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1. INTRODUCTION

Design flood values of many older existing dams have been revised

upward, and consequently, the discharge capacity of the dam spillways must be

increased. In order to maximize the unit-discharge per available width, many

labyrinth spillways have been constructed in recent years.

(1968), who presents a capacity ratio by comparison with sharp-crested linear

weirs of the same width. In a follow-up study, Hay and Taylor (1970) propose a

design procedure for estimating the discharge over triangular and trapezoidal

labyrinth weirs. Their work shows a trapezoidal layout of labyrinth weir as

optimal. Darvas (1971) establishes a family of curves for designing labyrinth

weirs. These curves are based on experimental results of model studies for the

Wonorora and Avon weirs

require 1 m3 or 2 m3 of reinforced concrete to increase the flow by 1 m3=s.

Increases in flow have been carried out primarily for unit-discharge increases up

to 10 m3=s=m. Besides the relatively high construction costs, another important

disadvantage of the traditional labyrinth weirs is that they cannot be easily placed

on the crest of common concrete gravity dams. A large, flat area is required in

order to support the vertical walls and flat bottoms of the weirs. To meet the need

for a new kind of spillway, the Piano KeyWeir (PIANO KEY-Weir) was

developed. This new type of spillway is an innovative alternative of labyrinth

weirs (Lemprire and Ouamane 2003). Unlike traditional labyrinth weirs, the

bottoms of the keys are inclined, increasing the stability of the structure. The

reduced foundation area allows an easier implementation on the crest of the

existing dams. Lemprire and Ouamane (2003) present rough design criteria,

which are based on experiments performed in two types of PIANO KEY-Weirs at

the University of Briska, Algeria. The hydraulic behavior of PIANO KEY-Weirs is

quite different from that of conventional labyrinth weirs. In the PIANO KEY-

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 2

Weir, the flow is divided into two parts. One part comes from the inlet key of the

PIANO KEY-Weir, overflowing the key as a thin sheet, and the second part comes

from the outlet key, flowing as a jet toward the bottom of the key (Ouamane and

Lemprire 2006; Leite Ribeiro et al. 2007).

Considering that main difference, coupled with the fact that the theory of

labyrinth weirs has been primarily developed for trapezoidal or triangular shaped

structures, the design procedures proposed for labyrinth weirs are not applicable

for PIANO KEY-Weirs.

France, like many other countries, has numerous dams requiring spillway-

capacity upgrades to be in accordance with revised design flood. More than 160 of

these dams are owned by Electricit de France (EDF) and have an average age of

approximately 50 years The PIANO KEY-Weir has proven to be an economical

and efficient solution to augment the spillway-capacity of some of these dams.

The first implementation of such a spillway was carried out during the summer of

2006 in EDF Goulours dam. The PIANO KEY-Weir was successfully tested in

December 2006. Detailed design and construction issues are given by Laugier

(2007). Because of the complexity of flow, the number of geometrical parameters

influencing the capacity of a PIANO KEY-Weir, and the difficult management of

the energy-dissipation system downstream of such new structures, scaled

laboratory models are normally required. Systematic laboratory studies on PIANO

KEY-Weirs that will reduce the need for models are still lacking. The aim of this

work is to meet this need by analyzing some of the available existing data and

describing the operation of PIANO KEY-Weirs based on their major geometrical

dimensions.

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 3

A totally different design has been studied for five years by Hydrocoop (a

non-profit-making international association), and this has been supported by more

than 50 hydraulic tests. The target is a structure which:

can be placed on existing or new gravity dam sections;

will allow for specific flows of up to 100 m3/s/m;

can multiply at least by four the flow of a Creager weir; and,

is structurally simple, and easy to build with the local resources of all

countries.

France and in 2002 at Roorke University in India and Biskra University in

Algeria. Some shapes were then selected, and are based on:

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 4

explains the name "Piano Keys weir" (thus "PIANO KEY. weir");

an inclined bottom of the upstream and downstream part (the part where

the flow enters is known as the inlet, and the other part the outlet); and,

a reduced width of the elements.

Many detailed tests were then done in 2003 on selected shapes at Biskra

University and some tests using a very wide flume at LNH. These detailed tests

provided the basis for optimizing the flow increases according to the ratios

between length, depth, width and shape of the elements, and particularly

according to the ratio.

