Optimising hydraulic infrastructure design with LIDAR technology

Under the supervision of Dr Stefan Felder and Dr Kristen Splinter, Rui Li has been undertaking her PhD at WRL since August 2018. Rui is researching the application of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology for the measurement of free-surface characteristics in hydraulic engineering applications; with particular focus on complex air-water flow phenomena such as hydraulic jumps in stilling basins and spillway flows.


3D free-surface mapping of a hydraulic jump in a stilling basin model with a LIDAR


Air-water flows downstream of Manly Dam during a spilling event in FebruaryWhile conventional instrumentation is limited to laboratory-scale applications with low temporal and spatial resolution, LIDAR is a remote sensing instrument that provides novel opportunities of continuous high-resolution measurements in both lab and field applications; enabling the collection of missing validation data of prototype flows and advanced engineering design in the l­aboratory.

Rui’s research has so far been focused on lab applications, including a comparative study between LIDAR and more conventional instrumentation, such as Acoustic Displacement Meters and wire gauge, as well as the 3D free-surface mapping of hydraulic jumps in a stilling basin; with LIDAR proving itself as an effective tool for the optimisation of hydraulic engineering design.

The next phase of Rui’s PhD research will be to apply the LIDAR in real world flows to resolve the question of scalability of laboratory results to real world applications. Manly Dam spilled in February this year, providing Rui with an opportunity to test the LIDAR in the natural channels downstream of the dam; confirming the suitability of LIDAR as a remote sensing tool for large scale applications. Future deployment of the LIDAR under more controlled flow conditions are currently in preparation.

Share this