News & Views, Volume 46 | Adding Value Through Test Informed Modeling: Hydro Structures

By: Eric Kjolsing and Dan Parker

News & View, Volume 46 | Adding Value Through Test Informed Modeling- Hydro StructuresIn 2018, Structural Integrity Associates (SI) supported a utility in the structural assessment of a submerged concrete intake tower.  The tower is nearly a century old and was investigated as part of the utility’s periodic maintenance program. 

The assessment required the generation of an analysis model that accounted for both the structure and the surrounding water.  When accounting for fluid effects, a typical analysis approach is to develop a fluid-structure interaction (FSI) model that explicitly accounts for the interaction between the surrounding water and concrete tower.  However, this modeling approach is expensive both in terms of (a) cost, due to the increased effort needed in generating the model and (b) schedule, due to the increased analysis run time.  In lieu of developing an FSI model, SI implemented an alternative numerical approach to model the effects of the water and justified the approach through physical testing of the in-situ structure.