Navigation Links
What lies beneath: Study examines sediment movement during floods in rivers

Food disasters in many parts of the world have brought into sharp focus new research spearheaded by the University of Leicester on the behaviour of rivers during periods of high flow.

Using an innovative combination of techniques, the researchers aim to examine precisely how the flow of river water affects the movement of sediment along river beds. They will use lasers to measure changes in the bed of an artificial water channel to devise new techniques that will help predict sediment erosion and deposition in rivers - and thereby identify areas where action should be taken to avert damage to infrastructure such as bridges, road and rail links and power and pipe lines.

Led by Dr Mark Powell from the University of Leicester Department of Geography, the research is being supported by a 604,000 grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Partners in the study are Dr Nick Tate, also from the University of Leicester, Dr Stephen Rice and Professor Ian Reid of Loughborough University and Dr Jo Wood of City University, London. The research aims to enhance scientists' understanding of how sediment is carried in rivers during a flood.

Dr Powell said: "Our research is largely associated with the transport of coarse-grained sediment.

"In these types of rivers, the gravel and pebbles which make up the bed and banks move by rolling, sliding or bouncing along the stream bed. Movement of this size of sediment is associated with problems of the stability of the river channel and can have serious environmental and social effects. In cases where large amounts of sediment are deposited from a stream into a river, this can lead to loss of river channel capacity and increase the probability of flooding to adjacent land and properties. On the other hand, where excessive amounts of sediment are washed away from river, there is a risk that banks and bridge piers may collapse.

"The laboratory tests will improve our understanding of sediment movement by flood water and will have benefits for hydrologists, engineers, environmentalists and many other people who live or work on or near rivers."

The researchers say that predicting how sediment is carried in streams and rivers is difficult because a river bed is a complex arrangement of grains.

Says Dr Powell. "River gravel varies widely in size, spacing, packing and the geometrical arrangement of individual particles, and river beds often develop small-scale, temporary structures such as pebble clusters.

"Although these characteristics determine the amount of sediment that can be moved by a river, surprisingly little is known about the structural properties of river bed sediments, how they develop and how they influence the processes of water flow and sediment transport."

The researchers will use an artificial channel in a laboratory to simulate river flow under controlled conditions. A high precision laser scanner will be used to model the bed of the artificial river, including the size and arrangement of the grains from which it is made.

The flow over the bed will be measured using fluid visualisation - a technique that uses a laser to track the motion of very small neutrally buoyant particles suspended in the flow. The technique will allow the scientists to study how the flow of water changes and is changed by the shifting bed sediment. Finally, a device at the downstream end of the flume will trap sedimentary particles being rolled along the 'river' bed so that their characteristics can be identified.

"This innovative combination of measurements has not been made before," says Dr Powell. "The study represents an important opportunity to better understand how bed material character controls sediment movement in rivers."

The research is announced as the University of Leicester celebrates Big Green Week (October 25-31) which launches the University's commitment to carbon reduction. The primary aim under carbon reduction is to achieve an absolute reduction of 60% of the carbon emissions of the University by 2020.


Contact: Dr Mark Powell
University of Leicester

Related biology news :

1. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
2. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
3. New study looks to define evangelicals and how they affect polling
4. CU-Boulder study suggests air quality regulations miss key pollutants
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Study reveals homeowner perceptions in fire-prone areas
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
9. New study indicates link between weight gains during pregnancy and dieting history
10. Study reveals specific gene in adolescent men with delinquent peers
11. Sweat it out: UH study examines ability of sweat patches to monitor bone loss
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
What lies beneath: Study examines sediment movement during floods in rivers
(Date:11/20/2015)... , November 20, 2015 ... company focused on the growing mobile commerce market and ... Gino Pereira , was recently interviewed on ... will air on this weekend on Bloomberg Europe ... America . --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... --> --> ... report titled  Gesture Recognition Market - Global Industry Analysis, ... to the report, the global gesture recognition market was valued at ... US$29.1 bn by 2021, at a CAGR of 20.3% ... dominated the global gesture recognition market in ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 17, 2015 Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) ... and sale of broadly enabling, pressure cycling technology ("PCT")-based ... today announced it has received gross proceeds of $745,000 ... Placement (the "Offering"), increasing the total amount raised to ... additional closings are expected in the near future. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... MUMBAI , November 26, 2015 ... --> Accutest Research ... accredited Contract Research Organization (CRO), has ... Chase Cancer Center - Temple Health ... ,     (Photo: ) ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... BRUSSELS , November 25, 2015 ... in cat and human plaque and pave the way for ... health problems in cats     ... the most commonly diagnosed health problems in cats, yet relatively ... until now. Two collaborative studies have been conducted by researchers ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: OREX ) ... chat discussion at the Piper Jaffray 27th Annual Healthcare ... discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, at 8:00 ... replay will be available for 14 days after the ... NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business Development , BrewLife(858) 875-8629 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid ... will be speaking at the following conference, and invited ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference, New York, NY ...
Breaking Biology Technology: