Hydraulics and Sedimentation Laboratory

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Services & Facilities

To fulfill our two-fold mission statement, HSL provides a number of experimental, monitoring, and modeling services to better serve the fundamental research and engineering service needs of our partners, as well as visiting scientists and engineers from local, national and international institutions and agencies. Our facilities can be used in other engineering programs on campus that have fluid mechanics as part of their curriculum, i.e., mechanic, biosystems, chemical, and nuclear engineering. We are ready to offer advice in the experimental design or monitoring strategy, as well as help conduct the experiments. Also as community service, our equipment can be used for hydraulic demonstrations to high school students interested in water and energy engineering.

Please follow the links below to see the specific services that we offer or contact us directly with your questions.

Main Lab

Floor Plan

Experimental Testing & Monitoring

PIV measurements of the flow field around a spherical obstacle

In-Stream Flow & Sediment Interactions
HSL is equipped for various laboratory investigations related to flow and sediment interaction, turbulence, and sedimentary processes. HSL has two large, water and sediment recirculating research flumes complemented with high precision measurement tools including ADV, LDV, and PIV systems, HD cameras with microscopic attachments, Radio Frequency Identification tracer particles, and geophones.  Additionally, HSL has two smaller flumes designed more specifically for quantifying sediment/ soil strength.  HSL can also conduct fluidization studies of soil and estuarine bed sediments. Along with these laboratory studies, HSL can conduct various field investigations to study in-stream sediment transport processes, including bridge scour and bank erosion.

Rainfall experiments provide detailed information on erosion and deposition processes along the downslope

Landscape Processes

To monitor the movement of water, sediment, and other constituents on the landscape, HSL is equipped with several field instruments that can be used for both plot- and watershed-scale experiments.  Potential areas of study include infiltration, runoff, and in-stream hydrology, as well as upland erosion, soil/ sediment strength, suspended sediment / bedload transport, bank erosion, and sediment source identification. In the lab, HSL can also conduct general soil and geotechnical evaluations.


Physical Modeling

HSL and its partners can conduct studies that require small-scale physical models of river reaches, river training structures (barbs & weirs), hillslopes, and Best Management Practice designs. Experts are available to consult of setup and design while technicians are on hand to help construct these structures.

Physical modeling of fish-bypass pools (Papanicolaou & Maxwell 2000, JIDE)


Numerical Modeling

Numerical modeling of ATIs

HSL offers numerical modeling services that can be coupled with the fundamental and practical studies in the field and lab. Physically-based and neural network computer simulation model simulations can be conducted using distributed watershed runoff/erosion and in-stream modeling to examine the upland-stream corridor connectivity and event based dynamics. The use of fractals and Bayesian statistics are added features. Additionally, modeling simulations can be conducted for specific hydraulic structures and Best Management Practices.

Standard Fees

John D. Tickle Lab

Floor Plan


8,000-gal water storage tank

The new Tickle Building Hydraulics Laboratory houses, amongst others, a pipe friction, fitting head loss, and flow measurement system. This system taps into a 4-inch diameter pipe stubbed off of an 8,000-gal water storage tank using a 2-inch diameter PVC pipe. Water is delivered from this PCV pipe to a valve-control manifold and series of parallel pipes (varying types and sizes) on the west wall of the lab. The system of pipes include several flow measurement devices commonly used by engineering professionals, such as turbine, electromagnetic, bubbler, and ultrasonic meters. Water is routed from the system of pipes to a 2,500-gal weight tank that can be used to calibrate electronic flow measurement devices. Water from the 2,500-gal weight tank is directed to the floor sump, and then pumped back into the 8,000-gal water storage tank.

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Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
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