Cracking dams intro

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photo by Charles Hubbard(#)

What is a dam?

A dam is a structure built across a stream, river or estuary to retain water.

There is no unique way to retain water, which is why we see many different shapes for dams. Some dams are tall and thin, while others are short and thick.

Dams are made from a variety of materials such as rock, steel and wood. We will concentrate on dams made from concrete, a complex material, because it is important for the construction of large dams.

Who builds dams?

Well, dams are really the product of many people, but civil engineers are usually key players. Keep your eye out for this cee symbol to point out things that civil engineers do.

What is a Societal Structure?

Societal structures are those whose performance - including catastrophic failure - has a large impact on a significant population.

An obvious example of a societal structure is a bridge. A bridge provides a large number of people with a convientient way to cross a river. Another example is a highway, something that isn't usually thought of as a structure but also needs to be built and maintained because it can affect a large population.

Can you name other societal structures?

photo by Prof. Richard White (#)

traffic cam shot courtesy of Access Atlanta (#)

Societal structures influence people on a daily basis. People receive or use the services of a societal structure. These services usually outweigh the problems of the structure.

People are willing to deal with traffic and construction in order to use their societal structure.

So there must be particular benefits to each societal structure, including dams.

What are the benefits of dams?

Dams intro the advantages of dams