Dam Safety. Protection against Overtopping and Prevention of Geo-Structural Failure

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydraulics and Hydrodynamics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 19822

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Departamento de Ingeniería Civil: Hidráulica, Energía y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: dam safety; overtopping; spillways; dam engineering; dam hydraulics; dam protection; outlet works; dam failures; machine learning; dam monitoring; data mining; artificial intelligence
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Ingeniería Civil: Hidráulica, Energía y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: dam safety; overtopping; spillways; dam engineering; dam hydraulics; dam protection; outlet works; dam failures
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A huge effort is being made nowadays and during the last decades for the improvement of dam safety. Two especially active areas of advancement are the protection of dams and levees against overtopping by means of quite different techniques and the prevention of geo-structural failure through the analysis of monitoring data by means of artificial intelligence.

The objective of this Special Issue is to gather the advances in these two areas.

High-quality papers concerning research advances, case studies, and state-of-the-art reviews will be welcome. This Special Issue is open to topics such as:

  • Protection of dams and levees against overtopping by means of: a) the protection of the downstream shoulder of an embankment dam with any type of armour (concrete slabs, wedge shape blocks, articulated concrete blocks, rockfill toes, rip-rap…); b) actions with the purpose of avoiding the overtopping, like the implementation of new gates, the dam heightening or any other action which result is lowering the overtopping risk; c) rehabilitation works in concrete dams in order to avoid the failure of the dam during an overtopping event; d) any other action to protect a dam against overtopping.
  • Hydrological issues related to dam overtopping, especially the assessment of dam overtopping probability.
  • Operating strategies to avoid dam overtopping.
  • Innovative solutions for increasing the discharge flow rate capacity in existing dams; emergency spillways.
  • Dam failure conditions, processes, and failure hydrograph for both, embankment and concrete dams.
  • Spillways on earth and rockfill dams.
  • Detection of anomalies of geo-structural dam behavior through the analysis of monitoring data.
  • Application of data mining and artificial intelligence techniques to the dam safety analysis.
  • Criteria for the assessment of emergency thresholds.
  • Application of RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) and digital image treatment to dam surveillance.
  • Combined application of numerical models and data mining to the analysis of dam safety.
  • New dam monitoring techniques that provide useful data for the application of artificial intelligence for dam safety analysis.

Please note this is a conference Special Issue, and the collaborative conference is 4th International Seminar on Dam Protections against Overtopping. For more details, please see: http://www.protections2022.com/.
Potential papers will be selected from manuscript submissions to the conference, which will be finally held in Madrid (Spain) from November 30th to December 2nd, 2022. Conference participants will be granted a discount for submissions to this special issue in Water.

Prof. Dr. Miguel Á. Toledo
Prof. Dr. Rafael Morán
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • dam
  • overtopping
  • protections
  • spillways
  • failure
  • monitoring
  • emergency thresholds
  • data mining
  • machine learning
  • artificial intelligence
  • risk analysis

