Hydrostatic Pressure

What is Hydrostatic Pressure?

Definition of Hydrostatic Pressure in Construction
The exertion of a lateral ( sideways ) or vertical pressure, on another component by the accumulation of water.

Water is a fluid material, unless frozen, water exerts a lateral ( sideways ) pressure on a structure equal to the actual weight of the water, as it accumulates. Extremely powerful and difficult to identify, hydrostatic pressure can result in disastrous failures. The amount of force water can exert, is extremely important to structural engineers designing retaining or foundation walls. In addition, the hydrostatic pressures that can develop under slabs on grade must be carefully engineered and evaluated. Hydrostatic pressure increases as the amount of water accumulates against a non movable component. The lack of drainage, footing drains, under slab drainage, can result in severe compromise of structural components. The basic problem with the accumulation of water and the resultant pressures that develop is the inconsistency of the water infiltration. Storms, earthquakes or other natural disasters can cause water to flow and accumulate, that was never anticipated during the design phase.