Inflatable rubber dams for hydropower applications

The concept of an inflatable rubber dam was first patented 70 years ago by French engineer M. Mesnager. Shortly after, Norman Imbertson of the USA designed and installed the first working rubber dam in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s while working as an engineer for the LA Department of Water and Power. Rubber dam technology gained popularity around the world in the 1960s after several large rubber dam projects had been completed by Imbertson and the technology was licensed to Sumitomo Electric, a Japanese company. In the next 30 years, Japan became the biggest producer of rubber dams as Bridgestone, a rubber product manufacturer, entered the market, and an estimated 6000 rubber dams are currently in use worldwide with almost 4000 of these in Japan. Applications for rubber dams range from irrigation, ground water recharge, water storage, tidal and flood management, habitat restoration and hydropower. This paper will focus on rubber dams for use in hydropower projects.

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Inflatable rubber dams for hydropower applications

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