = 1. 6. Although it was estimated that at 180 days the strengths would surpass the target value established in the Specifications. resulting in: R365/R90 = 29. Direct tensile strength test on jointed core performed at laboratory on site The RCC compressive strengths obtained at 90 days at the Trial Placement were lower than those inferred from the previous laboratory tests.5/18. The three most significant mixes used were: Š Mix 1: 230 kg/m3 total cementitious. Mix 3.Figure 5.5% flyash + 13% filler Š Mix 2: 230 kg/m3 total cementitious. For example. showed the amazing improvement of strength from 90 days (R90) to one year (R365).59 or an increase of nearly 60% from the 90-day strength. Emphasis must be made on the high compressive strength values attained at 365 days. the mostly used for construction. it was decided to begin the placement of the RCC in the body of the dam with a slightly richer dosage of cement. with 43.5% cement + 43. with 30% cement + 50% flyash + 20% filler The compressive strengths obtained with each one of them are shown in Fig. Limestone Filler 267 . with 35% cement + 45% flyash + 20% filler Š Mix 3: 230 kg/m3 total cementitious.

4 = +45% R180/R90 = 28.0 = +11% Figure 6.5/18. Compressive strengths of the different RCC mixes Regarding the direct tensile strength of RCC cores across lift joints corresponding to dam construction. The results were. the RCC strength increase was: R180/R90 = 24. all the tests were performed at approximately the design age of 180 days.From 90 days to the design age of 180days.0/21.5/24. the RCC strength increase was: R365/R180 = 29.4 = +31% R365/R180 = 31.5 = +20% The similar ratios for Mix 2 were: R365/R90 = 31.6 = +32% From the design age of 180 days to one year.1/21. on average: 268 21st Century Dam Design — Advances and Adaptations .1/28.

180 days Š Mix 3: 1. 180 days For comparison. it is difficult to compare results of direct tensile strength tests of RCC cores across lift joints from two different dams. the lift thickness (although it is extensively standardized to 30 cm). cement. where all the test were performed at approximately 90 days (the design age for that dam). etc. The direct tensile strength of RCC cores across lift joints in Beni Haroun. occurrence of segregation. similar to that of Mix 2 of La Breña II. with comparable increase of strength from 90 days to 180 days and a year. the RCC mix used in construction of Beni Haroun RCC Dam in Algeria [6] had: 225 kg/m3 total cementitious.8 = +22% R365/R180 = 33.47 MPa at approx. due to the fact of the similarities of both mixes evaluated. even having similar RCC mixes. but at a lower age (90 days instead 180 days). the exposure time. the air temperature and weather conditions during the exposure time.8 = +39% R180/R90 = 29. The above comparison between the compressive strengths of the two dams is quite consistent. for example the RCC placement temperature.12 MPa at approx. because bonding at the joint is influenced by multiple factors apart from the mix itself (and within this mainly the cementitious content and the volumetric paste/mortar ratio compared with the compacted sand void content).50 MPa. Limestone Filler 269 . The aforementioned ratios for Beni Haroun Dam were: R365/R90 = 33. In Table 1 there is a summary of the main characteristics of both mixes. flyash. the conditions of surface curing during the exposure time.0/23. in order to have a better evaluation of the similarities and differences between them. Nevertheless.g. the strengths were slightly higher in the case of the mix with limestone filler. In fact.1/23. a preliminary comparison indicate that Mix 2 of La Breña II (45% of flyash and 20% of limestone filler) produced compressive strengths similar to those of Beni Haroun (64% flyash and without limestone filler). the spreading and compaction process (e.) were different for the two projects. with 36% cement + 64% flyash (+ 0% limestone filler) that was very similar in cement and mineral admixture contents to Mix 2 of La Breña II Dam.Š Mix 2: 1. was in average 1.0 = +14% Although the sources of materials (e.1/29. type of compactor and number of passes). etc. the conditions of surface cleanliness prior to next lift placement. aggregates.g.

including Spain. 270 21st Century Dam Design — Advances and Adaptations . although such practice has regularly resulted in technical and economic benefits during the past decades. Summary of main characteristics of RCC mixes used at La Breña II and Beni Haroun dams In summary. CONCLUSIONS At present in several countries. This has promoted a search for alternative admixtures that will reduce the need for the flyash.Table 1. a limestone filler which is in compliance with European Standard EN 197-1 has been found and used for substituting portion of the flyash as a mineral admixture for RCC. In the case of La Breña II RCC Dam. the high demand coming from cement manufacturers for the flyash produced by coal thermal power plants makes it increasingly difficult to purchase huge quantities of flyash to be used in construction of large concrete dams. The chosen limestone filler as a substitution of the same quantity of the flyash led to long-term RCC strengths very similar to those expected of only flyash. RCC mixes with 20% limestone filler in compliance with European Standard EN 197-1 were mostly used in construction of La Breña II Dam.

Atlanta. Limestone Filler 271 . have been as satisfactory as those expected with the use of 70% flyash as the only mineral admixture. Aerial view of the completed La Breña II RCC Dam REFERENCES [1] R. Spain”. Figure 7. Ibáñez de Aldecoa. It is important to point out that difficulties of adapting the batch plant for concrete production could arise when trying to work with three different cementitious products. USA. “Construction of La Breña II Dam. Proceedings of International RCC Dams Seminar & Study Tour. March 2007.The results obtained using the chosen limestone filler with a proportion of 20% of the total cementitious material. together with 50% flyash (45% in certain phase of the job).

Proceedings of 5th International Symposium on RCC dams. N. Ibáñez de Aldecoa. “Thermomechanical analysis of La Breña II Dam during its construction process: evaluation of potential thermal cracking”. Barcelona. November 2003. June 2006. “Construction of Beni Haroun Dam (Algeria)”. R. “La Presa Porce II de HCR en Colombia: Proyecto. Pardo. [3] R. Gutiérrez.[2] R. G. Rueda. Dunstan & R. Saragossa. “Laboratory previous tests for Sa Stria Dam (Italy) performed using three different mineral admixtures”. “Plans for the construction of La Breña II Dam in Spain”. Camprubí. Proceedings of 4th International Symposium on RCC dams. Ibáñez de Aldecoa & L. R. May 2002. Madrid. García & J. Spain. Sandoval. Proceedings of 22nd Congress on Large Dams. November 2007. Spain. Noriega. A. Noriega. [4] F. Q. M. Proceedings of VII Jornadas Españolas de Presas. Spain. Madrid. [5] F. 272 21st Century Dam Design — Advances and Adaptations . Ibáñez de Aldecoa & G.M. November 2003. Spain.31. Romero. Proceedings of 4th International Symposium on RCC dams. construcción y comportamiento”. Sanz. China. Guiyang.84. diseño de la mezcla. [6] M.