The analysis and design of inflatable hydraulic structures
The range of possible uses of inflatable hydraulic structures is very great provided a suitable design and analysis technique is available. The object of this project was to study both theoretically and experimentally the behaviour and performance of inflatable hydraulic structures under both hydrostatic and hydrodynamic conditions for dams inflated with air, water and a combination of the two. The theoretical analysis was based on a finite element approach to design a dam under different inflation fluids in order to find the dam parameters of tension, profile of the dam, upstream slope, and elongation of the material under both hydrostatic and hydrodynamic conditions. A series of models of different sizes were constructed and tested under both hydrostatic and hydrodynamic conditions. A comparison of different output parameters was carried out between the experimental and theoretical results showing a good relationship between the two. Relationships were derived so that the length of the membrane could be found for the design of a dam to satisfy particular conditions. A new formula was derived for calculating the rate of flow and coefficient of discharge for all three types of inflation allowing the application of inflatable dam as a device for measuring discharge. A range of computer programs was written for the analysis and design of all dams based on the finite element approach. This work was restricted to single anchor dams with the anchor located on the upstream side.