There are many different types of culverts that can be used for various reasons depending on their functions and the intensity of loads they are designed to carry, from water flow management to defense against floods.
What is Culvert?
The first known culverts were made by the Romans. The term “culvert” is derived from the Latin word “columbarium”, which means a large drain or sewer.
A culvert is an enclosed pipe that directs water flow under a road, railroad, trail, or similar obstruction from one side to the other side. A structure larger than a drainage ditch but often less than 25 feet (7.6 m) wide and deep enough for substantial vehicles (such as cars) to pass through. They are used both in civil engineering and geological engineering (the latter is usually for larger streams).
Different types of culverts can range in size from a large metal box culvert to a small brick arch culvert installed beneath a driveway to allow water to drain from the top of a driveway into a roadside drainage swale without washing out the underlying soil. The technology and design of culverts vary based on use and location, with some types proving more versatile than others. Different types of materials also lend themselves better to certain applications, such as a plastic pipe that is easy to work within confined spaces for drain-waste-vent (DWV) applications or precast concrete water pipes.
Culverts must be sized appropriately for the discharge flowing through them to prevent clogging. In many cases, this depends upon both rainfall and the size and capabilities of downstream drainage structures such as larger streams, storm sewers, or other culverts. Many manmade canals are created by redirecting not only surface runoff but also all or some of the flow from existing culverts. They may be installed both beneath roads and above them, as well as along shorelines (coastal erosion), and into other structures such as retaining walls.
Culverts are also part of a system of conduits that carry water under a road or between properties, typically to allow vehicle or pedestrian traffic to cross without requiring users to enter the adjacent waterway. Different types may be used based on a number of factors including the requirement for ventilation, the level difference across the culvert, load capacity required, installation site conditions, cost constraints, and aesthetics. A significant distinction in design is whether or not a culvert allows sediment through during times when it isn’t carrying flowing.
The Different Types of Culverts in Civil Engineering Construction
There are many different types of culverts that can be used for any number of reasons depending on what they will be bearing, from water flow management to defense against floods in civil engineering construction which may include the following:
- Pipe Types of Culverts (single or multiple cells)
- Pipe Arch Types of Culverts (single or multiple cells)
- Box Types of culverts (single or multiple cells)
- Arch Types of Culverts
- Bridge Types of Culverts
Pipe Types of Culvert (single or multiple cells)
Pipe types of culverts are pipe-like structures that use the pipe arch bridge design for their structural support. It is based on the concept of using either pre-stressed concrete or steel to create arches. These pipe culverts rely on support beams that suspend them in place while the pipe sidewalls hold up the load placed upon them.
A pipe culvert can be used to keep waterways running under roads, railways, and other human-made structures so that wildlife does not get cut off from other wildlife or habitat areas across these obstructions. They are also used by humans, though they are usually substantially smaller than ones built for nature’s use. Humans often utilize pipe culverts to help direct water flow across a pipe, usually a pipe below ground level.
This pipe culvert exhibits the necessary strength to allow people and cars to cross over it safely.
Pipe Arch Types of Culvert (single or multiple cells)
A pipe arch culvert is a type of pipe culvert which uses arches as support on either side of the open pipe itself, thus creating a strong structure with little potential for collapse or damage. These pipe arch culverts may also use concrete as their base material rather than steel if they will not have heavy traffic going across them on a regular basis. Pipe arch culverts are designed to replace pipe culverts. They are functional, economical, and aesthetically pleasing. They are fabricated by welding together premade steel elements.
There are different kinds of pipe arch culverts; the pipe can be flat on top with the bottom portion of the pipe being round or circular or vice versa. Some pipe arch culverts have a v-shaped top while some pipe arch culverts have a round top. Pipe arch culverts can come in many sizes and lengths depending on where they are needed for.
A pipe arch culvert functions as a bridge for water to flow through; people can walk across them without fear of falling into whatever body of water they are under (streams, rivers, lakes, etc.).They can also be used in areas where flood control is needed; they will allow the water to stay in their designated area and not flood into other areas or damage any surrounding structures.
Pipe arch culvert systems are relatively easy to install and maintain and they do not require much effort to keep them clean so they are safe for people of all ages. They have been around since 1864, but are still being used today because of their many benefits over other kinds of culverts. A typical pipe arch culvert can carry a wide variety of vehicles including cars, trucks, tractors, plows, etc. They are good for the environment because they do not disrupt wildlife habitats or disturb any ecosystems that may be present in an area.
