FDH Infrastructure Services

NDT Methods to Measure Tension in Post-Tensioned Dam Anchorages (Phase I)

The nation’s large dams have seen increased trunnion anchor rod failures as the average age of a U.S. dam age is now approaching 60 years. Inspections are required to determine all necessary repair and improvement areas in order to extend the dams’ useful life by decades.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, MS, partnered with FDH to complete a full validation and certification of FDH’s Dispersive Wave nondestructive test method for application on post-tensioned trunnion rods. This nondestructive test method will eliminate the costly and hazardous hydraulic lift-off test, and also yield more accurate and quicker results.

From 2009-2011, FDH built a full-scale trunnion rod prototype test set-up at its R&D lab in Raleigh, performed prototype testing of the NDE test for trunnion rods, patented the test method, and began field feasibility testing at West Point and New Hogan dams. Results showed the new test is accurate within +-3% of the traditional test method (lift-off testing), significantly safer, and 10x faster, resulting in a 90% overall cost savings.

From 2012-2014, FDH continued field testing at Greenup and New Hogan dams, as well as on the newly constructed and installed anchor rods on the Folsom Auxiliary Spillway.

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