Hydraulics and sediment
Hydrodynamic research by Flanders Hydraulics Research focuses on coasts and estuaries. We study the tides, tidal currents, waves and saltwater intrusion using field measurements, physical model tests and numerical simulations.
Research into cohesive sediment (sludge) should provide more insight into the sediment transport, sediment consolidation and turbidity in view of dredging. At the same time, knowledge of the rheology (nautical bottom) is important for determining the manoeuvrability of ships and the boundary conditions for safe access to ports.
For shipping interest, we conduct research into the safety against flooding and natural sediment and morphodynamics of large-scale structures such as sandbanks off the coast and systems of trenches, barriers and plates in estuaries. In morphodynamic studies, we examine beach dynamics and coastal erosion in detail. This involves both the transverse transport (foreshore - beach - dune) as well as longitudinal transport. This knowledge is important to achieve the most suitable coastal defence and safety.
Our hydrodynamic research focuses on the tides, tidal currents, waves and saltwater intrusion from coasts and estuaries. We mainly study the hydrodynamics of the North Sea and the Scheldt estuary, but other areas are also investigated to expand our knowledge of processes. We utilise field measurements, physical model tests and numerical simulations.
To balance the computing time and level of detail, a flexible numerical modelling tool is required to both understand the entire system as well as make detailed conclusions about specific locations. In addition to using commercial and open source software, Flanders Hydraulics Research also develops proprietary tools and schematisations tailored to the coastal and Scheldt research.
To address concerns regarding saltwater intrusion, a 2D representation is often insufficient. For this, Flanders Hydraulics Research uses complex 3D models that, for instance, can demonstrate the water column variation.
Research into cohesive sediment (silt) provides Flanders Hydraulics Research with better understanding of sediment transport, sediment consolidation and turbidity.
The characteristics and movement of sediment volumes that we identify are not only used for dredging. Knowledge of the rheology (nautical bottom) is also important for determining the manoeuvrability and boundary conditions which provide ships safe access to the ports. Research into cohesive sediment by Flanders Hydraulics Research also has significant economic importance.
To gain insight in the possibility of a regime shift towards a hyperturbid state in the Schelde estuary, the behaviour of cohesive sediment transport (mud) is compared with other European estuaries. Together with our partners, we conduct research on tipping points for sediment transport in the estuary to ensure a sustainable, safe and accessible estuary.
In morphodynamic studies of the coast, Flanders Hydraulics Research investigates both longitudinal transport and transverse transport. Transverse transport studies focus on foreshore, beach and dune erosion caused by storms. With this knowledge, we support coastal safety and help create sustainable coastal defences.
The morphological evolution of sandbanks near the coast and channels and sandbars in estuaries are also among our expertise. Our knowledge about the morphology of estuaries is important to guarantee the accessibility of the ports, to propose sustainable flood protection and to maintain the naturalness of the estuary. Therefore, understanding the long-term evolution of the estuary and the coastal zone is crucial.
- Formulating measures to protect the coastal area from flooding
- Studying the occurrence of waves at different locations such as coastal ports or near sea walls
- Investigate how eroding beaches can be maintained in an efficient way
- Evolution of sediment concentration in Sea Scheldt
- Habitat mapping
- Idealised modelling of estuaries