Construction of a concrete dam

Published on 30 January 2008
A site at Marèges...
A site at Marèges...
(R.R Coyne & Bellier)

Once the foundations are dug, the dam is divided into vertical blocks, of variable dimension depending on the types of concrete employed. These depend primarily on the cooling time necessary for concrete, although in certain cases it can be cooled artificially.

The blocks, offset against each other, are then claved, in other words cement is injected between them to transform the structure that they form into a monolithic mass.

As for earth-fill dams, the aim will be to look for materials as near as possible to the site. The cement itself generally comes from factories near to the installation. In certain countries where the infrastructure is underdeveloped, it may, however, turn out to be necessary to import it by boat over long distances.

Another at La Touche Poupard.

The concrete is then put into position by clamping it with vibrating needles, which makes it liquid and causes it to occupy the full area as intended between the formwork.

Technical developments have favoured new techniques for building dams, such as dams compacted by roller (Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC)), which allow the use of a concrete of weak cement content for laying similar to that of earth-fill structures.