Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virtual streams created to help restore real ones

Date:
November 26, 2009
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
Researchers have developed a unique new computer model called the Virtual StreamLab, designed to help restore real streams to a healthier state. The Virtual StreamLab demonstrates the physics of natural water flows at an unprecedented level of detail and realism.

How the water velocity varies with time. The colors mark the magnitude of the velocity of water. Red marks fast moving fluid and blue marks regions where water moves slower.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Minnesota

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a unique new computer model called the Virtual StreamLab, designed to help restore real streams to a healthier state. The Virtual StreamLab, which demonstrates the physics of natural water flows at an unprecedented level of detail and realism, was unveiled for the first time this week at the 2009 American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in Minneapolis, one of the largest conferences in fluid dynamics with more than 1,500 attendees from around the world.

Related Articles


The University of Minnesota team of researchers led by civil engineering professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, director of the University's St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL), developed the Virtual StreamLab to help improve stream restoration processes. They have completed their first simulation of SAFL's Outdoor StreamLab, a scaled natural stream along the Mississippi River. More than 90 million data points have been mapped into the team's computer model resulting in the most accurate model of a real stream to date. The Virtual StreamLab employs sophisticated numerical algorithms that can handle the arbitrarily complex geometry of natural waterways, features advanced turbulence models, and utilizes the latest advances in massively parallel supercomputers.

The ability to simulate water flow over topography with this degree of realism provides researchers with the insights necessary to improve sustainable stream restoration strategies, helping to optimize techniques to fight erosion, help prevent flooding and restore aquatic habitats in degraded waterways.

Recent national data shows that 44 percent of the nation's 3.5 million miles of rivers and streams have become degraded due to sedimentation and excess nutrients. This decline has led to impaired water quality over entire watersheds, rendering many streams unhealthy for recreation and public contact. The effects also have serious consequences for the health of aquatic life. Efforts to restore these bodies of water have resulted in an annual cost of more than $1 billion in the United States alone.

Historically, efforts have involved installing structures in the stream to change the direction and speed of the water, but with little ability to fine-tune a stream's reactions. Past computer models often oversimplify the stream systems and can't accurately simulate the beds, complicated bank shapes, turbulence, and natural or man-made structures within them.

"The practice of stream restoration has had a rocky rate of success as practitioners have struggled to alter a natural system with countless unknowns," Sotiropoulos said. "The need for more effective and reliable stream restoration strategies is clear, but the underlying physical processes which govern the behavior of a stream and its inhabitants are very complex. Our new Virtual StreamLab should provide researchers with a deeper understanding of those complexities."

Virtual StreamLab


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "Virtual streams created to help restore real ones." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091124180617.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2009, November 26). Virtual streams created to help restore real ones. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091124180617.htm
University of Minnesota. "Virtual streams created to help restore real ones." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091124180617.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

Buzz60 (Oct. 23, 2014) — Need help organizing your bills, schedules and other things? Ko Im (@konakafe) has the best apps to help you stay on top of it all! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — For those looking for wearable tech that's significantly less nerdy than Google Glass, Nike CEO Mark Parker says don't worry, It's on the way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins