Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel physical model

Laboratory studies are being carried out using the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel physical model built in the Hydraulics Laboratory, at the School of Engineering, Cardiff University. The model is been tested for a range of tidal and river flow conditions, to provide data for refining numerical models. The key processes studied in the laboratory experiments to-date can be summarised as follows:

  • Water elevations at key locations along the estuary model. The assessed locations included the main proposed tidal stream turbine sites, i.e. off the coast at Barry, and two of the proposed Severn Barrage sites, i.e. the Cardiff to Weston and the Minehead to Aberthaw sites;

  • Hydrodynamic processes, including the mean velocity and turbulence profiles, obtained using an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV) along various transects;

  • Solute transport and mixing processes, through dye tracer studies conducted using the fluorescence method.

The experimental records also included photographic and video recording material, which will be used to illustrate and complement the measured data. 

Physical model of the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel installed in the tidal basin in the
hydraulics laboratory. With the geometric scale ratios of 1:25,000 and 1:125 in the horizontal
and vertical directions respectively, it is the largest working model of this Estuary ever built.


Physical model of the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel equiped with the instrumentation
bridges and sediment box filled with coarse sand and boreholes, in preparation for diffuse
source pollution experiments.


Close-up view of the site proposed for implementation of the Severn Barrage,
spanning between Cardiff, in South Wales, and Weston-super-mare, in England.
A barrage model can be slotted in-and-out for experiments, passing through the
islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm. An ADV performs 3-D velocity measurements.


Barrage model slotted into place. Note the difference in water levels upstream and downstream
of the barrage, caused by the impoundment of water during the ebb flow.

For further details, please contact: Prof. Roger Falconer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.