Behind the Sines, Protugal Breakwater Failure

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1982, Vol. 52, Issue 4, Pg. 64-67

Document Type: Feature article


This article highlights a report on the possible causes of failure of the massive, $178 million breakwater at Sines, Portugal. This was the largest breakwater of its kind in the world. On February 26, 1978, as construction neared completion, storm waves lashed the breakwater. By the time the storm had abated, two-thirds of the dolos units making up the armor layer of the breakwater were lost. A key reason for the breakwater failure, says this study by ASCE's Coastal Engineering Research Council was the fracturing of many concrete dolos units themselves during the storm. These dolos units are not as strong as model tests led investigators to believe.

Subject Headings: Storms | Concrete blocks | Breakwaters | Failure analysis | Construction management | Breaking waves | Armor units | Material failures | Portugal | Europe

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