The stream laboratory features a large-scale sediment flume to allow fundamental and applied research of processes in headwater streams and mountain rivers with a unique combination of scale, instrumentation, computer-control and the planned ability to interface with researchers through the internet.
The flume is 20 meters long, 2 meters wide and 1.2 meters deep. The maximum water discharge is 1.1 cubic meters per second (or 40 cubic feet per second); maximum slope of the flume is 10 percent. A distinguishing feature is the ability to feed sand and gravel in an open circuit (non-recirculating) mode. The flume is designed to be environmentally sensitive. For example, water is recirculated through a large sump and the pumps are lubricated by water rather than oil.
Instrumentation for the flume includes stereoscopic PIV, ADV, optical and acoustic cameras, and an optical bed mapping system. A real-time ultrasonic bed mapping system is now near completion. Instrumentation may be located anywhere in the flume by a three-axis computer controlled platform.
Undergraduate Capstone Design Projects
The U of I Senior Capstone Design Program has an outstanding track record in designing equipment for the CERSL. Recent examples include the design of the sediment trap system and the design of a computer controlled, three axis, instrumentation platform.
Recent projects include, "Physical Modeling of a Wave Generating Structure for the Boise River Recreation Park," "Sediment Transport in Mountain Streams," and "Physical Modeling of Hill-slope Erosion,” “Physical Modeling of Modified Culvert Flow to Aid Fish Passage."
- The sediment handling capability of the flume is fully functional. Both fixed and live bed experiments have been performed.
- The stream laboratory is being developed to have the capability for real-time collaboration with researchers from multiple locations outside Idaho. A lab-cam system was implemented in August of 2010. The lab-cams can be controlled and viewed from a standard Internet browser at any remote location.