Free-Form Arch Dam Design System

by Walter Stensch, Chf. Engr.; Computer Applications, Surveyer, Nenninger & Chenevert, Inc., Montreal, Quebec, Canada,
G. Gerry, Project Mgr.; Surveyer, Nenninger & Chenevert, Inc. Montreal, Quebec, Canada,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1975, Vol. 101, Issue 4, Pg. 795-806

Document Type: Journal Paper


Instead of using curves, e.g. circles, parabolas, or three-centered arches, the new technique defines the upstream and downstream faces by designating coordinate locations of selected points on the surface of the dam. The geometry is generated by the computer and the actual shape is produced by the plotter for review and reshaping. Used in conjunction with stress analysis programs, the new method enables the designer to examine numerous shapes within a relatively short time because of the ease with which shapes can be defined and altered. The design procedure has been programmed for the 1130 computers and the total system includes definition, stress analysis, construction data, and plotter output modules. The paper describes the basic concept of free-form definition, the computer system, and experience with an actual arch dam design and automated design using graphic displays.

Subject Headings: Arch dams | Stress analysis | Structural systems | Rivers and streams | Terminology and definition | Curvature | Paraboloid | Geometrics

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