RESEARCH AND PHYSICAL MODELS
OUR PHYSICAL MODELS
We believe in collaboration between industry and academia, and support the ongoing research in extreme weather management. This includes the development and use of physical models to demonstrate catchment, river and coastal processes, and teach the key principles of flood and coastal risk management.
The ‘mini’ flume demonstrates the interaction of engineered structures with flow in a channel. It is used to demonstrate how changes to a creek or river will influence hydrologic processes, and their effect on flooding.
See our flume here.
Our wave tank demonstrates coastal processes, wave dynamics, risks and mitigation options for coastal and climate change risk management (using both hard and soft options)
See our tank here.
Our AR Sandbox provides an interactive visual tool showing how topography affects water moving through a catchment. It can be used to demonstrate hydrologic theory and flood risk management options.
See our sandbox here.
Every year we partner with universities and students to deliver new research. A list of our recent partners and projects are shown below. We are always looking to support new students so get in touch if you have an idea for new research in extreme weather, flooding or coastal risk management.
Boat wash and bank erosion (Griffith University)
Eli Lintell (Griffith University) developed a method to quantify boat wake waves in rivers and to consider if they are the leading cause of riverine bank erosion. He used new in-situ water level gauge measurements, with the high frequency (8hz) measurements able to capture information on the magnitude of short-crests boat wakes. This was used to understand boat wake wave impacts, the potential for undercutting and eventual bank collapse.
Coastal modelling for decision making (Uni Sunshine Coast)
Aly Chandler (USC) used numerical modelling to evaluate the effectiveness of the Maroochy Groyne Field in providing sufficient protection from erosion and inform the upgrade of a section of GSC seawall. The 2D Hydrodynamic/morphodynamic XBeach model was validated by replicating historic short-term erosion at the Maroochy Groyne Field with local sediment parameters, and high-resolution aerial imagery. The modelling was then used within a decision framework to simulate local hydrodynamics, sediment movement and interactions with existing structures to simulate erosion, to support new designs.
Machine learning for cyclone tracks (Griffith Uni)
Michael Moore (Griffith Uni) worked with Machine Learning in Python and the global best cyclone tracks database IBTrACS to establish a predictive model for estimating the ultimate extent of tropical cyclones, often referred to as the Radius to Outermost Closed Isobar (ROCI). This is an important parameter for increased accuracy in modelling inundation from cyclonic surge, wind, and waves. The information produced in this study will be critical for calibration of numerical models against historic cyclonic events, and for accurately simulating future synthetic cyclones.
WASH in the Pacific (IWC/Griffith Uni)
Rosie Sanderson (IWC / Griffith Uni) is working on Pacific Island Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH). She is researching how hazardous faecal pathogens are affecting residents in informal settlements in Port Vila, Vanuatu, and how those pathogens move around their communities. The combination of pit latrines, leaky septic tanks, insecure land tenure and exposure to flooding and storm inundation all increase the risk of poor health outcomes. JBPacific is supporting the project by providing our Pacific Flood Maps for Vanuatu, which is being combined with detailed spatial data and smart GIS processing, to help provide clear, actionable outputs to project stakeholders.
Nature-based coastal protection (Griffith Uni)
Mike Thomson (Griffith Uni) investigated the role of coastal vegetation on beach erosion. An important factor in the cycle of beach erosion and accretion (re-distribution) is the presence of coastal vegetation. In coastal areas, vegetation serves to limit the amount of erosion that occurs as well as to recapture newly-deposited sediment. A range of lab tests were reviewed through a wide-ranging literature review, with results indicating vegetation may limit erosion between 10-30%. These physical tests were then able to be repeated in the numerical model XBeach
Integrated Water Management for Flood Mitigation (IWC)
Giang (IWC) undertook this project to investigate how new Integrated Water Management principals could contribute to the development of flood mitigation within remote communities. In addition to being low-cost options (in contrast to structural elements such as detention basins) these measures can also include high economic, social and environmental values. Giang's project will focus on solutions to supporting for three main components of flood-risk management; including prevention, protection and preparedness
Low cost drifters for model validation (Uni Sunshine Coast)
Lauchy Bye (Uni Sunshine Coast) researched the use of new technology to support flood and hydraulic modelling. His thesis focussed on the lack of data to properly understand and calibrate models, which led to his design of new tools for data collection. He developed two prototypes; a GPS enabled drifter that can be placed in a river during a flood event to record velocity and track position, and an accellerometer + camera + drifter that can be put into a stormwater system to trace the network and find new inflows/junctions (through wobbles recorded by the accellerometer).
Augmented Reality Sandbox design (Griffith Uni)
As part of their mechanical engineering degree with the Griffith University, we challenged Hakan and Luc to improve the current design specifications of an AR Sandbox, to make it more portable. They made improvements to the projector, the stand and frame, which can now fit into the back of a mini cooper, and is able to be taken to see a greater number of school students.
Quantifying coastal values (Griffith Uni)
Courtney Wharton (Griffith Uni) undertook this project to integrate Australian and International best practises into a new economic analysis methodology to value non-surfing beaches. This project was undertaken in conjunction with UK economists to allow a financial estimate to be made on the value
of a beach to the community and its local government area. It considers tangible values (e.g. assets and infrastructure), and intangible elements such as the income drawn by tourism, day trippers, and the ‘amenity’ to local residents.