Some of the unique features of the Water and Soil Flume are:
- The in-ground concrete flume (50 m length, 5.5 m width, 2.5 m depth) with the flexibility of constructing smaller compartments with glass panels in the main flume, allowing studies at different scales ranging from around 1m3 to 500 m3 test setup.
- The carriage and rail system on top of the in-ground concrete flume, which offers the possibility of towing an object in the flume with a controlled speed ranging from 1 mm/s up to 2.5 m/sec. This carriage can also be used to pull or push an object horizontally through the soil-water mixture in the flume.
- The unique possibility of using sand and mud (cohesive sediment) in the flume.
- The clay factory with a production capacity of about 12 tons/day of clay with a desired strength/properties of up to 70 kPa undrained shear strength.
- The sand conditioning machine which is used to achieve a different level of compaction in a sand deposit using a beam with 5 vertical vibrating compaction needles.
- The hexapod platform used for multiaxial shearing and fluidization tests (with a max. carrying capacity of 500 kg weight of soil sample), allowing the movement in 6 degrees of freedom.
- The Plexiglas flume (25m length, 0.5m width, 0.7m depth).
- And plenty of measurement devices to monitor and characterize properties of the soft soil-water mixture, for instance:
– Sand concentration conductivity system.
– (pore) Pressure sensors.
– Flow meters.
– Seepage-induced consolidation (SIC) to examine the permeability and compressibility of soft soil samples under larger stresses.
– Shear cell system to characterize sand segregation under the influence of shear flow.
– Several low and high tech rheometers to characterize the flow behavior of non-Newtonian soft soils.
– Different fiber optics-based monitoring systems (e.g. DTS, DAS) for real-time monitoring of various subsurface properties.
– Laser-based Particle Image Velocimetry to visualize the flow field velocity.
– Malvern to characterize the grain size distribution of soft soil samples.
– Fall cone to measure the undrained strength of soft soil samples.
– And many more.
The Water and Soil Flume can be used for large scale model tests concerning, for example:
- Cutting devices
- Suction devices
- Trenching equipment
- Plume dispersion
- Monopile installation and stability
- Geotechnical stability of infrastructures under frequent inundation
- Hydraulic sand and soft soil fill (flow and beaching)
- Breaching and cone formation in dredging applications
- Physics of Non-Newtonian flows and segregating behavior
- Subaerial and subaqueous capping
- Nautical bottom research (e.g. sailing through mud and WID)
- Mudflow and (tailings) dam break
- Channel and ditch lining
- Bubble screen performance
- Deep-sea cutter and collectors
Some of the recent experimental programs at WSF concerned:
- Installation of monopiles used for offshore wind turbines.
- Various deep-sea collectors, intending to minimize the seabed erosion during deep-sea mining operations.
- Water injection dredging, utilizing as much as possible the natural forces for sediment management in ports and waterways.
- Sailing through mud, evaluating the necessity of dredging and thus avoiding too often maintenance dredging.
- Fiber optics-based technologies, quantifying and monitoring subsurface properties in thermal boreholes and wind farm applications.
And many laboratory characterizations of the soft soil properties.