Low Head Hydraulic Model Justifies Cost

by Ashok K. Rajpal, Mead & Hunt Inc, Madison, WI, USA,
M. Carson Mettel, Mead & Hunt Inc, Madison, WI, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Power '87


In many cases, developers of low head hydroelectric plants fail to use physical hydraulic modelling as a tool in the design process. Economic constraints are often cited as the primary justification for the design to proceed without the benefit of modelling; but two hydroelectric plants currently under construction on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania demonstrate how low head hydraulic modelling justifies its cost. The hydroelectric projects are located at Lock and Dam Number 5 and Lock and Dam Number 6 on the Allegheny River, about 50 miles (80 KM) north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hydraulic modelling was used in the early design phase of the sister projects. It provided a more accurate picture of the site conditions and their impact upon the proposed design. This level of accuracy would have been impossible to obtain based solely on the standard design calculations and experience with similar projects. This degree of rigorousness has allowed the owners to be more confident of hydropower production capabilities. It also led to design changes which satisfied requirements for flow distribution and eliminated major eddy formations, thereby reducing head loss.

Subject Headings: Hydraulic design | Hydraulic models | Locks (dam) | Head (fluid mechanics) | Hydro power | Rivers and streams | Locks (waterway) | Flow distribution | Pennsylvania | United States | Pittsburgh

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