Total Environment Simulator

The Total Environment Simulator at The Deep in Hull
University of Hull
Stuart McLelland

Department of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences (GEES)
University of Hull HULL
United Kingdom

Current (1m3/s), waves (0.3m) and rainfall in fresh or saline water for sediment transport in rivers, estuaries or coasts. PIV & LDA. Supports plants and animal experimentation.

Description of facility:

Technical data

Total length (working section) 16 m (~ 11 m)
Width 1 - 6 m
Depth 0.1 - 1.5 m
Flow Control
Recirculating flow and sediment Flow rate = 1 m3/s
Multi-paddle wave generator Wave Height up to 0.3 m
Rainfall generator Sprinkler system


The Total Environment Simulator is a unique hydraulic infrastructure for environmental, hydraulic and morphological research due to its adaptability and integrated measurement systems. The facility particularly suited to ecological research and modelling aquatic system responses to climate adaptation because of the environmental control and flexibility to change boundary conditions. The TES is rare in its capability to provide an adaptable physical modelling space that can be configured for a wide range of environmental conditions. This enables efficient use of resources since many different types of experiment can be undertaken within this single facility. Modelling capabilities include:

  • Turbulent boundary layers up to 1m deep
  • Transport of homogeneous and heterogeneous sediment mixtures
  • Variable channel widths and planform configurations
  • Normal and oblique wave directions with regular or irregular wave forms
  • Spatially distributed rainfall from an array of 50 nozzles

In addition, the researchers at the facility have world-leading experience in physical modelling using natural and surrogate vegetation including the use of nutrient-rich saline water recycled from the adjacent aquarium tanks to enable modelling of estuarine and coastal ecology.
To maximise the output from experiments, the flexible physical modelling capability is coupled with a unique set of state-of-the-art instrumentation which enables high-resolution measurements of flow field characteristics, sediment transport dynamics and morphologies. This flexibility therefore makes the facility ideal for investigating problems relating to climate change adaptation and is particularly suited to providing new opportunities for experiments to investigate the interactions between ecology and sediment transport dynamics under changing or extreme hydraulic conditions.

Experiments from PISCES in Hydralab Dynamically scaled braided rivers investigating
interactions with vegetation and
large wood dams
Laser and Rotor


Measurement Equipment

Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV/PLIF): A unique system designed for 3D flow mapping of regions up to 0.4x0.3m in size. Measurements at up to 96Hz can be obtained using two submersible cameras and a pulsed laser. A 3D traverse system enables detailed mapping of flow volumes up to 1x1x1m.

Vectrino Doppler Velocimeters (ADV's): An array of 5 Vectrino probes can also be used to obtain velocity profiles. A range of probe designs enable measurements near surfaces and in confined areas. These can be supplemented by 6 ADvs.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP): Larger areas of flow can be quantified by a profiling ADCP, which measures the 3D flow field in vertical profiles at up to ~0.5 Hz.

Pressure Sensors: A pressure sensors array provides spatially distributed water surface elevation data.

Acoustic Rangefinders and Acoustic Backscatter Profiler (ABS): Twelve URS probes can be used to quantify the detailed morphology and spatial and temporal evolution of subaqueous surfaces. ABS allows for continuous measurement of vertical suspended sediment flux and bed elevation for continuous measurement of erosion and deposition using three acoustic backscatter probes.

Sediment Size Measurement: On- and off-line measurement of sediment size using laser-diffraction and/or an image analysis system which also measures particle shape.

Morphology Scanning: Digital elevation models of exposed surfaces can be obtained using a high-resolution laser scanning. This can be used to create time evolution maps of erosion and deposition.

Imaging: Digital cameras including a submersible unit for monitoring bed morphology and time-lapse imaging for monitoring long-term surface evolution.

Sediment Feeders: Automated sediment feeding for sand-sized sediments.

Sediment Trap: Measurement of bulk sediment transport rates at end of test section.

Project Reports using this facility Proceedings based on experiments using this facility
Investigation into the physical relationships between water-worked gravel be armours and turbulent in-channel flow patterns Investigation into the physical relationship between water-worked gravel bed armours and turbulent in-channel flow patterns
RIver ? VEgetation interactions and Reproduction of Island Nuclei formation and Evolution - RIVERINE The role of hydrologic disturbances on biomass erosion dynamics: first results from riverine experiments
Flow separation in sharp meander bends Flow separation in sharp meander bends
Experimental investigation of the impact of macroalgal mats on intertidal sediment stability and flow dynamics in differing hydrodynamic conditions associated with tidal Experimental investigation of the impact of macroalgae on intertidal sediment stability and flow dynamics
Role of genotypic and phenotypic (allelopathy) diversity of harmful algal blooms (HABs): case of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense Role of genotypic and phenotypic (allelopathy) diversity of harmful algal blooms (habs): case of the dinoflagellate alexandrium tamarense
The morphodynamic impacts of vegetation and large wood in fluvial systems THE MORPHODYNAMIC IMPACTS OF VEGETATION AND LARGE WOOD IN FLUVIAL SYSTEMS
The Reciprocal Role of Microbial Colonization and Bed Sediment Patchiness in Biostabilization: the Critical Interface in Ecohydraulics EXPLORING THE RECIPROCAL ROLE OF HYDRODYNAMIC FORCING AND MICROBIAL COLONIZATION TO INDUCE BED SEDIMENT PATCHINESS IN BIOSTABILIZATION
Wave-induced bedform dynamics in mixed cohesive?noncohesive sediments WAVE RIPPLES IN MIXTURES OF COHESIVE CLAY AND COHESIONLESS SAND: PRELIMINARY RESULTS