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Using an innovative revetment for overtopping protection of levees and dams




Cooley, B. H., author
Thorton, C., author
Colorado State University. Department of Engineering, publisher

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This paper focuses on the tufted-geosynthetic revetment system (TGRS), and its performance for levee and dam overtopping. The TGRS is an innovative technology developed to be a permanent revetment system which resists significant hydraulic forces. It is a flexible, fiber-reinforced concrete revetment consisting of a high-friction geomembrane overlain by engineered turf which is infilled with a high strength concrete. Extensive full-scale testing was performed on the TGRS at Colorado State University (CSU). Steady state evaluations included testing the performance under the following conditions: the intact system, impact and abrasion from heavy debris loads, intentionally damaged state, and hydraulic jump. Unsteady state testing was performed in the wave overtopping simulator in accordance with the testing methodology developed for the US Army Corps of Engineers. The installed system was evaluated under intact and intentionally damaged conditions. The TGRS performed exceptionally well in maintaining the underlying, highly-erodible subgrade soils during severe steady and unsteady hydraulic forces. Also, consideration of non-hydraulic stresses is important when assessing the performance of the TGRS. These include aerodynamic testing under hurricane force winds, weathering tests and functional longevity, and flammability testing. This paper will introduce the TGRS and its different components. The procedures and results of the extensive full-scale testing performed at CSU will be presented. The testing and results for the non-hydraulic stress evaluations will be discussed. Also, a factor of safety methodology for designing with TGRS will be introduced.


Presented at the Protections 2016: 2nd international seminar on dam protection against overtopping: concrete dams, embankment dams, levees, tailings dams held on 7th-9th September, 2016, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. The increasing demand for dam and levee safety and flood protection has motivated new research and advancements and a greater need for cost-effective measures in overtopping protection as a solution for overtopping concerns at levees and dams. This seminar will bring together leading experts from practice, research, development, and implementation for two days of knowledge exchange followed by a technical tour of the Colorado State University Hydraulic Laboratory with overtopping flume and wave simulator. This seminar will focus on: Critical issues related to levees and dams; New developments and advanced tools; Overtopping protection systems; System design and performance; Applications and innovative solutions; Case histories of overtopping events; Physical modeling techniques and recent studies; and Numerical modeling methods.
Includes bibliographical references.
Keynote speaker: Professor Chris Thornton, PE, PhD, M.ASCE. Chris is the Director of the Engineering Center and Hydraulics Laboratory at Colorado State University. He received his PhD in Hydraulics at Colorado State University and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Colorado. He has over 25 years of experience in conducting hydraulic model studies and has specialized in high energy, supercritical flow conditions and performing prototype performance tests on erosion control techniques. Additionally, Dr. Thornton has been instrumental in developing test facilities and protocols to evaluate levee armoring under prototype conditions. His teams at the Hydraulics Laboratory has recently developed a wave overtopping simulator and are currently investigating the stability of dam and levee protective layers from the combined effects of wave and steady state overtopping. Dr. Thornton teaches the Senior Design series for the graduating Civil and Environmental Engineering students and has authored and co-authored numerous papers and reports in the area of open channel hydraulics.

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