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Location: Venice
Discipline: Electromechanics, Port, river & hydraulic engineering
Period: 2016 - 2017

Malamocco Lock

End of study

September 2017

Execution of the physical scale model tests in the hydraulic laboratory at MARIN (the Netherlands).

August 2016

Start of study

March 2016

As part of the MOSE project in Venice, a lock was built in the storm surge barrier to protect the Venetian lagoon from high water levels (‘acqua alta’). This lock in Malamocco should allow navigation when the storm surge barrier is closed, while at the same time remaining operational in view of the large differences in water levels and the considerable wave action associated with a storm. .

Following a storm on the Adriatic Sea in 2015, the lock gate on the sea side of the lock complex was irreparably damaged. SBE was called in to help investigate the causes of this failure in the first place. Initially, the wave climate on the Adriatic Sea was extensively studied and, based on SBE’s years of expertise, various design alternatives and solutions were devised. Given the specific conditions and the innovative character of these designs, physical model tests were carried out to scale. On the one hand, the aim of this test process was to verify the cause of the damage. On the other, a number of different design alternatives were tested so that the most efficient solution could be figured out. The test model was built in such a way that it was adaptable, so that various alternative adaptations in the design could be tested at short notice under different operational conditions. The forces on the structure were measured during the model tests so that they could then be used for the dimensioning of the new lock gate.

In the next phase, SBE worked out a new design for the entire lock, based on an extensive risk analysis. An integral new design for the sea gate was developed, right through from concept to implementation phase. In addition, the concept design for the lagoon gate was also drawn up so that sufficient stability could be guaranteed in the event of a storm.

With this project, SBE was also responsible for an integrated approach. SBE was responsible for the structural and mechanical design of the gates, as well as for the design of the operations and control.