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{LaB} » Sediment Machine

Sediment Machine

The sediment machine is a physical model to test the influence of obstructions on the patterning of sediment deposition and erosion.  The model, 20″x30″x3.5″, is constructed of an MDF base with an acrylic surface, and a recirculating water system made from a simple pond pump in a plastic bucket, plastic tubing, and a copper pipe.  We ran two series of tests where we placed metal obstructions on the surface in a variety of patterns to observe the flow of water and sediment across the surface.  For the first series, the surface of the model was filled with sediment at a depth of about 5mm.  For the second series, only half of the surface was covered in sediment.  Each run lasted 3 hours.  We took time lapse photography of each and currently are in the process of making videos.

Images from moments at the beginning, middle, and end of the run with a layer of sediment covering the entire surface of the model..

Images from moments at the beginning, middle, and end of the run with a layer of sediment covering the entire surface of the model..

Immediately we began to see branching patterns that formed as water moved through the sediment.  From these images we can see the water flow path and how two of the obstructions interact with sediment erosion.  Applying a layer of sediment to only half of the model’s surface also resulted in some interesting patterns.

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For the second series, we applied sediment to only half of the surface of the model, as shown here.

Over the course of the 3 hours for each configuration of obstructions, we observed changes in the way that water flowed across the surface and how it carried sediment, creating deposition in some places and erosion in others.  Different configuration of obstructions leads to different patterns of sedimentation processes.  The timelapse photography gives us a view of the model and the activity happening that wouldn’t be as apparent from typical video recording.  Moving forward we will be illustrating the processes of sediment deposition and erosion from the  nine runs we completed.

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Over time, patterns of sediment deposition and erosion in relation to the obstructions are visible.

 

 



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