The Hydraulics and Environmental Laboratory contains instrumentation and data acquisition systems necessary to conduct major field studies along with large and small scale laboratory work. Projects range from infrastructure and applied hydraulics for stormwater management, to geomorphology and delta formation, to turbulent transport in coastal environments, to many others.
Tilting Current and Wave Flume
The indoor flume was originally constructed in 1972 as a recirculating flume with a cross-section 78 cm wide, 45 cm tall, and approximately 22 m long. The flume can be positioned horizontally or tilted. Recent renovations are presently underway to replace the original side walls and flooring with acrylic and glass for complete optical clarity along the length of the channel. A hinged wavemaker and portable beach can be placed in the flume to convert it to a wave channel. Experiments involving water, sediment, stratification, and much more can be carried out in the indoor flume to simulate a wide variety of environmental conditions.
Outdoor Flume with Lift Gate
The outdoor flume is five feet wide with a length of 200 feet. A lifting gate at the entrance of the flume makes it suitable for experiments modeling tsunami waves in addition to current-only experiments with the recirculating pumps.
Tilting roadway with rainmaker
Originally constructed for TxDOT Hydraulics research, a full-scale tiling roadway is located in the laboratory. The roadway can be flooded from the upstream end. In addition, a rain system suspended above the roadway can be utilized to simulate effects of natural rainfall on roadway conditions and drainage.
The Johnson Environmental Turbulence (JET) Laboratory houses several turbulence tanks to simulate high energy environments, such as those near breaking waves in the nearshore. The large tank has a square base 84 cm by 84 cm and a height of 1 m. In this tank, turbulence is generated by a 16×16 randomly actuated synthetic jet array. The jet array creates homogeneous isotropic turbulence for studies involving density interfaces, sediment suspension, bed morphology, mixing across free surfaces, and more. The small turbulence tank is designed with jets in the corners and along edges of a small tank, in which homogeneous isotropic turbulence is generated in the central core of the facility. This facility was designed to study processes such as ice melting, diffusion, and flocculation, among others.
Instrumentation for field work and laboratory experiments includes but is not limited to:
- Acoustic Doppler Velocimeters
- Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers
- Stereo Particle Image Velocimetry and Laser-Induced Fluorescence systems
- 10AU field fluorometer
- Sediment coring equipment
- Wave gauges
- Pressure sensors