The impact of various overhangs has also been studied. Particular attention

has been paid to the structural design and construction facilities for selecting the

most attractive solutions. Very simple longitudinal sections have at present been

preferred: it is possible that refining these shapes may slightly improve the cost

efficiency. Further studies are now under way in China (at IWHR in Beijing) and

India (Roorke University) as there are great possibilities for using PIANO KEY.

weirs in these two countries.

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 5

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 6

3. EXPERIMENTAL DATA

data from a number of sources has been collected. Present data comprises the

experimental results carried out in laboratory flumes: at Ho Chi Minh City

University of Technology, (HCMUT), Vietnam and at the Indian Institute of

Technology (IIT), Roorkee, India , as well as data from three physical models

studies in the framework of EDFs All models have been operated respecting

Froude similarity. The collected data consist of released discharge as a function of

total upstream hydraulic head, which includes the velocity head. The geometric

characteristics of PIANO KEY-Weir models are indicated in Figure

parameters, as shown in Eq. (1), which can be summarized as follows:

where the fluid is characterized by its density , the kinematic viscosity , and the

surface tension ; g = acceleration of gravity; and H = total upstream hydraulic

head. The other parameters are related to the geometry of the PIANO KEY-Weir:

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 7

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 8

coefficient (CPIANO KEYW) is presented according to the common weir

formulation referred to the total developed crest length

expressed as a function of dimensionless geometric and hydraulic parameters

For all data, Reynolds number (R) and Weber number (W) are sufficiently

large to avoid fluid viscosity and surface tension scale effects. Due to the

systematic subcritical approach flow conditions and the Froude similarity, gravity

effects are correctly simulated. The studied PIANO KEY-Weirs are all rectangular

shaped ( 90) and thus is not included in the analysis. In a PIANO KEY-

Weir, the parameters a, b, B, L, and W are correlated

except for St-Marc where it is sufficiently high for not influencing the discharge

capacity. The effect of this parameter could therefore not be studied with the

existing data.

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 9

capacity is related to a sharp-crested weir with crest length. A PIANO KEY-Weir

tends to behave like a linear weir as the upstream head increases.

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 10

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 11

5. PRELIMINARY DESIGN

evacuated by the new structure and the maximum available hydraulic head (H),

while the principal constraints are the width of the structure (W) and the

maximum height of the PIANO KEY-Weir (P) Once the discharge enhancement

ratio is calculated for a given value of H and W, several types of PIANO KEY-

Weirs can be envisioned. After the choice of ratio L=W, the width of the inlet a

can be obtained. As values of r, H=a and L=W can correspond to different data

with different values of a=b and a=P, designers should choose the model to be

adopted based on geometrical similarity and after that, calculate a, b, and P. The

selection can be made on the basis of the flow approach condition (P/P1), for

example. This condition should be similar to the model from which the data come.

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 12

Notation

The following symbols are used in this piano key weir

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 13

steel structures could also be used for specific flows of less than 20 m3/s/m, but

would probably be more expensive. The main stresses in reinforced concrete are

in the vertical walls between the inlet and the outlet; these walls act as overhangs

over the concrete blocks, and not as horizontal beams, and it is even possible, to

avoid thermal stresses, to design a vertical joint at the highest part of this wall.

The triangular shape of the wall considerably reduced the stresses as compared

with a rectangular wall; the thickness of the upper part of the wall may be small

(10 to 20 cm). The average thickness of the reinforced concrete structure may thus

be 15 to 25 cm for specific flows of less than 20 m3/s/m and in the range of 50 cm

for specific flow increases of 50 m3/s/m. A P.K. weir as presented above, with a

maximum wall height H, requires, per metre of spillway, a total area of reinforced

concrete of 4.2H. As the nappe depth saving is 0.4 or 0.5H, the necessary volume

of reinforced concrete for saving 1 m of depth along 1 m of existing spillway is

about ten times the wall average thickness, that means it varies from 1.5 m3 for H

= 2 up to 5 m3 for H = 8 m. As the increase in specific flow is about 1.5 H 1.5

increasing the flow by 1 m3/s requires 0.35 m3 of reinforced concrete for H = 2;

and 0.5 m to for H = 8 (to be compared with 2 m3 for the traditional labyrinth for

the UTE dam).

quantity of ordinary concrete equal to 70 per cent of the reinforced concrete

quantity should be added to the quantities.

