70th anniversary  
70th anniversary  
Anchicayá Concrete Face Rockfill  
Dam: Behaviour of the Concrete  
Face membrane”, Transactions,  
Q55, R30, 14th ICOLD Congress,  
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; May 1982.  
The progress of CFRDs  
Bayardo Materón shares his views on how concrete faced rockfill dams  
have progressed over the past few decades  
[2] PINTO, N.L.de S., MATERÓN,  
B., AND MARQUES, F.P.L., “Design  
and Performance of Foz do Areia  
Concrete membrane as related to  
Basalt Properties” Transactions,  
Q55, R51, 14th ICOLD Congress,  
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 1982.  
I HAVE HAD THE privilege of working on hydroelectric  
projects over the past 60 years as a consultant in the  
design and construction of rockfill dams which have  
been built on the five continents.  
rockfill vibratory compaction, the rapid sliding  
methods in the placement of the face slab concrete  
and the optimisation of water stop seals improved  
the performance of these CFRDs, according to the  
technical literature.  
[3] COOKE.J.B., “The concrete-  
faced rockfill dam”, Water Power &  
Dam Construction; January 1991.  
Several years ago I received the invitation to  
continue the list of Concrete Face Rockfill Dams  
(CFRDs) that IWP&DC publishes in its Yearbook. This  
list was initiated by the respectable consultant J Barry  
Cooke who invited me to continue listing the main  
characteristics of this type of dam, which have been  
proposed, designed and built in the last 100 years.  
If the progress of these structures is analysed,  
it can be seen that the technology developed in  
These construction facts, combined with the  
advances in computer science, have contributed  
to the development of this type of dam that today  
reaches heights to the order of 300m.  
[4] BEACH, A., GILL, R., AND VAN  
EMMERICK, P., “Advances in face  
slab construction techniques  
for CFRDs”, Water Power & Dam  
Construction; January 1991.  
N.B., “Design and Construction  
of the Segredo Concrete Faced  
Rockfill Dam”, Water Power & Dam  
Construction; January 1991.  
Reaching new heights  
Historically the compaction of rockfill using vibratory  
equipment originated in Europe but it was in Australia  
where the Cethana dam, with a height of 110m, was  
built for the first time at the end of the 1960s being the  
highest compacted CFRD structure.  
[6] MATERON B. Evolution in  
slab construction for the highest  
CFRDs., Water Power and Dam  
Construction, April 1992.  
Later in Colombia, South America, the Corporación  
Autonoma Regional del Cauca - CVC adopted this  
type of structure and we built the Alto Anchicayá Dam.  
At 140m it was the highest in the world in its time and  
contributed to the understanding of the deformations  
of these structures stimulating their development and  
Above: Foz Do Areia CFRD, 160m – Brazil Below: Aguamilpa CFRD, 188m – Mexico  
and E. ARFELLI., Construction  
planning for the Xingo CFRD.  
Water Power and Dam  
compacted rockfill, gravels from the riverbed of the  
Santiago river in the state of Nayarit, Mexico. This dam,  
which was the highest in the world, opened the doors  
for the CFE to define later that the El Cajón (188m) and  
La Yesca (208m) dams placed also on the Santiago  
river were of the same type as Aguamilpa with  
excellent behaviour. These three dams were awarded  
the international milestones prize by Brazilian and  
Chinese associations during the technical exchange  
between these two countries.  
Construction, April 1992.  
[8] “Speeding up Construction”,  
International Water Power & Dam  
Construction, September 2003.  
With the experience of these relatively high dams,  
the Companhia Paranaense de Energia Elétrica -  
COPEL, of Brazil, broke the world record for height and  
built the Foz do Areia dam. This was 160m high with  
a waterproofing slab on the order of 140,000m2, and  
with a dam volume of approximately 14,000,000m3.  
The construction techniques and the productions  
in the placement of the compacted rockfill reached  
figures higher than 500,000m3 per month, every month  
for twoconsecutive years.  
[9] MATERÓN, B., “Sharing  
International Experiences in  
CFRDs”, International Water Power  
& Dam Construction, September  
It is interesting to mention that the extrapolation of  
the behavior of CFRDs has spread in several countries  
and continents:  
The technical results obtained in Foz do Areia  
stimulated the adoption of this type of structure (CFRD)  
in Brazil and today 12 dams of the same type have  
been built with adequate behaviour. Among these  
dams are Segredo (145m), Xingo (150m), Campos  
Novos (202m) and Barra Grande (185m).  
Countries such as Chile, Argentina and Colombia,  
are building concrete face rockfill dams. The  
construction of high structures in Asia also began in  
the 2000s, with structures such as Bakún, 205m built in  
Malaysia and Tianshenqiao, 178m in China,.  
In Europe there was construction of Messochora  
dam (150m in Greece) and the Karahnjukar Dam  
(190m in Iceland). In Africa, the dams of Mohale  
(145m) and Merowe (53m) were built and similar dams  
are studied in Lesotho, Ethiopia, Laos and Nepal.  
My greatest achievement and professional  
Below: Shuibuya CFRD, 233m  
- China  
It is worthy of mention that technical aspects and  
construction methodologies of some of these dams,  
including Foz do Areia, have been published and  
commented on in various IWP&DC articles during  
the planning and construction of the projects (see  
satisfaction has been the participation in most of the  
projects mentioned above.  
The Federal Commission of Mexico (CFE) in 1990  
decided to build the Aguamilpa dam. At 187m it was  
higher than Foz do Areia and using, in addition to  
Today the greatest growth and development of this  
type of dam is in China where there is the highest dam  
in the world in operation, Shuibuya CFRD at 233m  
high. New developments are under study reaching  
Top: Bayardo Materón  
heights of 300m.  
Middle: Cethana CFRD 110m – Australia  
Bottom: Alto Anchicaya CFRD, 140m - Colombia -  
More information  
During construction  
Email: bayardo.materon@terra.com.br