Sediment transport study in a river

The combined measurement of velocity and acoustic turbidity profiles allows the study of sediment transport in the field.

River flow management (navigation, energy production, biodiversity…) needs a good understanding of sediment transport processes. Ubertone's UB-Flow profiler allows the user to accurately observe the velocity profile near the stream bed. This instantaneous profile gives access to the shear stress as well as the turbulent intensity contributing to sediment transport. Moreover, the combined measurement of the acoustic turbidity profile allows to follow, in real-time, the evolution of the suspended sediment concentration (SSC).

Measurements have been conducted with Dr. Alain Crave and Dr. Dimitri Lague from Geosciences Rennes, with our UB-Flow, on the Couesnon River in the bay of Mont Saint-Michel, France. The river is flushed on a daily basis in order to remove the sediments around the rock. Ubertone's device has been installed to observe the velocity profile near the bed of the Couesnon, at 17cm from the bottom. The results we obtained at the beginning of the flush are displayed in the graph below. These graphs show the combined evolution of the velocity and the acoustic turbidity which is proportional to the sediment concentration.

Analysis of the data obtained by UB-Flow F156 on the Couesnon river at the beginning of the flush

These graphs display the data analysis in four different quadrants :

2a - velocity over time. Coherent structures can be observed in this graph.

2b- acoustic turbidity through time. The river-bed appears as a peak in which the position changes with the bed form. Here we can observe the progressive increase of the concentration due to the suspension of the particles.

2c - mean velocity +/- standard deviation. The standard deviation is directly linked to the turbulence.

2d - velocity and acoustic turbidity over time in a cell at 50 mm over the initial bed position. The instantaneous variations are due to turbulence. This figure shows how the sediments are suspended beyond a velocity threshold.