Concentration and Grain Size Measurements through Acoustic Turbidity

Among the great challenges of operational flow monitoring, Suspended Particle Matter (SPM) measurements are of primary importance nowadays.

They answer to several fundamental environmental, industrial and societal issues related to the monitoring and prediction of extreme climatic events and their impact on fluvial, estuarine and coastal nearshore morphodynamics; the management of hydropower resources; the integrated coastline management strategy; the monitoring of wastewater networks; the optimisation of our natural water and sediment resources; the design of hydraulic structures; the halieutic resources management strategy.

The access to a reliable SPM measurement science thus possesses a solid interest in different branches, converging towards a better knowledge of the physical processes responsible for their impacts on the environment and the socio-economical context.

However, the SPM measurement science, which aims the estimation of their concentration, sizes and fluxes, remains at a very low Technological Readiness in spite of the significant progress made over the past two decades in operational monitoring of flow current, discharge and bathymetry in the academic sector. This situation arises from the inherent complexity of the SPM measurement principle through acoustic turbidity requiring a still inaccessible scientific knowledge and technical expertise for the industry. As a result, a profound technological rupture exists in this domain between the academic and industrial sectors.

This 3-years project, funded by the ANR, just started. It has the objective to overcome this rupture via the transfer of skills and know-how acquired by the laboratories LDO and LEGI toward the company UBERTONE, who brings its mastery in acoustic measurement technologies, in order to better meet the urgent needs of this market. The project has the following objectives:

  • Make a significant technological step in operational SPM measurement
  • Transfer the measurement innovation to the technologies developed by UBERTONE
  • Permit the technological evolution of existing operational hydroacoustic instruments (flow current measurement, velocimetry, flow rate measurement, bathymetry) toward operational SPM measurements
  • Valorise the developed technology among the industrial and public operators and within the research consortium Hydralab+ (H2020 european project)

To reach these objectives, two specific tools will be developed:

  • a hydroacoustic inversion tool HYDRAC available in UB-Analytics, the UBERTONE’s web based tool for post-processing and visualization;
  • a prototype UB-MES of the UBERTONE company dedicated to acoustic measurements in a large frequency range.

The originality of the aimed tools lies in their high technological readiness level to guaranty the emergence of a performant SPM technology of operational use and its commercialization by UBERTONE. Furthermore, the operational utility of the aimed technology should permit to cover a large spectrum of applications (industry and research).