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What is a dam ?
A dam is a hydraulic structure constructed

across a river or a stream to retain the water.

It prevents the flow of water and accumulates

it in a deep storage reservoir.

Types of dams
Based on materials used : Concrete dam Steel dam Earth dam Timber dam
Based on structural behavior : Gravity dam Arch dam Buttress dam

Based on hydraulic behavior :

Over flow dam Non over flow dam

Based on function : Storage dam Diversion dam Coffer dam

Gravity dams are solid concrete or masonry structures

used to retain the water and maintain their stability against design loads from the geometric shape and the mass and strength of the concrete . Gravity dam is so proportioned that its own weight resists the forces acting upon it . This type of structure is most durable, solid and required little maintenance. They may be constructed of masonry or concrete. They can be constructed on any dam site, where a natural foundation enough to bear the weight of the dam.

Forces on gravity dam

Water pressure
Weight of the dam Uplift pressure

Ice pressure
Wave pressure Silt pressure Wind pressure Pressure due to earthquake

Water pressure :
It Is the major external

force acting on a dam. Pressure intensity varies triangularly, zero at water surface ,to a value wh at any depth h below the water surface. Force at water pressure, P = w h / 2 where w is unit weight of water = 1000kg/m3 acts at h/3 from base of dam

Weight of the dam :

major resisting force acting on

a dam for convenience cross section of a dam is divided into simple geometrical shapes such as triangles and rectangles. unit length of dam is considered. W = w1+w2+w3
total weight (W) of dam acts

at c.g of its section.

Uplift pressure :
Uplift pressure is the upward

pressure exerted by water as it seeps through the body of the dam or its foundation. Seeping water exerts pressure on the base of the dam and it depends upon water head . Uplift pressure varies with whether structure is having drain lines or not and also with section is cracked or not . Figure shown has drainage holes and not a cracked section.

Silt pressure :
Silt gets deposited against the

upstream face of the dam. Is code recommends as Horizontal silt and water pressure is assumed to be equivalent to that of a fluid with a mass of 1360 kg/m3 If h is the height of the silt deposited, then the force exerted by this silt in addition to external water pressure, can be Psilt = sat . h . Ka / 2

Wave pressure :
Waves are generated on the surface of the reservoir by the blowing

winds, which cause pressure towards the downstream side. Waves pressure depends upon the wave height. Hw = Pw = 20 (hw^2) It acts at hw/2 above the still water surface.

Ice pressure :
The ice may be formed on the water surface of the reservoir in cold

countries, may sometimes melt and expand. The magnitude of this force varies from 250 to 1500 KN/m2 depending upon the temperature variations.

Earthquake forces :
results in inertial forces that include vertical motion, oscillatory

increase, or decrease in hydrostatic pressure (all put force against dam) As per IS Code, for dams up to 100 m height, the seismic coefficient method shall be used for the design of the dams; while for dams over 100 m height the response spectrum method shall be used.



If the resultant force cuts the base within the body of dam there

will be no overturning. For safety against overturning find Sum of all the Resisting moments (MR) and Sum of all Over turning moments (Mo) then F.O.S = sum (MR)/sum (Mo) and F.O.S should not be less than 1.5

2. SLIDING A dam may fail in sliding at its base. Sliding will occur when the net horizontal force exceeds the frictional resistance developed at that level. Fs should not be less than 1

3) COMPRESSION OR CRUSHING A dam may fail by the failure of its materials. The compressive stress may exceed the allowable stress and the dam material may get crushed. 4) TENSION Masonry and concrete gravity dam are usually designed in such a way that no tension is developed anywhere, because the materials can not withstand sustained tensile stresses. If it subjected to such stresses, these materials may crack.


1. Consider unit length of the dam.

Calculate the vertical forces: weight of dam , weight of water acting on inclined faces, uplift force find sum of these vertical forces

2. Find out some of horizontal forces :

horizontal component of water forces is P = w h / 2 3) Calculate moment due to various forces 4 )By taking over turning moments(Mo) as (+ve) and resisting moments(MR) as (-ve) check safety against over turning F. O.S = MR/Mo >= 1.5

5. Check safety against sliding :

obtain FS against sliding, it shuld not be less than one 6. Calculation of stresses : location of resultant force from toe x = sum (M) / sum (V)

Eccentricity e = (b/2) x b is base of dam.

8. Normal stress at the toe

Nt = sum [V/b(1+6e/b)]

Normal stress at the heel Nh = sum [V/b(1-6e/b)]

( +ve sign indicates compressive force )

Thank you