Gravity dam – is an engineering structure that by its own weight resists the forces imposed with a desired factor of safety. Gravity dams are designed so that every dam section is stable, independent of any other dam sections. 1 2
The most common classification of gravity dams based upon the materials comprising the structure is:
- Concrete dams include
- Composite dams are a combination of concrete and embankment dams. Construction materials of composite dams are the same used for concrete and embankment dams. Folsom Dam is an examples of the composite dam.
Gravity dams can be classified by plan as straight or curved gravity dams. Majority of gravity dams are straight (Grand Coulee Dam) although some masonry and concrete gravity dams have the dam axis curved (Shasta Dam, Cheesman Dam) to add stability though arch action.3
Gravity dams classified with respect to their structural height are:
- Low, up to 100 feet.
- Medium high, between 100- 300 feet.
- High, over 300 feet.
- Kollgaardand, E.B.; Chadwick, W.L. (1988). Development of Dam Engineering in the United States. US Committee of the International Commission on Large Dams.
- Dams of the United States - Pictorial display of Landmark Dams. Denver, Colorado: US Society on Dams. 2013.
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