‘Sluice Gate’ Tag

Sluice Gate

Photo Credit: Karl Jansen

This is a vertical rising sluice gate, which means that a piece of machinery is used to adjust the height of the gate. By adjusting this height, the sluice gate is able to control the water. In general, sluice gates are used to control the level and flow rate of water in a river. When the gate is fully lowered, water could spill over the top of the gate which has the same effect as a weir. Sluice gates are a powerful tool used by engineers to control water in a river, which is especially critical during a time of flooding.

Dam Sluice Gate

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

This is the spillway of a medium sized dam on the Huron River in Michigan. When water is released down the spillway it exits under a sluice gate in the supercritical flow state. Supercritical flow, however, has too high a velocity for the natural river bottom and will cause an erosion issue. To prevent this fast flowing erosive water force concrete blocks, called baffle piers, are added just downstream. This causes a hydraulic jump to occur transferring the flow from supercritical flow to subcritical flow. Subcritical flow is closer to natural river flow and is therefore less of an erosive force. The baffle piers of this dam can be seen under the water about two-thirds up the page.

Dam Discharging Water

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

The dam pictured above is one of thousands of such dams spread across the United States. This dam is used to control the flow of water downstream by limiting the flow of the river over itself. Water volume is regulated by raising and lowering steel doors, called sluice gates, on top of the dam. During normal conditions this dam operates with two sluice gates partially open, but during flooding more gates can be opened to allow more water to pass. It is very important that too much water doesn’t build up behind the dam which could lead to dam failure.