August 5, 2016

Making a splash at Rio

By Damien Dungworth

It seems like it was only yesterday I was writing the Moving forward moving water-Rio 2016 blog, back in January 2015. Yet here we are, with the Olympic opening ceremony taking place today and all eyes set to be on the Canoe Slalom on the 7th August.

Having worked on the London 2012 Canoe Slalom course, developed with WPI, the design concept has formed the template for Rio, where we again have a dual-channel facility – the main Olympic competition channel and a smaller training channel. This time, it is slightly smaller, which results in a lower capital cost and lower operating costs.

Our engineering expertise has allowed ICF standards to be met with a reduced head – the height to which the water is pumped from the lake to the top of the channel – and a reduced flow rate down the channel. Energy consumption is reduced by 30% in comparison with London.

Essentially, the venue consists of a self-contained body of water, or lake, with pumping stations to deliver the flow to the start pool at the top of each channel. Water flows down the concrete-lined channel, within which are several obstacles to hold back the flow and create the whitewater. The concrete channel has unistrut cast into it so that plastic blocks can be bolted onto the floor to create a series of movable obstacles.

Combined efforts for both Cundall and WPI have meant that we have been able to minimise operating expenses that will help to ensure a vibrant post-Games legacy. As well as recreation, the course will provide an amazing venue for school and scout groups, commercial rafting, and amateur and professional sport. It will also be a training ground for fire and rescue teams.

It will certainly be a great spectacle, the venue and its backdrop are stunning – and the competition will be compelling! Looking beyond the games, if the legacy is anywhere near as successful as London, it will be amazing!

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Civil Engineering, Damien Dungworth

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