Deptartment of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management


Profile of the department


Hydromorphology describes the interaction of water and sediments in water bodies on spatial as well as on temporal scales. Erosion, transport and sedimentation are vital processes and play an important role in the evolution of the highly dynamic hydromorphological fluvial systems. However, besides natural factors, which govern the river bed evaluation and the development of bed structures such as ripples and dunes, anthropogenic influences also affect the hydraulic characteristics. Hence, these processes are in the focus of our research. Our work involves not only fundamental research to understand the processes behind the morphological behavior but also applied projects in collaboration with administration as well as the private sector. Balancing ecological demands and structural implementations is the main aim of this research. To achieve these goals analytical, numerical and physical models as well as field measurements are used at our department.

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Hydraulic structures and hydropower

Hydraulic structures and the related operational and safety structures are in the focus of many projects. Main tasks are therefore the dimensioning and design of structures (e.g. dams, locks), turbines and control and closure devices as well as the related safety requirements. Furthermore the main research therefore focusses on the optimization of the design of hydraulic structures and flow machines as well as on the correlated flow and transport processes using different experimental and numerical methods. A linkage to morphodynamic and ecological condition in river systems is always present due to the definition of hydraulic requirements in the design process.

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MMM- Monitoring, Measuring and Modelling

The research area MMM includes the basis equipment and development of required methods and tools to investigate various scientific issues of the three major research fields. One focus are experimental investigations in the hydraulic laboratory and field measurements including the research-specific development of the measuring equipment. Another key aspect is the employment and further development of different computer-based modelling tools to simulate dynamic processes in hydro- and environmental systems as well as hydraulic structures.

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Biological Support

Interdisciplinary studies are required when investigating environmental systems. This field brings together expertise from the fields of engineering, microbiology and chemistry to better understand systems such as the biostabilisation of river and reservoir systems. Key research questions address the following aspects. Firstly, the seasonal and spatial variation in the biostabilisation of fine sediment dynamics is investigated. Secondly, once sediment is eroded from the bed, the influence of microbial biostabilisation on the characteristics of the entrained material, or flocs, is addressed. The impact on floc characteristics, in turn, influences the transport or fate of fine material in these watercourses. The biostabilisation working group (BIOSTAB) focuses on the significance of different microorganisms, to taxa and species level, on the biostabilisation of sediment, as well as the reciprocal influence of hydrodynamic conditions and the biofilm topography and architecture. Furthermore, the influence of micropollutants on the functionality and growth of biofilm is investigated. All of the above findings should provide contextual data to implement microbial biostabilisation in future numerical sediment transport models.

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