Our Hydraulics Laboratory is in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying.

The lab helps students on courses including BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering, MEng Civil Engineering and BEng (Hons) Construction Engineering Management to develop an understanding of the design, construction and management of infrastructure used by millions of people around the world every day.

The laboratory has a 7-metre long tilting channel for investigating all aspects of open channel flow – from flow over weirs to hydraulic jumps. Students and researchers can use a wave generator and a number of smaller mobile hydraulics benches for conducting experiments into pipe friction, fitting losses, flow in a venturi and the impact of a water jet.

Flow nets can be modelled in soils by means of a drainage/seepage flow rate experimental set. Students can simulate wave action using a wave generating device and measure sediment transport in situ.

Image gallery

Technology Facilities; 31st May 2019
Technology Facilities; 31st May 2019
Technology Facilities; 31st May 2019
Technology Facilities; 31st May 2019
Technology Facilities; 31st May 2019
Technology Facilities; 31st May 2019


  • Large Armfield S6 tilting flume, with wavemaker (7m long, 300mm wide, Q=33 litre/s)
  • Small Armfield C4 tilting flume with small wave generating device (3m long, 75mm wide, Q=1.5 litre/s)
  • Standard Armfield pipe friction apparatus

The Hydraulics Laboratory

This lab has a 7-metre long tilting channel for investigating open channel flow, a wave generator and mobile hydraulics benches – all the equipment you need to research and test your understanding of infrastructure.

Find out more

Welcome to the hydraulics lab.

This is a powerful piece of apparatus that can show you what happens really when flow, like in a river, passes over a weir. You can get the sense of typical flow patterns.

If we've got a given flow rate, what happens when an obstacle is placed in the flow and also what happens downstream of it. So we get a different sort of flow regime on one side compared to the other and you'll see this as it fills up, that we get a flow rate of something like 20,

The flow builds up on one side, passes over the weir and then reaches the other side like this. So it's the same flow rate, but you can see it's kind of smooth, and then it degenerates into a much rougher profile on the other side.

We call this subcritical and supercritical flow. Subcritical flow is just typically what we might find in a water treatment works during distribution of water around different parts of the works. The other side, this supercritical flow, we have to be quite careful because it can cause damage to the environment. It can cause what we call scour or erosion.

Weirs are really very important in civil engineering because what we're trying to do is to obtain a relationship between flow rate and water level. Pretty obviously really, the higher the water level is, the faster the flow rate.

There are some very precise mathematical equations that can relate that flow rate to the water level here.

Where to find us

Hydraulics Laboratory

School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Portland Building
Portland Street