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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R022275/1
Title: Rapid monitoring of river hydrodynamics and morphology using acoustic holography
Principal Investigator: Tait, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Nichols, Dr A A Krynkin, Dr A Horoshenkov, Professor KV
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Environment Agency (Grouped) H R Wallingford Ltd JBA Trust
Kobe University Natural Resources Wales Society for Acoustics Research Dresden
US Environmental Protection Agency
Department: Civil and Structural Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2018 Ends: 30 June 2022 Value (£): 521,877
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Acoustics Coastal & Waterway Engineering
Fluid Dynamics Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Feb 2018 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 7 and 8 February 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Accurate flow measurement in rivers is vital to build well calibrated, reliable simulation models able to predict accurately the timing and extent of floods, and also to provide the data needed for effective management of water resources in a river catchment. This project will develop a new method of acoustic wave holography to measure remotely the velocity, flow depth and bed characteristics within river channels. The proposed holography method records the pattern of reflected acoustic waves (the hologram) above a dynamic flow surface and uses this pattern to reconstruct the water surface wave field throughout a three-dimensional region of space. The project will use recent advances in computational fluid mechanics and turbulence theory. The underpinning concept is that the free surface of turbulent river flows is never flat and is always dynamically rough. There is overwhelming evidence that the 3-dimensional pattern of the free surface of a river flow is caused by the turbulence structures within the flow. These structures are generated at the river bed and rise to the free surface and express themselves in the form of a pattern of surface waves which propagate at a particular velocity which does not necessarily coincide with the mean surface water velocity. Therefore, the free surface wave pattern carries comprehensive information about the underlying hydrodynamic processes in the flow, including the flow velocity, depth, turbulence scale and intensity and bed roughness characteristics. This process is very complex and it has not been sufficiently studied in the past because of a lack of accurate and robust instruments and accurate fluid dynamics models to relate the free surface wave pattern to the flow structure beneath. Thus, there is now an opportunity to develop a clear understanding how the pattern observed on the free surface of a river flow and the underlying turbulence structures and bed surface roughness in fluvial environments interact. This new knowledge in the hydrodynamics of turbulent river flows combined with new acoustic holographic measurement capabilities will provide a paradigm shift in the accuracy, spatial resolution and speed of deployment of flow monitoring in rivers. In this respect, the proposed work has a very high degree of novelty in comparison to the broader research context of this area internationally.

The proposal is timely because it will contribute significantly to the need for us to better understand our natural environment especially under extreme conditions and in the development of Robotics and Autonomous Sensor technologies. These technologies were outlined in a report by David Willetts as one of the "Eight Great Technologies" that should be promoted and developed by the UK. The Willetts' report also states a clear need for real time forecasting of rivers, better water resource management and autonomous surveillance vehicles which require accurate on-board sensing. Our project takes an important step towards providing technology to address these requirements. The new sensor technology will also enable new theoretical foundations to be developed in the areas of wave propagation, inverse problems, holography, signal processing and computational fluid dynamics.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk