PUBLICATION: Form finding and analysis of inflatable dams using dynamic relaxation

Inflatable dams are flexible membrane structures inflated by air and/or water. Due to their ease of construction, rapid deployability and low cost, these systems have great potential for hazard mitigation applications in the context of global warming. However, designing inflatable dams is a challenging task as the dam’s initial equilibrium shape has to be determined by either experimental or numerical form-finding methods. Furthermore, the dam’s shape and the applied loading are coupled since changes in the form of the structure induce also changes in the loading profile. In this paper, dynamic relaxation, a well-established form-finding and analysis technique, is employed for the cross-sectional analysis of inflatable dams. Using this technique and the proposed extensions, the structural behavior of inflatable dams can be analyzed under constant and varying internal pressure as well as different loading and support conditions. The results are in agreement with published results in literature. Therefore, the presented method provides an alternative computationally advantageous tool for the design of inflatable dams