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An Introduction to River Engineering and Sediment Properties

Learn the basic principles of river engineering and sediment properties with this free online course.

Publisher: NPTEL
This free online course features a range of topics aimed at grounding you in the principles of river engineering, emphasising the properties of sediments. The course will explain how sediment particles interact with water molecules and how they affect a river system’s velocity. You will examine examples of major river projects in detail as the theory is applied to existing river systems.
An Introduction to River Engineering and Sediment Properties
  • Duration

    1.5-3 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






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This course on River Engineering and Sediment Properties is designed to explain water and sediment transport’s complex processes through experimental studies. It also goes on to describe the impact of humans on the river morphology process. These processes are interlinked with the theory on hydrology, fluvial processes and the long-term morphological changes. Mathematical modelling will be used as a valuable tool in the modelling of natural rivers. You will delve into river dynamics and the techniques used in river surveying. Next, the course will explain sediment particles’ properties, covering the theory on particle size distribution, the concept of size and shape of the sediment particles, how sediment mixes with water molecules, and the angle of repose. Background information on the formation of rivers from hilly areas, where soil erosion is the dominant process, will be highlighted. The various types of erosion taking place in this region, including surface erosion, bed erosion or bank erosion will be outlined.

Next, you will discuss the sediment’s physical properties covering aspects of shape, size distributions, terminal fall velocity, and suspended sediment mixtures. The course will demonstrate the effects of different sediment concentration levels and the impact of flow structures in natural river systems. In-depth coverage of fluid-sediment mixture properties and how you can measure these properties will be covered. Following this, the course will explain the angle of repose, which is the steepest angle of descent of the slope with respect to the horizontal plane. A straightforward and exciting experiment to carry out in the lab is to take river bed soil and pour it onto a flat surface is demonstrated. The angle where it starts to slide is the angle of repose. Equations will also be noted in relation to fluid-sediment mixture, that is sediment concentration by volume, sediment concentration by mass, the specific weight of fluid-sediment mixture and the kinematic viscosity of fluid-sediment mixture.

Water is a natural resource found in diverse forms in the environment. It is essential to understand how water passes through the water cycle to appreciate managing it successfully. Freshwater is vulnerable and finite. Supplying sufficient fresh, clean water is one of the most critical natural resource issues facing humanity. Due to economic growth, an increasing world population and climate change, water shortages are becoming a global concern.  A lack of clean, fresh water can hamper efforts to reduce poverty, resulting in low productivity, food insecurity, poor health and limited economic development. In this course, you will learn about the hydrological cycle, where we find fresh water, types of water sources and how important it is to carry out river surveys using the proper techniques. All those who enjoy the environment and those studying engineering or environmental studies will find this course particularly valuable. Be part of the solution. Start this course today, and learn all these wonderful and exciting facts about this essential natural resource!

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