Rill Simulator studies.

An apparatus called the rill simulator was designed as a research tool for scientists to study erosion mechanics in the National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory. A wide range of experiments can be conducted by varying variables such as slope, channel width, top sediment feedrate, side sediment feedrate, infiltration, water inflow from the top, water inflow from the sides, endplate level, sediment types, and rainfall intensities.  Results can be obtained by either measuring sediment concentration at the outlet during the experimental runs or by using a laser scanner to quantify differences between initial and final conditions. 

The Equipment (rill simulator)

(a) (b) (c)

(d)   (e) (f)

(g) (h) (i)

a. Picture showing the flume and sediment feeders.
b. Lever to change slope of flume
c. Laser scanner on top of flume
d. Side view showing infiltration tubing.
e. Plastic to only allow  rainfall on erosion bed.
f. Sediment side feeder
g. Top view of setup with laser scanner
h. Water tank/pump and top sediment feeder
i. Side view of laser scanner on top of flume.

The erosion bed (rill channel bed)

(a) (b) (c) (d)

a.  The bed of the rill channel.
b. Plastic used to limit rainfall impact on rill.
c. Rill during run with rainfall and velocity measurements with dye
d. Before and after a depositional run.

Laser scan output examples.

(a) (b)

a. 3-d model of laser scan
b. Calculation of difference between initial and final scans.

Three types of sediment have been used so far:

(a) (b) (c) no picture

a. Glass beads
b. Sand (silica sand)
c. Glass/plastic beads (low density aggregates)

Experimental runs, procedures and data bases

The following files are in Adobe PDF format:

Listing of experimental runs conducted on with the 3 types of sediment.

  Sample procedures for conducting an experimental run.

Experimental run databases (the following files are in MS Access format and can only be accessed by using a password):

Preliminary results: 

- work in progress to compile and write manuscript.

Future experiments are still needed to study effects of infiltration, mixed sediments, etc...

Movie clips of setup and runs (AVI format)

a. Pre-run setup - flattening out the erosion bed
b. View of setup - quick view of all equipment
c. Laser scan of bed - laser probe moving (hard to view).

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