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
  • Anchors
  • Jets
  • 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.

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