Gravity Dams: What do they simply mean

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In terms of force, gravity dams are the ones so designed/proportioned that their own weight resists the forces exerted on them. A gravity dam is the most permanent one, the most common type of dams and requires little maintenance. These are made of both masonry and concrete. Concrete ones are more common these days. In presence of good foundations, very high dams can also be constructed. The highest dams of the world are gravity type. 

The diagram below shows the practical profile of a gravity dam, where ρrepresents the specific gravity of dam material. 


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