Inflatable Rubber Dams



Inflatable rubber dams have been used as water control structures for more than fifty years.The world’s first inflatable rubber dam was installed in Los Angeles County in the USA in the mid-1950s. In those days, inflatable rubber dams were viewed much as they are today as relatively inexpensive, versatile structures capable of creating pondage and/or controlling flow in a particular watercourse.

The rubber dam is a permanent structure comprising a sheet of rubber-coated fabric (rubber body) which is fixed to a reinforced concrete foundation using clamp plates and anchor bolts. The rubber dam is inflated by pumping air or water inside the rubber body until the design height or pressure is reached. It is deflated by allowing the air or water inside the rubber body to escape.


The inflatable rubber dam has numerous advantages over other types of water control gate, such as:

  • Simple and inexpensive operating system
  • Can be installed on almost any channel cross-section shape
  • Relatively low capital cost
  • Perfect sealing; no leakage
  • Virtually maintenance free; no moving parts, no painting
  • Long spans up to 100m; multiple spans of several hundred metres
  • Easily designed to accept loading in both directions
  • Light structure
  • Clean operation; no hydraulic oil required
  • Can always be “opened” (deflated); no possibility of jamming

Key Elements

The key element of the inflatable rubber dam is the rubber body. The rubber body of the Dyrhoff rubber dam is manufactured by Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd in Japan. Sumitomo Electric has been involved in the manufacture of rubber dams since 1965; longer than other company in the world. In that period, the company has manufactured more than 1,800 rubber dams for projects around the world.

In keeping with market demands, Dyrhoff is also able to supply inflatable rubber dams from manufacturers in China. Dyrhoff was the first company to supply and install a Chinese-made inflatable rubber dam in Europe.

All Dyrhoff’s inflatable rubber dams whether manufactured in Japan, Europe or China are designed to the same technical standards. Dyrhoff inspects all rubber bodies after manufacture and prior to shipping. When requested, Dyrhoff will provide qualified and experienced on-site supervisors to advise on the installation of the inflatable rubber dam anywhere in the world.