Tarbela Dam—Problems Solved by Novel Concretes

by Paul C. Chao, Chief Project Engineer; Tarbela Dam Tams, New York, N.Y.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1980, Vol. 50, Issue 12, Pg. 58-64

Document Type: Feature article


While constructing the world's largest embankment dam, Tarbela in Pakistan, the designers and contractors faced unprecedented flow volumes and velocities, causing severe cavitation and erosion. The problems affected the tunnels, one of which collapsed, stilling basins, the flip buckets of both spillways, and the slops and floor of the two spillway plunge pools. The solutions, described in detail herein, involved application of special concretes. Record volumes of rollcrete were used to protect the high rock slopes, structures and foundations, and fiber concrete was used to repair stilling basins and spillways. Epoxy paints or coats were used early on to achieve smooth, resistant surface, but generally failed within days. They were ultimately replaced by conventional concrete.

Subject Headings: Spillways | Concrete | Embankment dams | Stilling basins | Scour | Developing countries | Contractors and subcontractors | Fluid velocity | Pakistan | Asia

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