Integral Hydraulic Engineering

Hydraulic structures are always part of larger systems, such as flood defence systems or navigation systems, that play an important role to providing safety and prosperity to vulnerable delta regions. Hydraulic structures therefore have to be designed, built and maintained in an integral way.

The group’s research and education is concerned with various types of hydraulic structures and systems, such as tunnels, quay walls, locks, dikes and storm surge barriers. To understand the behaviour of these structures it is important that hydraulic, geotechnical and structural aspects are addressed in coherence.

As part of the design of these structures approaches for incorporating sustainability in the design and the use of new materials are investigated. Together with Msc students group members have explored the sustainability of alternative designs for quay walls and dikes, including the level of CO2 emissions. The novel use of various materials in hydraulic engineering is investigated, for example the use of geotextiles for a “parachute” flood barrier and the design of PVC lock doors. Ecodesign has been defined as a new research direction. How can ecological aspects  be integrated in the design and how can “ecodikes” promote ecological development at a reasonable cost? Moreover, it is important that structures are adaptable and adjustable to deal with changing demands and loads.

In order to design safe systems that are optimized with respect to costs and (lifetime) performance the probabilistic approach can be applied. The principles of probabilistic design have been applied to several civil engineering systems and members of the group have contributed to several national and European design codes. It is also investigated how asset- and life cycle management of existing systems and the related maintenance and inspection strategies can be optimized.

Finally, the group is involved in research and consulting projects related to the civil engineering aspects of (low-head) hydropower and energy storage in the Netherlands. See also the research page for ongoing projects.

Quay in Doesburg integrated in urban development 

Hamburg (HafenCity) on quay outside dike area