River structures

Physical modelling: a robust, sound and reliable approach to understand the hydraulics of torrential and river flows.

The significant advantages of physical modelling

Physical modelling is an irreplaceable tool for visualising, understanding and improving flows in the vicinity of river structures, whatever the objectives and constraints:

  • water storage
  • water abstraction (side structure, bottom-type water intakes, etc.)
  • management of sediment transport
  • risk of scouring
  • control of flow distribution
  • control of flooding
  • navigation
  • development of fish-friendly structures, etc.

These are often complex three-dimensional issues. Fluid/sediment transport interactions and the two-phase (air-water) flow component, in addition to the large number of different hydraulic conditions that must be evaluated, also make an analytical approach impossible.

A physical model provides an accurate complementary representation of the phenomena at play, guaranteeing reliable results while also providing a highly tangible view of the issues.

Our expertise

The study of river structures is a long-standing area of expertise for Artelia’s laboratory, whose experience of designing water intake and river management structures dates back a century. As time has passed, our teams have acquired in-depth expertise in hydraulic issues and extensive knowledge of modelling.

  • Accurate topographical and bathymetric representation of beds, using different methods
  • Reproduction of the nature of beds (roughness, sediment particle side)
  • Injection of liquid and solid discharges (suspended or bed-load transport)
  • Model operation in steady flow conditions
    • measurement of water levels, water level profiles and freeboard
    • measurement of incoming and outgoing flow rates, local velocities and velocity fields
    • measurement of head losses along a waterway
    • measurement of hydraulic forces on structures
  • Operation in unsteady flow conditions: fast (effect of opening a valve, starting a pump, etc.) or slow (rise or fall of a flood)
  • Evaluation of changes to the bed in the short term (morphogenic flood) or long term (multi-year operation)
  • Evaluation of the behaviour of debris carried along by the river/stream, and the risk of logjam formation on the structures.