Dr. David Harris worked for the US Bureau of Reclamation for almost 40 years. The Bureau owns and operates about 400 dams in the United States, 100+ of which are concrete – including the famous Hoover Dam.
With residential or pavement concrete – it’s typically done in a straight shot. You simply pour it all down and you are done.
A large dam is poured chequerboard fashion, and copper tubing is used to run water through to cool the concrete.
Because the dam is so big, if you poured it all in one shot (which would probably be impossible anyway) you would get thermal cracking from the heat generated! It then would take hundreds of years to get that heat of hydration down to the ambient temperatures.
Dams are more than simply a big wall – there are spillways which need to resist abrasion issues, outlet works which are usually concrete-lined, pipe works, hydraulic works, power plants which could have special needs for the strength etc.
Watch this five-minute video for an introduction to the factors involved!
If you’re working with civil infrastructure concrete, we’d love to help make your concrete stronger and last longer! Get in touch!