2023 – Innovation in Physical Hydraulic Modelling for Dam Design

Ben Modra, Laura Montano, Reilly Cox, Stefan Felder

Physical hydraulic modelling (PHM) is a reliable design tool for complex and safety critical hydraulic structures such as dams. In an era where infrastructure is increasingly challenged by a changing climate, with a need to transition to sustainable infrastructure, dam designers must employ innovative yet trustworthy design tools to ensure safe and sustainable dam design. Advances in fundamental understanding of complex flow processes are being made by researchers in Australia and around the world that can inform sound engineering design. At WRL these developments are being applied to PHM for project specific dam design. This paper details state-of-the-art technologies and techniques being applied to PHMs of dams, and discusses how these are contributing to the design process. Examples of these approaches are presented including improved measurement of flow velocities in aerated and non-aerated flows using dual-tip phase-detection intrusive conductivity probes and new practices for impeller type meters. Other improvements relate to measurements of aerated water surfaces in complex flow conditions using an industrial LiDAR, providing high frequency, high resolution surface measurements. Another example is use of a Lagrangian flow tracking device for the assessment of the hydrodynamic conditions fish are exposed to when being transported across hydraulic structures. The application of developments in instrumentation is providing an improved depth of understanding of hydraulic conditions for site specific dam projects. These valuable additions to the modelling toolkit provide the opportunity for more safe, sustainable dam infrastructure.

Buy this resource