For new dams, the extra cost as compared with a Creager weir is limited to

the cost of the reinforced concrete: 0.3 or 0.4 m3 per m3/s of the total spillway

capacity. Dozens of traditional labyrinth walls with a similar thickness have been

in operation for a long time and have had no special maintenance problems. It is,

advisable however, to use 350 or 400 kg of cement per m3 of reinforced concrete

and about 200 kg of steel, to guarantee a long life for the structure.

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 14

Construction methods may vary with the height of the structure as well as

the local economic situation and labour costs. They may be chosen with the

contractor and the detailed design can be adjusted accordingly. For structures

higher than 4 or 5 m, the Piano key weir overhang can easily be built in horizontal

steps of about 2 m height. Structures 2 to 5 m high may be precast with unit

weights of few tons

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 15

For a spillway with a design flood of 2500 m3/s and 5000 m3/s of check

flood, a traditional design would use, for instance, four radial gates 12 m wide and

10 m high, with a freeboard of 5 m used for the check flood. The total length of

the spillway, including piers, will be 60 m. In case of total jamming of the gates,

the maximum flow over the gates will be 1000 m3/s, approximately the annual

flood. Four alternatives using P.K. weirs are

A Piano key weir about 80 m long with the sill level at the same level as

the top of the gates. For the check flood, the level would be the same. The nappe

depth of the P.K. weir would be, for the 100 year flood, about 1.5 m. it would be

thus necessary to buy more land than with the gated dam, but the overall cost

would be much lower, and the safety improved.

This weir requires 2000 m3 of reinforced concrete.

A PIANO KEY. weir 50 m long and two flap gates, 6 m high and 12 m

wide. This would add flexibility for managing the reservoir and

controlling floods.

A Piano key weir 50 m long and two low gates, 40 m each: these gates

could be placed 20 or 30 m below the dam crest to control the reservoir

and possibly to flush sediments.

A PIANO KEY. weir 40 m long and two radial gates, as in the basic

solution. The operating levels are the same as for the basic solution for

all floods.

For most new dams, at least one solution using P.K. weirs will thus be less

expensive than traditional solutions, while maintaining or improving the safety. As

there are no patents, these solutions may easily be implemented with the resources

of each country. P.K. weirs will probably be used more often for new dams,

increasing the flow of a Creager weir by about four times and requiring 0.4 m3 of

reinforced concrete per m3/s of total spillway capacity. The construction can be

done by the main contractor, and the cost per m3/s would be about US$ 100 in

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 16

developing countries (to be spent in local currencies). The cost may be US$ 300 to

500 in industrialized countries. This will make it possible to divide the spillway

length of a free flow spillway by four or to reduce by 60 per cent the loss of

storage. The combination of P.K. weirs with gates may also be very attractive.

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 17

DEVICES

Various fuse devices have been used for the same purposes as considered

above for Piano key weirs. For new dams, Piano key weirs will usually be more

attractive than fuse devices, but some fuse devices may be more interesting for

some existing dams, for example:

on top of arch dams, where placing PIANO KEY. weirs may be

difficult; or,

for cost reasons, as in the examples below.

specific targets:

Thousands of small dams in the USA use flashboards for increasing the

storage of existing free-flow reservoirs. They are usually vertical

woodboards, standing against vertical steel pipes embedded in the

spillway sill concrete. The elements are usually about 1 m high or less.

They may be withdrawn by hand before the flood season, or are

overtopped by small floods and bend for the large floods (simple steel

plates directly embedded in the sill may be an alternative). This

solution is not expensive, but not precise, and requires some

maintenance. It could be used for increasing free-flow reservoir storage

by 0.5 to 1 m but, for safety reasons, the height of flashboards would

be limited to 25 per cent of the gap between the spillway sill and the

embankment crest, and the elements would bend for a water level well

below the crest.

They may thus be more attractive than P.K. weirs only where the required

increase in reservoir level is lower than 1 m.

