Water engineering

We focus on river mechanics and sediment transport, collaborate with researchers worldwide, and further our knowledge with cutting-edge facilities.

Our research

Some current research projects include:

  • Experimental study of abutment scour countermeasures, undertaken in collaboration with US colleagues
  • An investigation of the phenomenon of sediment transport on the smallest scale – looking at turbulent flow entraining single bed particles
  • A project aimed to identify and understand the mechanics involved in the formation and growth of submerged particle waves
  • Physical model study of hydraulic issues relating to a canal estate development
  • Investigating flow and depositional processes of clay-rich turbidity currents
  • Laboratory study of patterns in gravel-beds and the surrounding flow field

Water Engineering Laboratory

The Water Engineering Laboratory is located within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. We are a hub for experimental, field and numerical initiatives to tackle our water resources problems. We are a world-leading academic research and consulting laboratory, hosting a range of sophisticated equipment that measures flow depths and velocities based on acoustic, ultrasonic, laser and imaging systems; as well as underwater topographies and forces on objects. Our expertise include:

  • River, coastal and estuarine hydrodynamics and sediment transport
  • Civil engineering hydraulics and hydraulic modelling
  • River and coastal engineering
  • Ecohydraulics
  • Catchment hydrology

Facilities and instruments

Our water is supplied through a reservoir – header tank ring main system (one 250 mm supply line, three 150 mm supply lines and one 100 mm high pressure supply line). We can supply a maximum flow 250 l/s to anywhere in the laboratory. All laboratory supply lines are equipped with Krohne magflow meters. We have two calibration pits of 5.3 m/2 and 21 m/2 for accurate flow measurements in addition to the magflow metres. The head at laboratory floor level is 14.2 m, and a high pressure pump delivers 22 l/s @ 150 m head.

The Water Engineering Laboratory is comprised of a variety of Open Channel Flumes, Wave Flumes and modelling space.

  • 1500 Flume
    • 43m L x 1.5m W x 1.1m D glass sided
    • Variable slope up to 1.5%
    • Recirculating water and sediment
    • Flow rates up to 1000l/s
  • 2400 Flume
    • 21m L x 2.4m W x 0.5 m D
    • Variable slope up to 2%
    • Recirculating water and sediment
    • Flow rates up to 1200l/s
    • Recessed test section glass sided 4.8m long
  • 600 Flume
    • 20m L x 0.54m W x 0.55 D acrylic flume
    • Variable slope up to 1.1%
    • Features a recessed sediment sump with a mobile platform
    • Water supplied through the internal laboratory recirculating supply
    • Downstream weir to control water level
  • 450 Flume
    • 20m L x 0.45m W x 0.43 D glass sided
    • Variable slope up to 1.1%
    • Features a recessed sediment sump with a mobile platform
    • Water supplied through the internal laboratory recirculating supply
    • Downstream weir to control water level
  • 440 Flume
    • 13.5m L x 0.44m W x 0.38m D glass sided
    • Variable slope up to 1.8%
    • Recirculating water and sediment
  • 400 Flume
    • 4m L x 0.4m W x 0.4m D acrylic flume
    • Recirculating water
  • Wave Flume
    • 17m L X 1.2m W x 1.8m D
    • Wave frequency and amplitude
    • Intermittent waves 
    • Water supplied through the internal laboratory recirculating supply 170l/s
    • 1.2m x 1.2m clear panel
  • Tsunami Channel
    • 17m L x 1.2m W x 0.8m D
    • Bore height, velocity and duration
    • JR3 3 axis force measuring
    • Modelling space and commissioned one-off designs
  • Turbidity flume and basin
    • 5m L x 0.4m W x 0.6m D acrylic flume
    • 580 mm long lock-box and release gate, with 580 mm long and 660 mm deep sump
    • 2445 mm L x 2415 mm W x 1040 mm D acrylic basin
    • 595 mm and 400 mm wide lock-box and release gate
  • Oil flume
    • 10m L x 0.4m W x 0.2m D glass sided
    • Variable slope
    • Water or viscous fluid flows
    • Flow rates up to 80L/s
  • One off designs
    • Dropshaft models at 1:10 scale
    • Roxburgh spillway model 1:50 scale
    • Leith River 1:25 scale
  • Instruments
    • Wave probes up to 1.2m long
    • Ultrasonic depth meters
    • Seatek Multiple Transducer array - depth meters
    • Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV)
    • PIV
    • Microsonic Ultrasonic distance surface measuring
    • HydroSurveyor, Portable nine-beam 3.0 MHz/1.0 MHz/0.5 MHz acoustic Doppler velocity and bathymetry measurement system for use from moving boats and other floating platforms
    • Guelph Permeameter Kit

Our people

PhD students

  • Jane Groom
  • Ehsan Hendi
  • Gabriel Spreitzer
  • Joe Pelmard
  • Lu Wang
  • Renske van Scheltinga