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Hydro-​abrasion at hydraulic structures and steep bedrock rivers


Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE)

Funding period:



Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), ETH Zürich, Switzerland


The sustainability of many reservoirs is threatened by sedimentation. The need for active sediment handling using sediment bypass tunnels (SBT), or sediment flushing and sluicing facilities (SFSF), amongst others, will consequently increase considerably in the future to maintain reservoir sustainability as well as sediment connectivity. However, high speed flows and high sediment transport rates can cause severe hydro-​abrasion at such hydraulic structures as well as river bed incision. Better understanding of the abrasion mechanics and development of a realistic abrasion model are keys for both design and sustainable use of hydraulic structures, and for landscape evolution modelling. The project aims at improving knowledge on the physical processes of turbulent flow characteristics, bedload particle motion, and hydro-​abrasion and their interrelations in high speed flows. Finally, an abrasion model to forecast hydro-​abrasion at both laboratory and prototype scales will be developed. The project is of prime importance for hydropower companies, hydraulic engineers, and agencies dealing with energy, water supply and environment as well as for the research community.

HRAHS other pic



Invert hydro-​abrasion at Palagnedra sediment bypass tunnel (photo: VAW)    



Dr. Ismail Albayrak Senior Scientist
Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), ETH Zürich, Switzerland