The thickness of the various elements would be, for instance, such that a

first element would tilt for the present design flood and the last one for the

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 18

it can be patent-free in most developing countries where its cost may be

even lower than the cost of P.K. weirs for increasing the free-flow spillway

capacity. They are less attractive for new dams, or for increasing the

storage.

Fuse gates are gravity elements which tilt when an uplift is created under

them for a predetermined upstream level. Their layout may be straight or

labyrinth shaped. Structural costs are lower than for Piano key weirs, but

their design is more complex and their patent requires payment in hard

currency. They may be attractive as compared with Piano key weirs for

improving existing large spillways. The drawback of fuse devices is the

loss of some elements and water, for instance, once per century. It may be

attractive to use Piano key weirs for one half of a spillway and fuse plugs

or fuse gates for the other half, and to design the fuse devices for tilting

only for a flood of low annual probability

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 19

RESERVOIRS

If the nappe depth for the design flood is h, it will be possible to raise the

operating level by 0.6 h if lowering the sill by 0.9 h and installing P.K. weirs, of

which the height H will be 1.5 h. As the value h is between 1 and 4 m for many

existing dams, H will be usually between 2 and 6 m. Where the area of a free-flow

reservoir is more than 2 or 3 per cent of the catchment area, the volume stored in

the nappe depth reduces the downstream flow peak. It is necessary in this case to

reduce the nappe depth saving by the P.K. weir so as not to reduce the dam safety.

It should also be underlined that using a P.K. weir for existing dams reduces the

time for floods downstream of the dam to peak, when the reservoir is not full at

the beginning of the flood. Using Piano key. weirs in conjunction with gates

avoids these drawbacks.

SPILLWAYS

It is often required to increase the spilling capacity of a free-flow spillway

by 50 to 100 per cent, sometimes more. P.K. weirs can be used accordingly. For

instance, if the nappe depth for the present design flood is h, lowering the sill by h

and placing a P.K. weir to keep the same operating level will increase the flow by

about 70 per cent, requiring, per extra m3/s, 0.5 m3 of reinforced concrete and

0.35 m3 of ordinary concrete

Safety authorities often wish to increase the spillway capacity, while dam

owners mainly wish to increase the storage. It is possible to use PIANO KEY.

weirs to increase the storage by 30 per cent of the present nappe depth and to

increase the maximum discharge capacity by 50 per cent. The value of extra

storage may pay also for the extra safety.

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 20

FREE-FLOW RESERVOIRS

A very attractive solution may provide the advantages of a fully gated

solution, without its cost and drawbacks. The sill of the existing spillway can be

lowered by a depth equal to h ; P.K. weirs 1.5 h high will be placed along two-

thirds of the spillway and a flap gate 1.5 h high along one-third. This solution,

which has never been used, seems extremely attractive for thousands of existing

dams, as the storage saving would also pay for an increase in dam safety and

downstream flood control.

It is often necessary to add emergency spillways to existing gated

spillways. Instead of adding costly gated emergency spillways, which do not

avoid the risk of gates jamming, it could often be very advantageous to use a

PIANO KEY. weir spilling the nappe depth corresponding to the freeboard. A

PIANO KEY. weir may discharge for instance, a specific flow of more than 50

m3/s/m for a nappe depth of 4 m.

PIANO KEY. weirs may be used on flat bottoms, as is the case, with

traditional labyrinth weirs, with a better cost efficiency, especially for large

specific flows.

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 21

10.CONCLUSION

Piano key weirs are simple solutions as safe and easy to operate as

traditional free flow spillways and much more efficient. They may:

1. increase the specific flow fourfold;

2. allow specific flows of up to 100 m3/s/m;

3. reduce substantially the cost of most new dams and guarantee their safety;

4. increase the storage of many existing reservoirs for a cost in the range of US

5/m3 in most developing countries, and US 25 in industrialized countries;

5. improve the flood control by many existing dams; and,

6. increase the spilling capacity of many existing dams with 0.5 m3 of reinforced

concrete per extra m3/s.

Piano Key Spillway for Dams 22

11.REFERENCES

Rehabilitation de la capacite devacuation des crues Integration de

Piano Key Weirs sus des barrages existants.

2. Laugier F (2007) Design and construction of the first Piano Key Weir

spillway at the Goulours Dam.

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