Physical Laboratory

The Physical Laboratory (PhL) provides a broad array of different instruments, methods and research opportunities to determine the (geo)physical and biological characteristics of waterbed material, soil- water mixtures, industrial slurries and ores. The laboratory facility supports all groups of Deltares in their advices and research.

Industrial applications

In the Physical lab, we usually develop knowledge and provide practical solutions for the following industrial areas and applications:

  • Behavior of dredging plumes and their associated impact on the environment
  • Stability of freshly-deposited dredged sediment
  • Storage of industrial slurries. Land reclamation and associated soil-consolidation
  • De-stabilization of dispersed industrial waste
  • Transport of industrial slurries
  • Land reclamation with muddy sediments. Mechanisms to avoid segregation and improve consolidation
  • Siltation rates at ports
  • Erodibility of soft soil upon implementation of civil engineering works
  • Hyper-turbid systems and algal blooms

Science and research

The services we offer to the industry stem from the deep study and understanding of fine sediment transport processes and stability of dispersed clayey solutions over the last 30 years. In particular, the most important processes historically addressed through our research programs and frequent collaboration with universities are:

  • Study of the settling cycle of sediments. Settling characteristics and rates based in a thorough   understanding of sediment and environment characteristics.
  • Study of sediment consolidation. Consolidation rates and final strength based on the understanding of the sediment characteristics.
  • Bed strength and sediment re-suspension. Development of a conceptual framework of shear-flow erosion of cohesive sediments.
  • Stability and aggregation of colloidal suspensions, with focus on the consequences to the physical processes to which this colloids may contribute (all the above mentioned).

Measurement utilities are available for:

  • Particle size distribution of granular materials ranging  from 5 nm up to 64 mm
  • Zeta potential of particles (characteristic surface charge of clay particles).
  • Rheological instruments to measure the viscosity and shear stress of slurries.
  • Sedimentation and consolidation characteristics of soil samples.
  • Seepage induced consolidation.
  • Tensiometer for capillary suction of un-saturated granular materials.
  • Turbidity of water samples.
  • pH, Redox potential and Dissolved oxygen
  • Soil / water interface processes either physical or physiobiological.