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The 4 Types Of Floodwalls And What They Could Do For You

The 4 Types of Floodwalls and What They Could Do for You

There are numerous natural disasters across the globe that can take place at any moment. Rather than letting them wreak havoc on infrastructure and wildlife unchecked, preventative measures can be put in place to minimize the damage.

Floods are a natural disaster that can range in severity, and they often occur with other disasters such as hurricanes. In order to properly safeguard communities and the various structures and people within them, proactive methods of flood control must be taken.

When it comes to water infrastructure, floodwalls are one of the major types of flood control structures used today. There are four variations of the floodwall, however, and which type is used depends on the characteristics of the structure and surrounding area.

Gravity Floodwalls

These types of walls have the simplest of structural design and rely on their namesake. Using gravity, or mass really, the walls are weighted down on the bottom to ensure immobility. Constructed in the shape of a right triangle, the bases of the walls are much larger, and therefore heavier, than the tops, and are buried up to a certain point below the ground. The large mass below ground makes it difficult for water to move the floodwall. However, even though these have a simple design and concept, they require a lot of material (usually concrete) to construct. Also, the higher the walls are built, the more weight that is needed on the bottom to balance the wall.

Cantilever Floodwalls

These are the most common type of floodwalls used by civil engineer services because they’re cheaper to design and construct. They’re usually made from reinforced concrete and metal bars; they have a design more similar to an upside-down “T.” Buried beneath the existing grade are the heel and toe of the cantilever wall, with the toe side facing away from the water source. These types of walls can also be used as retaining walls. However, similar to gravity walls, the higher the structure needs to be, the more costly it becomes.

Buttress and Counterfort Floodwalls

These walls are similar to cantilever walls in design, save for a transverse wall. The additional wall is the only thing that separates the two designs as well. A buttress’s transverse wall is on the heel side, whereas a counterfort’s transverse wall is on the toe side. This makes the counterfort a more popular choice since the transverse walls are hidden by the retained material and offer more space in front of the wall. Both of these are viable, cost-effective options if the floodwalls are over 20 feet.

There are other means of flood control as well as water infrastructures, such as levees and dams. Every method will eventually require repair or replacement at some point, leaving a new design possibility to civil engineers. In America alone, the American Society of Civil Engineers recently declared over 4,095 dams to be not safe. While that may seem like a bad thing, it’s actually an opportunity for new and better designs to be implemented.

Civil engineers are able to then create a better, more efficient system for everyone.

If you’re in need of a civil engineering company, contact the ACI Corporation today.

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