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Professor Richard Hardy


Professor in the Department of Geography+44 (0) 191 33 41973
Professor in the Catchments and Rivers+44 (0) 191 33 41973
Professor in the Hazards and Surface Change+44 (0) 191 33 41973


My research focuses on open channel hydraulics and sediment transport. Methodologically, this work involves numerical modelling and laboratory experimentation, with a strong emphasis on high resolution process understanding. The numerical modelling work involves both the theoretical development and practical application of Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) codes. This has included both the development of an innovative technique to include complex topography within a numerical scheme and the application of time dependent turbulence schemes (Large Eddy Simulation) to open channel flows. Recently this approach has been further developed to include bio-mechanical models to predict the interaction between flow and vegetation in fluvial systems. Previous research has addressed; (i) flow in individual geomorphological units (e.g. confluences, meander bends) and; (ii) modelling hydraulic and sediment transport schemes for studying reach scale floodplain dynamics. The laboratory experimentation work is focused on furthering our understanding of the origin, propagation and growth of Coherent Flow Structures (CFS) in shallow flows that is thought ultimately to control the structure of turbulent flows. This involves the application of both Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV) and Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF).

Examples of Current Projects

1. Monitoring and modelling bedforms in unsteady flow fields. All fluvial systems exhibit temporal variations in flow discharge, which creates unsteady changes in the flow field. The sediment-water interface responds and organises to these changes over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, primarily through adjustment of a variety of bed roughness elements (i.e. ripples, dunes and larger bar forms). These roughness elements are the key component of overall flow resistance and the magnitude of their form drag significantly influences river stage levels for given discharges. The rationale behind this work is to generate a new quantitative process based understanding of bedform adjustment to unsteady flows through a combined methodology of laboratory investigation, fieldwork and, the development and application of a novel fully three dimensional numerical model which considers unsteady flow and morphological evolution. 2. Reducing uncertainty in flood prediction: the representation of vegetation in hydraulic models. The vast majority of uncertainty in flood model predictions stem from the influence of vegetation on conveyance. In order to move away from an empirical based approach to the parameterisation of vegetation resistance, a new understanding of the flow and turbulence production is necessary to be able to re-formulate a dynamic vegetation roughness treatment for flood models and thus reduce the uncertainty in flood predictions. The central aim of this proposal is enhance our flood modelling capability through the development of a quantitative numerical representation of dynamic vegetation response to river and floodplain flow. 3. The hydrodynamics of microbial landscapes. The aim of this work is to develop a quantitative numerical representation of micro-scale hydraulic response to biofilm forcing. This is being addressed by using pioneering experimental and numerical approaches to meet this challenge. The first task is to accurately measure flow both right at the bed and within the biofilms and pore spaces of the bed themselves. This significant problem will be overcome by using laboratory PIV (Particle Imaging Velocimetry) techniques in a range of small channels containing intact biofilm cultures. The second phase of the project is to develop and test a 3-D numerical model that can be used to further understand and explore the influence of biofilms on the flow processes at and within the bed.


Chapter in book

Conference Paper

Journal Article

Supervision students