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

42 pages, 7078 KiB  
Article
A Unified General Resistance Formula for Uniform Coarse Porous Media
by Juan Carlos López, Miguel Ángel Toledo, Rafael Moran and Luis Balairón
Water 2023, 15(20), 3578; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15203578 - 13 Oct 2023
Viewed by 994
Abstract
Many authors studied the nonlinear relationship between seepage velocity and hydraulic gradient in coarse granular materials. They managed different approaches and variables to define the resistance formula applicable to that type of granular media. Based on the analysis of the different approaches and [...] Read more.
Many authors studied the nonlinear relationship between seepage velocity and hydraulic gradient in coarse granular materials. They managed different approaches and variables to define the resistance formula applicable to that type of granular media. Based on the analysis of the different approaches and experimental data obtained by the corresponding authors, we propose a unified general seepage equation applicable to large-sized granular materials. Such an equation gives unity to the main nonlinear resistance formulas developed to date. Particularly relevant are the conclusions regarding the relationship of the linear (α*) and quadratic (β*) dimensionless coefficients of the resistance formula with the representative size of the particle and the geometrical features of the porous materials. Full article
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15 pages, 4362 KiB  
Article
A 2D Hydraulic Simulation Model Including Dynamic Piping and Overtopping Dambreach
by Javier Fernández-Pato, Sergio Martínez-Aranda and Pilar García-Navarro
Water 2023, 15(18), 3268; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15183268 - 14 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1073
Abstract
Numerical simulation of unsteady free surface flows using depth averaged equations that consider the presence of initial discontinuities has been often reported for situations dealing with dam break flow. The usual approach is to assume a sudden removal of the gate at the [...] Read more.
Numerical simulation of unsteady free surface flows using depth averaged equations that consider the presence of initial discontinuities has been often reported for situations dealing with dam break flow. The usual approach is to assume a sudden removal of the gate at the dam location. Additionally, in order to prevent any kind of dam risk in earthen dams, it is very interesting to include the possibility of a progressive dam breach leading to dam overtopping or dam piping so that predictive hydraulic models benefit the global analysis of the water flow. On the other hand, when considering a realistic large domain with complex topography, a fine spatial discretization is mandatory. Hence, the number of grid cells is usually very large and, therefore, it is necessary to use parallelization techniques for the calculation, with the use of Graphic Processing Units (GPU) being one of the most efficient, due to the leveraging of thousands of processors within a single device. The aim of the present work is to describe an efficient GPU-based 2D shallow water flow solver (RiverFlow2D-GPU) supplied with the formulation of internal boundary conditions to represent dynamic dam failure processes. The results obtained indicate that it is able to develop a transient flow analysis taking into account several scenarios. The efficiency of the model is proven in two complex domains, leading to >76× faster simulations compared with the traditional CPU computation. Full article
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31 pages, 7585 KiB  
Article
Characterization of the Erosion Basin Shaped by the Jet Flow of Sky-Jump Spillways
by Raffaella Pellegrino and Miguel Á. Toledo
Water 2023, 15(16), 2930; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15162930 - 14 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1103
Abstract
The sky-jump spillway is an economical solution to return water to rivers, but an unsuitable flip bucket design might jeopardize the spillway, the dam, or other appurtenant works. Characterizing in advance, during the design phase, the position, size, and shape of the erosion [...] Read more.
The sky-jump spillway is an economical solution to return water to rivers, but an unsuitable flip bucket design might jeopardize the spillway, the dam, or other appurtenant works. Characterizing in advance, during the design phase, the position, size, and shape of the erosion basin would be useful to ensure that water flow is returned to the river in a safe way. Also, it would be useful for the safety assessment throughout the exploitation phase when erosion has not yet reached its maximum extension. Here, based on experimental laboratory work, the location, size, and shape of the erosion basin are analyzed, and a procedure is given for its characterization according to the design of the sky-jump spillway. Full article
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14 pages, 3916 KiB  
Communication
Evaluating the Feasibility of Robotic Crawler Deployed Ground Penetrating Radar to Assess Repairs of a Concrete Hydroelectric Dam Spillway in Alabama, USA
by Daniel P. Bigman
Water 2023, 15(10), 1858; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15101858 - 14 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1883
Abstract
Dams and the water systems they support must be monitored, maintained, and repaired when necessary so they can continue to provide benefits to the communities they serve. This study presents the methods and results from a robotic crawler-based ground penetrating radar (GPR) inspection [...] Read more.
Dams and the water systems they support must be monitored, maintained, and repaired when necessary so they can continue to provide benefits to the communities they serve. This study presents the methods and results from a robotic crawler-based ground penetrating radar (GPR) inspection of rehabilitated concrete from a hydroelectric dam spillway located in Alabama, USA. This spillway, which was recently inspected and repaired, showed evidence of spalling which indicated internal structural deterioration. Standard practice would leave these repairs uninspected or put the wellbeing of people at risk when deploying them on the spillway for manual inspections. GPR data were recorded from recently rehabilitated and resurfaced areas of the site to evaluate the capability of a remotely controlled robotic crawler system to assure repair quality efficiently and effectively. The results indicate that high quality data can be recorded from repairs without the need for manual inspection. The GPR was able to resolve repair length, thickness, number of reinforcements, reinforcement spacing, and cover depth. The study encountered several difficulties, and the author proposes future pathways of development for safely inspecting critical dam infrastructure with steep slopes and slippery, rough surfaces. Full article
