2012 – Investigation of stilling basin slab stability for Waipapa Dam Spillway, NZ

Karen Riddette, Chee Wei Tan, Alan Collins, David Ho

Due to a number of historical stilling basin slab failures around the world, modern basin slab stability assessment approaches now require allowance for hydrodynamic pressure fluctuations. Extreme fluctuations in uplift pressures have been found to occur in hydraulic jumps and plunge pools resulting in high-pressure pulses being transmitted via joints and drainage openings to the underside of the slab. If, peak uplift forces beneath the slab coincide with minimum pressure fluctuations on the top of the slab, the resulting pressure differential can be sufficient to lift a slab. As a result, simple static design based on tailwater depth and mean floor pressures is now considered highly non-conservative.

Through a case study on the Waipapa Dam spillway stilling basin, this paper examines the use of CFD modelling to compute mean hydrodynamic slab pressures taking into account the location of the hydraulic jump and the effect of the impact blocks on the pressure distribution over the slab. By combining the CFD results with empirically-derived pressure fluctuations, uplift scenarios are applied in a FEA model to compute the maximum load in the slab anchors and examine the sensitivity of the stilling basin slabs to uplift failure.
Keywords: Stilling basin, hydrodynamic modelling, CFD, pressure fluctuation, slab stability.


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