Types Of Dams

Dams range in size and complexity of construction from low earth embankment constructed to impound or divert water in small streams to massive earth or concrete dams built across major rivers to store water. The type of dam that is built and its size are a complex function of a demonstrated necessity for water storage or diversion, the amount of water available, topography, geology, and kinds and amount of local materials for construction. Although large embankment dams do not posses the graceful and architecturally attractive configurations of many concrete dams, they commonly require an equal amount of engineering skill in planning, design, and construction. The world's largest dams, as measured by the volumes of materials used in their construction, are embankment dams. In contrast, many of the world's highest dams are built of concrete, and many of them are 180 m (600 ft) or more high.

There are several basic types of dams. Differences depend on their geometric configurations and the material of which they are constructed. Under special circumstances, feature of the basic types are combined within a particular dam to meet unusual design requirement. The followings are the main types of dams:

1. Embankment dams.

a. Homogenous dams, constructed entirely from a more or less uniform natural material.

b. Zoned dams, containing materials of distinctly different properties in various portions of dams.

2. Concrete arch and dome dams.

a. Single arch and dome dams.

b. Multiple-arch and multiple-dome dams.

3. Concrete gravity and gravity-arch dams.

4. Concrete slab and buttress dams.

5. Dams combining two or more basic characteristics of the above basic types.

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