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20 pages, 21398 KiB  
Article
Quasi-Prototype Size Testing of Wedge-Shaped Block for Armoring Embankment Dams and Levees
by Francisco Javier Caballero, Miguel Ángel Toledo, Rafael Moran and Javier Peraita
Water 2023, 15(4), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15040662 - 8 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1833
Abstract
A series of tests of wedge-shaped blocks intended for armoring embankment dams and levees was carried out in a new experimental facility (‘Hydraulic Experimentation Facility—Luis Ruano’) under quasi-prototype conditions. This unique facility is located in the canal leading to the Laverné [...] Read more.
A series of tests of wedge-shaped blocks intended for armoring embankment dams and levees was carried out in a new experimental facility (‘Hydraulic Experimentation Facility—Luis Ruano’) under quasi-prototype conditions. This unique facility is located in the canal leading to the Laverné reservoir (Zaragoza, Spain) with a maximum vertical drop of 7 m and discharge up to 9 m3 s−1. The aim was to conduct experimental research on technologies to protect embankment dams and dikes against overflowing erosion under quasi-prototype conditions. The results of the tests demonstrate the ability of the WSBs to withstand high unit discharges under extremely negative conditions at the upstream and downstream ends of the armoring. The tests also helped to identify potential failure modes for the armoring blocks. Full article
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19 pages, 5339 KiB  
Article
Stress Estimation of Concrete Dams in Service Based on Deformation Data Using SIE–APSO–CNN–LSTM
by Liang Tao, Dongjian Zheng, Xin Wu, Xingqiao Chen, Yongtao Liu, Zhuoyan Chen and Haifeng Jiang
Water 2023, 15(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15010059 - 24 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1667
Abstract
The stress behavior of key parts of concrete dams is related to the safe operation of the dam. However, the stress sensors in concrete are susceptible to aging and failure with increasing service life. Estimating the structural stress under sensor failure or data [...] Read more.
The stress behavior of key parts of concrete dams is related to the safe operation of the dam. However, the stress sensors in concrete are susceptible to aging and failure with increasing service life. Estimating the structural stress under sensor failure or data loss scenarios for concrete dams in service is essential and complex. This study presents a stress estimation method driven by the observation data. Firstly, a one-to-one correspondence exists between dam deformation reflecting the load effect and structural stress. Estimating the structural stress by simulating load effects with dam deformation is more convenient when it is hard to simulate complex load effects directly. Therefore, based on the observed data before stress sensor failure, the spatial–temporal relationship between structure stress and multi-point deformations of a concrete dam is developed using convolutional neural networks (CNN) and long short-term memory (LSTM). An improved particle swarm optimization algorithm combined with swarm information entropy (SIE–APSO) is proposed simultaneously for tuning the network’s hyperparameter and accelerating the convergence. Finally, the stress estimation of the target part of the concrete dam in service is obtained. The case shows that it is valid and feasible. The RMSE decreased by approximately 21–58%, MAPE decreased by 19–58%, and ARV decreased by 22–94% compared with the load-stress relationship model. Full article
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34 pages, 36674 KiB  
Article
Structural Failure of the Cohesive Core of Rockfill Dams: An Experimental Research Using Sand-Bentonite Mixtures
by Ricardo Monteiro-Alves, Rafael Moran, Miguel Á. Toledo and Javier Peraita
Water 2022, 14(23), 3966; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14233966 - 5 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1923
Abstract
This article presents experimental research focusing on the structural failure of the central core of a rockfill dam using sand-bentonite mixtures. It comprised an extensive geotechnical characterization of soil materials and mixtures, including compaction and strength tests, as well as the construction of [...] Read more.
This article presents experimental research focusing on the structural failure of the central core of a rockfill dam using sand-bentonite mixtures. It comprised an extensive geotechnical characterization of soil materials and mixtures, including compaction and strength tests, as well as the construction of 1 m high and 1.5 m wide physical models. The displacements of the cohesive cores were recorded using a tailored measuring system, based on a laser pointer and a mirror, designed to amplify the real displacements. The cohesive cores were extremely sensitive to small oscillations and behaved as rigid bodies, similar to concrete slabs with three fixed sides and another free. The shape and dimensions of the breach formed on the cohesive cores had roughly the same shape and dimensions as the unprotected area. This experimental research has the potential to be used as validation tool for several models available in the literature to predict the failure of embankment dams. Full article
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19 pages, 5177 KiB  
Article
Deformation Prediction System of Concrete Dam Based on IVM-SCSO-RF
by Shi Zhang, Dongjian Zheng and Yongtao Liu
Water 2022, 14(22), 3739; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14223739 - 17 Nov 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1727
Abstract
Deformation prediction is an important part of concrete dam safety monitoring. In recent years, the random forest (RF) algorithm has attracted more and more attention in the field of dam safety monitoring because of its fast speed and strong generalization ability. However, the [...] Read more.
