Deltares: Research into Harbour Dam Toes (The Netherlands)

Research into Harbour Dam Toes

Over the next couple of months, Deltares will be performing a large number of tests with the different types of toe construction used in building harbour dams.

The aim of this research is to draw up a more accurate calculation method for constructing dam toes. Various constructions will be tested under a range of wave conditions in the Scheldegoot, one of the test facilities Deltares uses. These tests constitute the first systematic research on such a large scale.

The toe construction is crucial to the stability of a harbour dam. Previous research has shown that the calculation methods for determining toe construction were inaccurate. The resulting designs produced dam toes that were either too heavy and thus too expensive, or too lightweight and therefore easily damaged or expensive to maintain.

Marcel van Gent from Deltares, who is coordinating the tests, says: ‘We expect the tests to produce a more accurate calculation method, making it possible to design safer, but also less expensive harbour dams. The tests will run until the end of the year. The final results will be announced some time in 2013.’

The results could also apply to dikes but more research will be necessary to make the calculations for dike toes more accurate.

Van Gent said: ‘This, too, will require systematic research. It would be worth the effort though, because a more accurate method could save millions spent on dike management.’


Press Release, October 29, 2012