Hydraulics and Hydrogeology Laboratory

Facilities Location: Room 309, Colton Hall
Lab Director: Dr. Michel Boufadel

The CEE Hydraulics and Hydrogeology Laboratory is designed to complement the lecture portions of two water-oriented courses: Fluid Mechanics (CE 320) and Applied Hydrogeology (CE 618).

Hydraulics Laboratory

The specific objectives of the Hydraulics Laboratory course are to provide the student with an opportunity to:

  • Explore the fundamental principles of fluid mechanics through experimentation;  
  • Demonstrate and analyze key hydraulic phenomena using hands-on physical devices;  
  • Apply computer modeling as a practical tool for solving hydraulics problems;  
  • Investigate engineering design principles for pipe networks, open channel systems, and ground water regimes.  

Experiment Design:

Many real world hydraulic phenomena can be easily simulated at a reduced laboratory scale. This is due to the fact that fluids adhere quite closely to the principles of engineering similitude. Thus, the experiments in the CEE Hydraulics Laboratory provide an excellent opportunity for students to visualize and analyze the very same hydraulic phenomena they are studying in the classroom and will apply as practicing engineers.

Most of the experiments are designed to be performed by the students groups of four persons. These group experiments are fully interactive and involve: (1) set-up; (2) operation; (3) measurement; (4) adjustment; (5) data gathering; and (6) data reduction. The group approach also teaches the value of teamwork in problem solving during the laboratory period, as well as after class as data are exchanged and reduced. A few of the experiments are performed as class demonstrations during which each group is assigned a single data set to analyze. Later, towards the end of the period, the groups report their results to form a collective body of data.

The experiments have been designed to introduce the students to a wide variety of fluid measurement systems. Some of the experiments require direct "hands-on" measurement utilizing graduated containers and a stopwatch. At the other end of the technology spectrum are experiments that feature electronic pressure and flow transducers linked to a PC-controlled data acquisition system. Eventually, it is planned to incorporate computerized control in two of the experiments. Classic fluid measuring systems are also used including rotameters, bordon-tube gages, weirs, sight-glasses, and hook-and-point gages.

Selected experiments require that the students analyze their experimental results using commercial design software. For example, the "Piping Network" experiment will require a Hardy Cross type analysis using Hydronetâ which is a Windowsâ -based software currently used by practicing engineers. Also, the Groundwater Modeling experiment introduces the student to Visual Modflowâ which is a state-of the-art program based on the USGS’s finite difference groundwater solver.

The following is a list of the experiments currently under development for the one-semester laboratory course:

Course Schedule & summary of Equipment

Week 1:     Orientation and Lab Safety
Equipment Items: Safety Goggles, Eye Wash Station, Safety Signs

Week 2:     Fluid Properties: Viscosity, Surface Tension, and Capillarity
Equipment Items: 6 Viscometers, 6 capillary tube sets, 6 hydrostatic tubes

Week 3:     Hydrostatics: Archimedes Principle of Buoyancy; Pressure on a Submerged Gate
Equipment Items: 6 displacement vessels, 6 pivoting gate tanks

Week 4:    Reynold’s Number
Equipment Items: 6 Reynold’s apparatus

Week 5:     Bernoulli’s Theorem; Minor Losses
Equipment Items: 6 Bernoulli devices, Test Tanks, Test fittings

Week 6:     Fluid Momentum and Drag on Bridge Piers
Equipment Items: 6 Jet Impact devices, Targets (piers)

Week 7:     Pipe Network: A Comparative Analysis
Equipment Items: Wall mounted pipe network, 8 pressure transducers, 4 flow transducers, Misc. gauges, Hydronet software

Week 8:     Water Hammer
Equipment Items: 3 pipe coils, 3 pressure transducers, 3 flow transducers, 3 electronic valves, LabTech control software, Misc. fittings and mounts

Week 9:    Pump Experiment
Equipment Items: 6 pump networks, 6 transformers

Week 10:   Flow over Wiers
Equipment Items: 6 sets notched weirs, 6 hook-and-point gages

Week 11:   Open Channel Flow and Hydraulic Jump
Equipment Items: 6 flow visualization devices

Week 12: Stream Gauging and Sediment Transport (Stream Table)
Equipment Items: 3 portable flow gages, Sediment transport attaches for flume, 2 stream table , Data link to USGS station, Misc. field equipment

Week 13:   Aquifer Properties: Porosity and Permeability
Equipment Items: 6 soil media test columns well pack sands

Week 14:   Ground Water Modeling
Equipment Item: Visual Modflow software

Hydrogeology Laboratory

Soil samples, rock specimen, boring logs, geology video tapes are provided in the lab for study.