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How Does an Inflatable Cofferdam Work?

Compared to other dams, inflatable cofferdams are very beneficial. They are engineers’ idea of restricting flooding water in construction projects near water surfaces or areas prone to floods. These portable dams provide dewatering solutions in many projects. They are portable and can protect buildings near water bodies from getting damaged.

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Heavy rains can cause flooding, and when the water pressure is extreme, it can quickly sweep away building materials in construction sites. The temporary portable dam dewaters or diverts water in the area where construction is taking place to create a dry working area. These mobile water-filled barriers also offer flood protection and ensure that hazards caused by water are curbed.

For best performance, the portable cofferdam works with the following three elements.

Internal Baffle System

An internal baffle system reduces pressure from the nearby water. The systems work by altering the flow pattern of water. And by doing that, the cofferdam is locked into place to prevent it from floating away. The internal baffle system ensures the cofferdam’s stability, making it more durable and environmentally-friendly.


Freeboard is the distance between the topmost point of a dam and the reservoir’s full supply level. It’s constructed above the water level. For an inflatable cofferdam to work efficiently, it should have at least 25 percent of freeboard in an all water-filled cofferdam installation.

However, there’s no exact size of freeboard required. You may need more freeboard if there are signs of increased water velocities that might leave the barrier exposed. Also, soil and other hydrostatic conditions can influence the size of the freeboard required.

Surface Friction

Sometimes water comes with unannounced high pressure, and this can cause significant damages if not stabilized. The water inflated cofferdams use surface frictions to stabilize the uneven hydrostatic pressures. The dams which have weak soils need pipe support. Also, those with silt soil conditions might require an additional freeboard.

Using the Inflatable Cofferdam to Prevent Flooding

Although the inflatable cofferdam is not a long term solution to the destruction water can bring, it helps to hold water momentarily during construction in flood-prone areas. Inflatable cofferdams are also used as flood barriers in homes and buildings near water.

Join the conversation to learn more about inflatable cofferdams and how they work.

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