State of Art in Block Ramp and Downstream Stilling Basin Design

Authors

1 Prof., PhD, DESTEC-Department of Energy Engineering, Systems, Land and Constructions, University of Pisa

2 PhD, DESTEC-Department of Energy Engineering, Systems, Land and Constructions, University of Pisa

Abstract

Block ramps are hydraulic structures which are commonly used in river restoration projects. Especially in the last few decades, the use of this type of structures have become more and more popular. They furnish a correct balance between the hydraulic functioning and the environmental care, as they minimize the impact on the environment in which they are located. In addition, they can be considered flexible structures, i.e. they can easily adapt to the in situ conditions and they can be easily built to re-convert traditional concrete structures. They can be built either by loose or fixed blocks, arranged on a sloped bed. However, a correct design of this structural typology has to take into consideration several aspects. In particular, the hydraulic functioning of a block ramp is assured when the structure remains stable, i.e. when the blocks are not removed from their original position. Thus, the first step in designing block ramps has to be the structural stability. Furthermore, the analysis has to focus also on the dissipative process occurring on them, in particular it has to consider the different flow regimes that can take place and the effect of the bed roughness on the energy dissipation. Another important aspect is the stilling basin design. In fact, a block ramp has not to be considered as an isolated element in the contest in which it is located. It is part of that contest and it contributes to modify it. Thus, it is extremely important to consider the scour process occurring downstream of the structure. In particular, the maximum scour depth and length have to be carefully estimated in order to avoid structural collapse of the ramp. The scour process occurring downstream of the structure is also extremely important in terms of energy dissipation. In fact, the global dissipative process is the result of two distinct processes: one occurring on the ramp and the other in the downstream stilling basin. Finally, the analysis has to take into consideration which are the global sediment transport conditions of the river in which the structure is located. Thus, it has to be conducted in both clear water and live-bed conditions. It appears evident that a correct design of this type of structures is a complex operation which requires a particular attention in order to avoid functioning problems.

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