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Sediment Erosion Actuated by Wave Oscillation and Linear Flow

Sandia National Laboratories

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PDF Document PublicationMarket Sheet (760 KB)

Technology Marketing SummarySEAWOLF (Sediment Erosion Actuated by Wave Oscillations and Linear Flow) is a method and apparatus for measuring erosion rates of sediments and high shear stresses in wave dominated environments.  Accurate prediction of erosion rates is complicated by a lack of understanding regarding cohesive sediment interactions.  A need exists for an apparatus that can accurately and directly measure the individual contributors to the total erosion rate of sediments from suspended and bedload erosion processes both in the lab and field.DescriptionSandia National Laboratories has designed, constructed, and tested a high shear stress flume that can superimpose a complex wave action with a unidirectional current upon a sediment surface.  It allows effected shear stresses to be determined from erosion tests within situ sediment samples, making SEAWOLF a useful tool for predictive modeling in coastal areas with wave dominated environments.Benefits
  • Unidirectional Flow: up to 1.1 m/s (36 GPM) in test section
  • Oscillating Flow: with period of 5 to 30 seconds and velocities of -1.9 m/s to 1.9 m/s (flowrates of -60 GPM to 60 GPM) driven by large pistons
  • Flow Capabilities: include purely oscillating flow as well as pulsating flow with and without reversal
Applications and Industries
  • Offshore Wind Energy
  • Wave Energy Conversion Anchors and Foundations
  • Coastal Sediment Analysis
  • Dredge Disposal Characterization
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 6,679,105
Oscillatory erosion and transport flume with superimposed unidirectional flow
A method and apparatus for measuring erosion rates of sediments and at high shear stresses due to complex wave action with, or without, a superimposed unidirectional current. Water is forced in a channel past an exposed sediment core sample, which erodes sediments when a critical shear stress has been exceeded. The height of the core sample is adjusted during testing so that the sediment surface remains level with the bottom of the channel as the sediments erode. Complex wave action is simulated by driving tandom piston/cylinder mechanisms with computer-controlled stepper motors. Unidirectional flow, forced by a head difference between two open tanks attached to each end of the channel, may be superimposed on to the complex wave action. Sediment traps may be used to collect bedload sediments. The total erosion rate equals the change in height of the sediment core sample divided by a fixed period of time.
Sandia National Laboratories 01/20/2004
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
Patent# 6,679,105, SD# 7031Development - Sandia estimates this technology at a TRL 8. The SEAWOLF technology has been proven to work in final form under expected conditions. Available - Various license and partnering options are available. Please contact the Intellectual Property department to discuss.07/08/201103/12/2013

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