Concrete is used in almost every house as the primary construction material for walls and foundations. Due to its durability and strength, it can also be used for a wide variety of projects. Overall, concretes can be even used to create small mortars and large scale projects like dams and one example of this is the largest concrete project: Three Gorges Dam in Hubei Province, China.
This massive dam is made out of concrete. After its completion, around 27.2 million cubic meters of concrete were used and most of that were for the dam’s wall which was measured to be at 569 feet high. 463,000 tons of metal were also used to support the foundations of this gigantic dam. The dam measures at 7,661 feet long and with a top reaching at 607 feet above sea level.
It took the workers 3080 days to complete the Three Gorges Dam. The government on the other hand spent 126 billion Yuan to make this dam fully functional. At least 84.7 billion watts of electricity is produced in this dam alone. The huge amount of electricity is conducted by 26 high powered electricity generators.
The body of the dam was initially finished during 2006 but the ship lift of the dam was only finished during 2008 and in that same year, the 26th generator started its first operation. 6 more turbines were added to its 26 collection of turbines. Finally, in the year 2011, the dam’s additional 6 turbines begun to function. With the 32 turbines all in all, the dam generates 100 terrawatt hours of electricity.
Though the Three Gorges Dam looks stable, cracks had already formed as more and heavier rains poured around the area. Originally, the dam was said to handle even the most severe floods in 10,000 years. That prediction was made in 2003 but in 2007, it was estimated that it can only last up to a thousand years. And yet again, another estimation came up and it was now only at 100 years.
This huge dam is also known for its controversies. The cracks that formed recently had forced almost 300,000 residents to evacuate their homes. Other than that, 1.4 million people were also relocated to give way for the construction of the dam. Environmental issues such as landslides and earthquakes are also taken into consideration. Landslides caused by the rising water had contributed to the disturbance of the reservoir. One incident recorded that at least 20,000 cubic meters of land material fell into the Wuxia Gorge.
Even with these issues, China still benefited from the dam. Greenhouse gasses were greatly reduced due to the minimal use of coal which was previously used to create electricity. It successfully avoided 100 million tons of harmful greenhouse gasses from emitting into the atmosphere.
The Three Georges Dam is one of the engineering marvels of the modern history. Its massive size made it the largest concrete project in the world. The construction of this dam sparked controversies that people argue about. But the dam also served its purpose by generating electricity to its people and helping the country reduce its high levels of greenhouse gasses production.