rubber dam

Various types of rubber dams:

– Inflatable rubber dams

– Water filled rubber dams

Based on method of installation, they are named :

– One way

– Two ways

History of rubber dams:

Rubber dams are known as “Inflated Dam”, “Flexi Dam”, “Rubber Dams” or “Flexible Membrane and Inflatable Dam”, amongst manufacturers , researchers and designers of rubber dams. The principles of using such a device was announced in 1974 by a French engineer named Mesnager. But the idea of constructing a dam from synthetic materials, including rubber materials, was first introduced in 1950 by  Norman Imberston the head of  department of Water and Power Engineering at the university of  Los Angeles . The first dam made of rubber was carried out  in the city later in the year 1958. The results of the work were not predictable beforehand, but in well developed countries, due to the importance of the advancement of  knowledge and new ideas in engineering, they made the necessary investment in research, which led to the advancement of this industry. Therefore, it can be said that the history of this innovation and the use of rubber dams goes back to more than 60 years ago, and since then, such dams all over the world have been welcomed . Over the past years, the construction of rubber dams has been the same as other technological inovation with precise computational backing and as one of the newest hydraulic structures that can be used for multi-purpose projects in terms of sustainability and economic benefits.

Physical Properties of the Rubber Damper Body:

The rubber body is made up of armed  rubber (syntactic fibers) , which is resistant to weather and environmental conditions. Typically, the thickness of the rubber body of these dams is about 8 to 20 mm and the number of layers of fibers varies  from 2 to 4 layers  depending on the height, dimensions and forces applied to that .It  is designed with a safety factor of 8. This rubber is resistant to ordinary sharp tools such as knives and other surrounding objects.

Application of rubber dams:

-To maintain a  minimum  water level  for agricultural water supply

– Increase the height of concrete dams to increase the volume of water storage

– Separation of contaminated water or saline water from domestic   water

– Increasing the level of river flows to reduce the cost of water pumping into agricultural areas and boosting the water level for canoes and boats.

– To increase underground water level with the help of rubber dams

– To improve the aesthetic of cities and create tourist attraction by installing colored dams

– Aquaculture in the coastal areas

– Electricity generation by small and large hydroelectric plants

– Flood control in rivers adjacent to mountainous areas

– Use as diversion and adjustments for water management plans

– Reduced erosion in rivers with a steep slope

Advantages of rubber dams:

– Very low cost of operation and maintenance

– Flexible against external factors and possibility to easily change shape.

– Resistance of these dams to environmental factors such as water, pollutants, saline and alkaline waters, toxic residues, sewage and acids

– Simplicity of design and installation

– Life expectancy of 30 to 40 years based on various international applications

– Easy and economical methods for repairs

– Lack of longitudinal limitations for wide rivers

– Environmentally friendly with low cost of imp mentation

Major regions of Iran that rubber dams can be used:

– Shores of the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea

– Central plains of the country

– Mountainous areas

The use of these dams in the northern and southern coastal areas can be effective in solving numerous water problems, such as drinking water supply, agriculture, industry, waste water, prevention of mixture of salty and sweet water, as well as tidal sea problems. The use of rubber dams seems to be feasible in the central plains for management and use of rivers, increasing the storage capacity of concrete dams and diversion and storage of water. Due to the unique condition and circumstance of the mountainous area ,rubber dams are a practical replacement for other methods of water managements systems.