This laboratory encompasses research and instructional activities for the College of Engineering and is intended "to minimize adverse impacts of the fabricated world on the natural environment." The lab houses cross-disciplinary research activities from the departments of mechanical, civil and environmental engineering and includes collaborative scholarship among faculty for fluids-related research and instruction. It is co-directed by Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering M. Laura Beninati and Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Jessica Newlin. The facility includes several flumes with complementary research instrumentation, advanced measurement systems and fluid diagnostics. Other facilities and instrumentation are available through a partnership with the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University.

Current research activities include:

  • Pollutant transport and contamination of surface and groundwater
  • Utilization and management of water resources
  • Sediment erosion and deposition patterns at bridge crossings and other hydraulic structures
  • Hydrometeorology or modeling of the atmospheric boundary layer
  • Sediment transport and entrainment (with ARL Penn State)
  • Sustainable engineering/renewable energy with an emphasis on marine hydrokinetic devices (with ARL Penn State and Sandia National Laboratories)

Facilities and instrumentation

  • A large-scale (32 by 4 by 1.5 foot) tilting hydraulic flume with an automated 3-D traversing system and feedback control, used to accurately position probes or sensors within the flume
  • A moderate scale (20 by 1 by 2.5 foot) hydraulic tilting flume
  • Two moderate scale research and instructional wind tunnels
  • A three-component and a two-component Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV)
  • Advanced Hydrological Study Facility to model surface water and groundwater in a watershed, including the formation of river features over time
  • Automated 2-D Sediment Bed Profiler (HR Wallingford Ltd.) with laser and touch-sensitive probes
  • Two Marsh-McBirney electromagnetic flow meters for field investigation of velocity
  • A standard low-speed Nixon velocity probe (.05 to 1.5 meters per second) and a standard high-speed Nixon velocity probe (.6 to 3.0 meters per second), with digital indicator
  • A large-scale (45 by 10 by 4 foot) geology and sediment flume housed in the Sedimentology and Riverine Morphodynamics Laboratory in the Department of Geology. The facility is directed by Professor of Geology Craig Kochel.

Facilities available through partnership with Penn State ARL:

Flow facilities:

  • Vortex ring facility (9 by 3 by 3 foot water facility)
  • 12-inch diameter glycerine tunnel
  • Water channel (12 by 2.5 by 2 foot test section)
  • 12-inch and 48-inch diameter water tunnels

Measurement capabilities:

  • TSI DPIV systems
  • ISSI Shadow PIV system
  • TSI multi-component fiber-optic probe LDV systems
  • High-speed video
  • Pressure and force measurement
  • Acoustic measurement
  • Multi-channel, high-speed (100kHz, MHz, and GHz ranges) DAQ
  • Local cluster for DPIV and image processing

Computational facilities:

Computer clusters for high priority design work with more than three million processor hours per year capacity (across 300 processors). Further off-site HPCMO and NASA project allocations are available as needed.


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