Hydraulic Engineering Structures

A waterway infrastructure that meets demand is a key element of high-capacity transport infrastructure. Weirs and locks ensure sufficient water levels for navigation by ships and enable shipping to use rivers and canals. It is these hydraulic engineering structures that enable goods to be transported by ships in a safe and environmentally friendly manner, both between the many inland ports and, in the case of international freight transport, maritime ports. Besides navigability issues, questions of energy generation and flood protection and ecological aspects also need to be considered.

We provide support and consultancy to the WSV regarding the maintenance, repair and new construction of its hydraulic engineering structures, e.g. ship locks or weirs, by examining the hydraulic functions of the structures. Depending on the issue to be solved, we use physical models, numerical simulation methods and, more and more frequently, combine these two complementary approaches (‘hybrid modelling’). In addition, the systems used for the control and regulation of the facilities are assessed for their suitability. Complex simulation technology is employed to develop adequate control devices for the weirs in a chain of barrages. All our methods are continuously refined to meet the increasingly complex requirements in this field. Thus, high-resolution three-dimensional numerical flow models have been used more and more often recently. These models can provide answers to issues such as the susceptibility to vibration of hydraulic engineering components made of steel or the propagation of the filling jet during lock filling and the resulting effect on the vessel in the lock chamber.

Better materials and models, greater emphasis on the development of standard solutions and the corresponding codes and regulations, and growing digitalisation will enable faster and more cost-efficient implementation of waterways engineering projects whilst maintaining the safety of navigation and of the owners of the adjacent land.