RDL: River Dynamics Laboratory

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Graduate student opportunities


River Dynamics Laboratory
The River Dynamics Laboratory is comprised of a flume facility where we model river channel processes, a computing space used for data analysis and morphodynamic modelling and a sediment analysis laboratory. We also maintain a research vessel for work on coastal rivers, deltas and the shallow water coastal environments.

The Flume Facility

The Flume

The flume is 15m long, 1m wide, and 50cm deep and is designed to study sediment dynamics. The flume has an adjustable slope (-0.5 to 2.0%) and will recirculate water and sediment at up to 0.2 cubic m/s. The pump configuration allows for modeling of unidirectional, steady flow as well as bidirectional and unsteady flows such as hydrographs and tidally driven channel flow, which have historically been understudied and are presently poorly understood in terms of sediment dynamics.

Swath Mapping System

The flume is fitted with a robotic Swath Mapping System (SMS) that measured 3D bed topography using a 32 transducer Seatek echo-sounding system wand water surface topography using 5 MassaSonic ultrasonic sensors. The SMS communication is wireless and can be operated remotely, from anywhere with an internet connection.

Velocity Measurement Instruments

The laboratory is equipped with 3 instruments for measuring high frequency velocity, turbulence and coherent flow structures.

1. Dantec High-speed Stereoscopic PIV system

Our high speed, time-resolved, stereoscopic particle image velocimetry (PIV) system is used for measuring velocity flow fields up to 40 x 40 cm in size at up to 100 Hz, making it ideal for observations of coherent flow structures.

2. TSI 3D laser Doppler Anemometer

Our laser Doppler anemometry (LDA) can measure velocities at-a-point at >1000 Hz. The LDA is 3D and capable of 2-phase (fluid and sediment) flow measurement at low sediment concentrations. A robotic positioning system allows us to map velocity fields.

3. Nortek Vectrinos

We also have Nortek Vectrino acoustic Doppler velocimeter that we use for 3D, at-a-point velocity measurements in higher sediment concentration flows.

Computing Facility

Flume The RDL computing facility is a dedicated space with the following equipment available:

1) 2 high-speed computers for morphodynamic modelling

2) 2 computers designed for GIS software and multibeam echo-sounder data analysis

3) 40 Tbyte RAID-5 data storage array

4) Various legacy computers for running specialized instruments, scanners and a variety of laptops

Sediment Analysis Laboratory

Flume The RDL has a laboratory to measure various properties of sediment that includes the following equipment:

1) A bench-mounted LISST 100 and flow through cell used to measure suspended sediment grains-size between 2 and 500 microns.

2) A conventional pump and filter system for measuring suspended sediment concentration.

3) A Gust Chamber for assessment of cohesive sediment erosion thresholds.

4) A digital microscope for examination of grain shape and lithology.

5) Various analytical balances, ovens and sieves for measuring grains-size distributions.

The laboratory can process sediment samples from other research groups and commercial enterprises (contact Jeremy Venditti at or 778-782-3488 for inquires).




Curriculum Vitae


River Dynamics Laboratory

River Dynamics Research Group