Reinforced Concrete: Incredible Design Potential

Mar 6, 2019 12:00:00 PM

From buildings to bridges, tunnels to dams, reinforced concrete forms the basis of our built environment. Its high compressive and tensile strength combined with the ability to create virtually any shape make it a popular choice for building materials. Let’s look at some of the amazing creations built from this incredible material. 


Tamina Bridge, Switzerland

The Tamina Bridge is the largest arched bridge in Switzerland, with an arched span of 265 meters, a superstructure length of 417 meters, and a height of 220 meters above the valley floor. Designed by Leonhardt, Andrä und Partner (LAP), the arch is tensioned horizontally on both sides, with a cross-section varying between 4 meters at the abutments to 2 meters at the center of the arch. The superstructure cross-section is a hollow concrete box for over half of its length to reduce the weight of the bridge, which is 35,000 tons.


The constructability of the bridge needed to be proven early on in the design phase, so extensive designs were created using Allplan Engineering. These were also used to make tendering contractors aware of the challenging framework conditions prior to bidding, such as the particularly steep embankments and deep gorge. On completion, 14,000m³ of concrete, 3000 tons of reinforcement, 180 tons of pre-tensioned strands, and 140 tension member anchorages were installed on site.


Duqm Port Dry Dock, Oman

In the south of the country, a new port and adjoining industrial zone is being developed within a 250-acre (1000-hectare) site. At the core of the new development will be two gigantic, 1,300 foot (410 meter) reinforced concrete dry docks, capable of servicing supertankers with a load capacity of up to 350,000 metric tons. With completion desired within three years, the huge dimensions of the project, as well as the short time constraints, presented a challenge.


The general contractor, Daewoo Engineering and Construction, used Allplan Engineering to deliver an error-free project in a short amount of time. Several large and unusual structures required reinforcement – such as the pump station and dry docks – which would have been difficult to design using 2D methods. With this approach, the design and reinforcement were perfectly coordinated, enabling this titanic project to be delivered in the shortest possible timeframe.


Middle Marsyangdi Power Plant, Nepal

This green energy plant 170km west of Kathmandu has enabled the country to exploit their natural hydro power resources, generating up to 400 gigawatt hours annually. Located in a steep, narrow valley on a substrate of fragile rock, the plant needed to accommodate the raging torrent of 1,200m³ of water coursing through the valley during the rainy season between June and September. Reinforced concrete units were required to handle the forces while also providing a stable foundation for the plant.


The designer, DYWIDAG International GmbH, needed to quickly change the design according to the conditions encountered on site. Creating and revising the reinforcement plans several times was necessary, which – by using Allplan Engineering – was able to be done with the least impact on the program.


Gotthard Base Tunnel, Switzerland

The 57-kilometer-long tunnel between Erstfeld and Bodio is the longest rail tunnel in the world, taking nearly 20 years to construct. The tunnel features two single-track tunnels, with two multifunction stations as well as emergency stop stations and cross-overs. The double-walled construction was created using three formwork units for the cladding and tunnel lining. Each unit used a 10-meter-long formwork carriage that could lay up to 60 meters of concrete per day.


A consortium of five engineering companies worked together to deliver the project, using Allplan Engineering to create the plans and share information for this complex design. More than 150 kilometers of tunnels, adits, cross-passages, and shafts had to be excavated during construction, as well as 28 million tons of rock blasted or cut away. Add in a ventilation system, emergency stations, and the technical installations required, and this project becomes even more challenging – and impressive.


Explore the Potential

Without reinforced concrete, some of the world’s most iconic and ambitious structures would never be built. But designing reinforced concrete structures has its challenges, particularly for complex projects. To see how advanced 3D modeling can boost reinforced concrete design productivity and accuracy for error-free, on-time designs, take a look at our other case studies, or alternatively, download a free trial of Allplan Engineering.



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