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Some Experiences with the Foundations of Gravity Dams

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Summary: This presentation will compare and contrast the challenges faced during the construction of three large gravity dams in Asia. The main features of each dam’s design and construction will be described, with particular emphasis on the nature of the foundation and abutment rocks and the conditions required to ensure stability. In all three cases the geological conditions exposed during construction were, in places, worse than had been foreseen at the design stage, thus invalidating certain design assumptions. The presentation will cover how these geological conditions were investigated and tested and what practical measures were put in place to overcome the problems. In all cases, adjustments to the design philosophy were also required to arrive at a satisfactory solution. In summing up, some general comments will be offered about the need for an appropriate ground profile model to be established early in the design process to ensure that, to paraphrase Professor Burland “the geotechnical triangle is kept in balance”.

Short Biography: Tim Blower is a Technical Director of Mott MacDonald, and is a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Geologist. He is currently responsible for the technical direction of all ground engineering activities in the Cambridge office. His principle area of activity is providing engineering geology and ground engineering advice to the Environment and Water Divisions, particularly on dams, barrages, reservoirs, pipelines and water treatment works. Accordingly, he is involved in a broad range of projects, both in the UK and overseas, and has recently been working on dams projects in Albania, Georgia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Zambia as well as in the UK.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Geotechnical Society Seminar Series series.

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