Deformation prediction is an important part of concrete dam safety monitoring. In recent years, the random forest (RF) algorithm has attracted more and more attention in the field of dam safety monitoring because of its fast speed and strong generalization ability. However, the performance of RF is easily affected by many factors, such as the drift of measured value in displacement and the inappropriate setting of parameters of RF. To solve the above problems, the indicator variable model (IVM) is used to identify and eliminate the drift of measured values in this paper, and the sand cat swarm optimization (SCSO) is applied to optimize RF for the first time. On the grounds of this, a deformation prediction system of a concrete dam based on the IVM and RF algorithm optimized by SCSO is proposed. The case study shows that IVM can correct the interference of monitoring data accurately, and the maximum error rate is less than 3%; in the aspect of parameter optimization of RF, the results of the SCSO algorithm are obviously better than those of the TAE method and PSO algorithm, and the corresponding OOB error is the minimum; in terms of prediction performance, compared with TAE-RF, PSO-RF, LSTM and SVM, SCSO-RF has higher accuracy and stronger stability, and its SSE and MSE are reduced by at least 91%, MAE and RMSE are reduced by at least 71%, and R2 is very close to 1. The results of study provide a new method for the automatic online evaluation of dam safety performance. Full article
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21 pages, 8322 KiB  
Article
The Centroid Method for the Calibration of a Sectorized Digital Twin of an Arch Dam
by Eduardo R. Conde López, Miguel Á. Toledo and Eduardo Salete Casino
Water 2022, 14(19), 3051; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14193051 - 28 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1426
Abstract
In this article, a digital twin is a numerical model of a dam–foundation system with a physical basis. A dam–foundation system exhibits a complex behavior and, therefore, significant simplifications are necessary for a numerical model to be feasible, which reduces a model’s accuracy. [...] Read more.
In this article, a digital twin is a numerical model of a dam–foundation system with a physical basis. A dam–foundation system exhibits a complex behavior and, therefore, significant simplifications are necessary for a numerical model to be feasible, which reduces a model’s accuracy. Differences in the material characteristics of particular regions of the dam and the foundation are usually not considered. An important reason for that is the high computational cost of calibrating a model when many parameters must be optimized in such a way that calibration becomes unfeasible. A new, simple, accurate, and low time-consuming algorithm, the centroid method, is presented that allows the calibration of a dam–foundation system. The extreme efficiency of this algorithm opens the feasibility of calibrating a sectorized numerical model of an arch dam, so that a digital twin is obtained that takes into account the different characteristics of different regions or sectors of the dam and the foundation, more closely approaching the complex behavior of the dam–foundation system. Full article
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13 pages, 7196 KiB  
Article
Overflow Tests on Grass-Covered Embankments at the Living Lab Hedwige-Prosperpolder: An Overview
by André R. Koelewijn, Stephan J. H. Rikkert, Patrik Peeters, Davy Depreiter, Myron van Damme and Wouter Zomer
Water 2022, 14(18), 2859; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182859 - 13 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1927
Abstract
In regions with a temperate climate, a well-maintained grass sod on a clay layer is considered a reliable protection for dams and dikes. In the Living Lab Hedwige-Prosperpolder, on the left bank of the Scheldt river straddling the border between Belgium and the [...] Read more.
In regions with a temperate climate, a well-maintained grass sod on a clay layer is considered a reliable protection for dams and dikes. In the Living Lab Hedwige-Prosperpolder, on the left bank of the Scheldt river straddling the border between Belgium and the Netherlands, a series of 27 overflow tests with a purpose-built overflow generator has been executed to determine the strength of the protective layer against erosion at various conditions. The goal of this paper is to inform on the executed test program and the initial results. From the results, it was concluded that in general, a high-quality grass cover on the landside dike slope can withstand high overflow discharges well for 12 to 30 h, without severe erosion damage. Anomalies, such as the presence of animal burrows, reed vegetation, and already present deformations can strongly reduce the resistance of the cover layer and may lead to failure within a couple of hours. Full article
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14 pages, 4264 KiB  
Article
Riprap Protection Exposed to Overtopping Phenomena: A Review of Laboratory Experimental Models
by Théo Dezert, Geir Helge Kiplesund and Fjóla Guðrún Sigtryggsdóttir
Water 2022, 14(17), 2722; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14172722 - 1 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2855
Abstract
There are increasing demands from dam safety regulations and guidelines to upgrade the rockfill dams, especially in Norway where over 180 large rockfill dams are present. To protect the hydraulic structure against overtopping events or leakages, it is important to use defence mechanisms [...] Read more.
There are increasing demands from dam safety regulations and guidelines to upgrade the rockfill dams, especially in Norway where over 180 large rockfill dams are present. To protect the hydraulic structure against overtopping events or leakages, it is important to use defence mechanisms such as a protective layer of riprap on the downstream slope. In this article, we display 9 experimental setups of riprap, conducted at the hydraulic laboratory of NTNU (Trondheim) and subjected to overtopping phenomena with increasing water discharge, until the complete failure of the model. These tests were performed on models with dumped and placed riprap, with or without toe support, with or without the downstream rockfill shoulder, and finally on models with a full dam profile. The models with downstream rockfill shoulder as well as with full dam profiles allowed for throughflow. The model behaviour during these experimental tests is described and discussed, according to their respective critical discharge values and associated failure mechanisms. Limitations are also discussed. The results bring to light the benefit of placed riprap compared to dumped riprap structures. As the results show a placed riprap can withstand a significantly higher overtopping discharge than a dumped riprap. Also, the use of toe support enables a significant increase of resistance against overtopping of placed riprap structures. However, toe supports have not proven any significant improvement in stability for dumped riprap structures. This research also puts forward that dumped riprap undergoes a surface erosion process with smaller slides. Placed riprap undergoes a sliding failure mechanism when unsupported at the toe, and a buckling deformation when supported. Full article
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