So-called “Type IX” chute spillways with impact baffle blocks have been used successfully around the globe for over 50 years. A key advantage of the chute spillway is the elimination of a costly stilling basin allowing for a more simplistic outlet works design. The current design process is based upon physical models developed in the 1950s and observation of completed projects over the last 50 years. The design procedure is empirical and provides the designer with a range of workable layouts, baffle heights, and baffle spacing. Unfortunately, this approach may not be optimal. This first study of a longer research effort focus uses Monte-Carlo simulations and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to examine the design methodology and physical model basis for the current design procedure. Initially, the study examined the design procedure with a Monte-Carlo simulation to explore the range of acceptable designs that can be realized. Then, using CFD, full-scale prototype (located in Gila, Arizona USA) physical model result that were a key basis for the current design procedure were recreated. The study revealed that a wide range of acceptable chute designs can result from following the current design procedure but that some of these may be better than others. The study also outlines future research efforts needed to revise the current design methodology.
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