Box Types of Culverts (single or multiple cells)
Box culverts are box-shaped concrete or steel structures used in a variety of applications, including drainage and highway construction. They look like boxes with hollow centers to allow water to drain through them.
Box culverts have box-like openings on top and bottom that create a box shape. These four box-like openings keep dirt from collecting inside the culvert while allowing rainwater or melted snow to pass through easily, providing a tunnel for water flow. They provide structural support for highways over low points where water runoff accumulates, allowing traffic to continue flowing smoothly even when it rains heavily. Highway engineers also use box culverts at intersections for this same purpose.
These types of culverts can be made out of metal or concrete depending upon the application. Some box culverts have a box-like opening on just one side, but many box culverts have box-shaped openings on both the top and bottom to prevent dirt from collecting inside.
They are often used in rural motorway construction in Germany, replacing former timber bridges. On some box culverts, steel beams replace the upper deck of the structure so that only the lower box is visible when driving over them. This solution has been applied at river crossings where the traffic load is too low for building a motorway bridge. It also reduces costs by not requiring deep foundations under the arches to support their loads.
Arch Types of Culvert
There are a number of arch culverts out there, and here we’ll focus on the box arch culvert type. The arch exists under pressure to keep water moving through smoothly at all times. As is with any arch, it has multiple supports that intersect each other.
Arch culverts are typically used in channels where there’s no room for more traditional ones, or when one has to be placed underneath another infrastructure already built. They can also be used in older parts of cities where traffic levels are low.
As mentioned earlier, they’re designed for flowing liquids, arch culverts work well because they reduce the possibility of water backing up, which may lead to erosion. They also prevent debris from accumulating in the channels. In addition, arch culverts have a lot of flexibility and work well in sloped areas which would prove problematic for other kinds of culvert structures.
The arch-like shape itself is perfect for allowing the water to flow smoothly through it, even when there’s a lot of pressure placed on it. The arch shape also helps when one doesn’t want accumulated sediment or plants growing inside the arch culvert cells.
Bridge Types of Culverts
The earliest culverts were open chutes where the flow was only slightly diverted from its original path, and long venturing underground and were also used to overcome obstacles or physical barriers that intercept surface water traveling from one place to another.
Bridge types of culverts in civil engineering allow for a fluid transition between two different road surfaces while maintaining an open passageway for stormwater. Bridge types of culverts must be able to withstand the full impact of any debris washed downstream during a high-intensity storm event while still allowing uninterrupted vehicular traffic over the bridge. Bridge culverts are most often used in bridging gaps longer than 6 feet (1.8 m) with water depths up to 15 feet (4.6 m).
Their construction begins by removing topsoil and vegetation from the area in a radius of 20 feet (6.1 m) around where they will be installed. They are placed by excavating the stream channel, removing any large rocks or gravel before backfilling with compacted granular material to prevent erosion when water levels rise again. Bridge culverts in civil engineering construction may also need to have sloping sides built into them so that they can transition from one level to another at the base of the bridge itself.
FAQs on types of culverts
What is a function of a culvert?
A culvert is a large, underground pipe that carries water, stormwater, or industrial wastes from one place to another. Culverts are used in many different places and have a variety of functions. They are often used to connect different parts of a city or to carry water from high elevations down to lower areas. They can also be used to carry stormwater away from roads and neighborhoods during heavy rains.
What material is used for culverts?
Culverts are typically made from a variety of materials, depending on their intended use. Culverts made for water drainage can be made from steel or concrete, while culverts used for road and rail traffic can be made from plastic or metal. Culverts that are used to cross over bodies of water may have a more specialized design, made from materials that are resistant to weathering and erosion.
What is the top of a culvert called?
A culvert is a type of drainage system that can be found on roads, railways, and other areas. It is also known as a culvert bridge or box culvert. The top of a culvert is called the crown.
What is another name for a culvert?
Culverts are also known as water courses, waterways, or canals. A culvert is a man-made structure that allows water to flow through it without getting wet. Culverts are used in many different types of landscapes, including urban areas, agriculture, and forestry. They come in many different shapes and sizes and can be made from a variety of materials.